Yesterday when I visited the Chesapeake Bay Writers Club Web site, I saw that Ruby Lee Norris was a Down Pen. What a sad feeling to realize she is gone. She was a founding member of the organization as I am as well. That's where I first met her. I will always remember Ruby Lee with a smile on her face. She was special.
Then I started to think that while the loss of a writer is dramatic, it is not total. Their accomplishments are still there. I can go back and read Ruby Lee's contributions to Pleasant Living Magazine and other pieces of her writing as well.
So many writers have had an impact on my life. There were high school English teachers who inspired me. They are Down Pens now as well. Probably as much as any one else, Lon Dill (A.T. Dill, author of York River Yesterdays) had a major impact on my writing life. As a young, very fledgling reporter, I was writing in-depth feature articles that were helped by the background materials and suggestions he would sometimes offer me. I enjoyed watching him with his two photographer/helpers dig up the materials for his book that meant much to the town of West Point at the time and which means even more today long after his pen went down. Sometimes I think I would like to call him on a phone and ask a question to which he would certainly know the answer. Writers sometimes leave a presence and a space no one else can fill.
I hate to see a Down Pen. But there are memories.