A fuzzy picture, circa December 1996, location Guatemala/El Salvador, Linda in the middle of us all, with that optimistic, peace loving smile on her face…I sure do miss that face…
Good morning Caroline,
I know you’re on facebook, so you may have learned this before me. My sister just wrote to tell me that Linda died this morning. There’s so much I want to say here, but simply don’t know where to begin. If you’re in touch with Patrice will you tell her I’m thinking of her? The funeral is in Hiram on Saturday, if anyone wants to come into town, everyone is welcome to stay with me.
I wish you’d been here with me. There service was moving in all of the ways you might expect. Rick gave a rousing eulogy. I asked for a copy and he was kind enough to share it with me, so I thought I would share it with you.
How are you?
Eulogy for Linda Rea by Rick Hyde, on occasion of her funeral:
We have to stop meeting like this.
I would like to thank Allison for the opportunity to make some comments here today – there may be people who knew Linda longer or better, but I treasure the chance to remember her with all of you. Thank You.
Linda Rea was a pain in the butt.
No. Really. She was.
When I got to Hiram some 25 years ago, faculty meetings were almost always a real hoot.
First make sure that all of the quietest ones are there,
John Andrews, David Anderson, Obie Slotterbeck,
Steve Zabor, Prudy Hall, David Fratus, Denny Taylor,
Bill Laughner, Cathy Feather, John Koritansky, Marty Huener,
Matt Hils, Ralph Cebulla, Damaris Peters Pike, Mario Renzi
Hale Chatfield, Craig Moser, Robert Sawyer, Dixon Slingerland,
And, the crème de la crème, Mary Ann Brockett
Then roll out a ticking time bomb like
“rethinking tenure” or maybe a
“brand new model for assessment”
and the result would be something like the battle scenes at the end of the Marx Brother’s Duck Soup.
Linda and I would often review those meetings later in the evenings. I would come down to my Office in Bates around 10:30 after a rehearsal, and find her still in her office prepping a class (as if she hadn’t already) or bleeding red onto a student’s paper.
We’d review all of the dumb things that other people had said at the meeting, me standing by her office door and her at her desk, swiveled around in her chair grinning at all the dumb things I was shoveling onto the pile.
She would always ask about my shows, which she seldom missed, often by arranging in advance to come to a dress rehearsal because of her schedule.
But even when she was the only one there, I felt like we had a full house, and the next day she would tell me what was right and wrong with my show.
When one of us got to leave the office before the other, we would announce that we were “winning” on that particular evening, and sometimes got to accuse the other of sleeping over, since the next morning we were often the first two in.
I was there because of my peculiar propensity for disorganization.
She was there because she was Linda.
But the thing about that cantankerous bunch, and many others (Carol/Gwen/Ugur/ Rae/etc.) I have left off the list, is that all of them, Anderson to Zabor, when they aired their cockamamie notions
had the institution and its students clearly in mind,
none more clearly than Linda Rea.
Linda was a real teacher.
She was a pain in your butt,
but she was also who you wanted to be when you grew up.
She was certainly who I wanted to be when I grew up – she still is.
She cared that her students learned,
but more importantly she cared that her students cared.
The ones that accompanied her on trips, came back with fundamentally altered views of the world, and it was Linda Rea that changed those lives, sometimes kicking and screaming.
Linda understood need in the world, the importance of responding to it, and the importance of humility.
Not that she wasn’t proud of her accomplishments and expected to be respected.
I always used Linda in my rant about the term “actress,” and why we should try not to use it. I would recommend to students who claimed that it “didn’t make any difference” that they should try calling Linda “Professoress Rea” and see how that worked out for them.
When I think of Linda I think of a person who recognized the importance of caring in the world, but also of a person who loved her work, passionately and a person who suited her job perfectly.
So of course as a “borrower of words,” I was reminded of a poem, and it won’t surprise some of you to find out it is by Robert Frost.
Linda saw my Frost presentations over the years so I am sure she heard this piece, but I do not ever recollect her commenting specifically on it, STILL I hope she saw herself in it.
I won’t read the whole piece, just four stanzas.
It is about a man who is interrupted by “Two Tramps in Mud Time” as Frost calls them in his title, while blissfully chopping his own wood.
He recognizes them as lumberjacks in need of work.
It is a beautiful spring day,
The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off the frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.
The time when most I loved my task
These two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You’d think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip on earth of outspread feet.
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.
Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their say
And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man’s work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right – agreed.
But yield who will to their separation,
My object is to unite my avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only when love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.
Well, Linda you “win” this round by getting out of here earlier than me tonight, but the world is a quieter and lesser place for that.
I will finish with a small piece of Shakespearean Rhetoric:
The breaking of so great a thing should make a greater crack.
I posted this, then took a walk, then this happened…long enough for me to snap a pic, then gone…