Randolph Severson

by adminuser on August 1, 2010

Annette Baran was, quite simply, the most extraordinary person I have ever met.  That she was of an older generation and already a legend when I first encountered her, might color this a bit, but I have known other legends and they don’t compare with Annette.  I’ve sat next to her on airplanes, over wine, on panels, and in her kitchen, and I unfailingly took deep pleasure in her company, delighted in her humor, marveled at her wide ranging intelligence and came away refreshed.  She was spirited, suave, saucy, subtle, sly, scintillating, full of mischief and eccentricity, tenderness and wisdom.  In my imagination, which is always a bit fantastical, she was a firecracker at midnight; a sparkler an hour after dusk; a wind chime in the early morning when the breeze is fresh, the coffee brewing, and one can hear and smell the ocean. A firecracker at midnight: she was a force for good, an activist for human and adoption rights. A sparkler: she always brought enlightenment and an almost childlike curiosity and excitement to almost everything she did; a wind chime – she possessed a kind of secret solitary music, an inner wisdom born, I suspect, of  a suffering and loneliness about which she seldom spoke.  Diminutive in size, massive in intellect and impact, if she resembled anyone in our history – and I am not even sure about that, such a one of a kind person she was – it was probably Thomas Jefferson, a female version of Thomas Jefferson, an urbane, approachable, cultured, learned, cosmopolitan soul who authored shining sentences expressing universal truths about the human condition. She was kind to me, good to me, a mentor, an example, a beacon and a friend.   Her last e-mail to me celebrated life, luck, giggled at my eccentricity and promised to read something I had written as soon as she had time.  That was early May. July – and she’s gone.  I already miss her terribly.  Something unique and good and wonderful has gone out of the world.  May this dear and extraordinary Lady rest in peace.  Adios, Annette.  Go with God.

Randolph Severson

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