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Chandra's Blog

 

Entries in Cheryl (3)

Monday
Aug012011

Monday Musing--Remembering Cherry

It is hard to believe that it has been three years this morning since Cheryl lost her battle with cancer. In so many ways, I still feel her with our family and I try to keep her spirit alive so that my children can know her, even those who were barely here when she went. I was blessed to have a mother-in-law who was so inspiring as an artist and supportive of my family, of our way of doing things and of who we all are as individuals. The dedication of my first novel is For Cherry -- who believed, because she was a huge part of encouraging me to pursue my dream of writing. It is one of the great sadnesses of my life that she was not here in this world to see its publication.

Buffalo, NY Nov 2005

I have always been haunted by the photo (right) of Cheryl and Max at the piano in her living room at HodgePodge Lodge. It was a typical moment--Cherry rising early with the boys, brewing her chicory coffee and giving them her undivided attention, teaching them something. In this case, little Max how to play the piano. I know it is a trick of the camera, of catching her fingers in motion, this wave, and her expression is so Cheryl. But I remember looking at it as soon as it was taken and thinking, someday she will be gone, (because we all lived with her cancer as a constant since her untimely diagnosis in 1994.) I remember thinking, this picture will be precious, because Max might not remember her, but she will always be here, present, waving, here I am, I am with you, teaching you, guiding you, sitting right beside you.

 

 

 

Cheryl Gobbetti HoffmanTo read more about her inspiration to me as a mother and a writer, you can read this essay, Dawn Chorus.

 

To read about the Buffalo music community mourning the passing of a woman who was a flute phenom and gifted, dedicated professor, read Cheryl's obituary in the Buffalo News.

 

To read an interview with Cheryl about her pursuit of the dream of her golden flute mentioned in the poem below, click here.

 

Below I have uploaded some photos of Cherry and the family over the years. I am taken as always by her ability to give singular attention to her grandchildren, by her sense of style, her talent with words and music and the way the photos manage to capture her elegant and generous spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

At Philadelphia's Victor Cafe on the eve of our wedding, May 2000

 

Grand Cayman with baby Hayden, January 2002

 

 

 

 

 

Doting on Hayden in Hodgepodge Lodge, Nov 2002

 

 

Welcoming Macrae, Aug 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cherry and her boys, Miami 2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

with Max at the piano, Buffalo Nov 2005

 

 

Holding her namesake, Piper June 2007

 

 

 

mother and son, Nov 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Pashas Ride for Grandma Cherry" Piper and Max in the Brain Cancer 5K Philadelphia Nov 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a poem my mother-in-law wrote in 1999.  I turned my house and our lives upside down looking for it as she was dying of brain cancer in the summer of 2008--no luck. A year later, one of her dear friends found a copy, had it beautifully framed and mailed it to us. It was a poem for a contest for Sunsweet Prunes, and the prize was $15,000, which would have paid for the achievement of her dream to play a golden flute in solo concert at Carnegie Hall. She did not win the contest, but she achieved her goal anyway. 

Today, the third anniversary of her trip to the other side, I am continuing my tradition of posting it on August 1 as it captures the whimsy, ambition, monstrous talent and joie de vivre that embodied Cheryl:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste How Good Life Can Be
Before me on the tree of Life there Suns a Plum   (quite Sweet)
  a New York debut (flute of gold) with Zest I Prune --  replete.
  How Good 'twould Taste--the Essence bold--Choose me! I've Dreamed this feat.
Grand moment Prized: (I'd croon -- Complete.) it's Savoury... Tangy... Fleet...

 

Embracing Aspirations ripe and Pitted -  scarred by blight,

I reach for this Experience.  Dare wish... could Be.... (how Right?)

my pipedream old (play Carnegie) the girl I was  Excites

Achieve this goal?  O!  heart's delight -- such fancy you invite.

 

Now 45, (surviving) how I thrive thanks to the 'fife'

I play and teach - give air to thought - I'm also mom and wife.

No matter that my Circle's closed (with cancer comes great strife)

Select me.  Stage my solo turn.  no Contest - I sing rife.

 

Imagining... begging time and place  (my Spirit writhes)  come round,

please join me - help me celebrate - skip not the beat I've found

the secret: working hand in hand  - we resonate - abound.

I ask support,  (pray Musically)

 

  Fund Magic....

I'll spin Sound.

 

Cheryl Feyrer Gobbetti Hoffman (Oct 6, 1954-Aug 1, 2008)

Thursday
Nov182010

Meg Waite Clayton's First Books

It is such an honor for me to have a little screen time on sites like Meg Waite Clayton's First Books, a site dedicated to the stories behind the story, how first writers find the courage and incentive to write. 

In the guest blog, I had the honor of shining a light on our beloved "Cherry", Cheryl Gobbetti Hoffman who inspired me as both an artist and mother. 

 

We lost Cheryl to cancer in Aug 2008--she never saw the book she cheerleaded find its way into Harper's capable hands and bookstores everywhere two years later, but her spirit lives on. 

 

You can read the guest entry here

 

Sunday
Aug012010

"Taste How Good Life Can Be"

This is a poem my mother-in-law wrote in 1999.  I turned my house and our lives upside down looking for it as she was dying of brain cancer--no luck. A year later, one of her dear friends found a copy, had it beautifully framed and mailed it to us. It was a poem for a contest for Sunsweet Prunes, and the prize was $15,000, which would have paid for the achievement of her dream to play a golden flute in solo concert at Carnegie Hall. She did not win the contest, but she achieved her goal anyway. 

Today, the second anniversary of her trip to the other side, I am posting it here as it captures the whimsy, ambition, monstrous talent and joie de vivre that embodied Cheryl:

Taste How Good Life Can Be
Before me on the tree of Life there Suns a Plum  (quite Sweet)
  a New York debut (flute of gold) with Zest I Prune -- replete.
  How Good 'twould Taste--the Essence bold--Choose me! I've Dreamed this feat.
Grand moment Prized: (I'd croon -- Complete.) it's Savoury... Tangy... Fleet...

 

Embracing Aspirations ripe and Pitted -  scarred by blight,

I reach for this Experience.  Dare wish... could Be.... (how Right?)

my pipedream old (play Carnegie) the girl I was  Excites

Achieve this goal?  O!  heart's delight -- such fancy you invite.

 

Now 45, (surviving) how I thrive thanks to the 'fife'

I play and teach - give air to thought - I'm also mom and wife.

No matter that my Circle's closed (with cancer comes great strife)

Select me.  Stage my solo turn.  no Contest - I sing rife.

 

Imagining... begging time and place  (my Spirit writhes)  come round,

please join me - help me celebrate - skip not the beat I've found

the secret: working hand in hand  - we resonate - abound.

I ask support,  (pray Musically)

 

  Fund Magic....

I'll spin Sound.

 

Cheryl Feyrer Gobbetti-Hoffman (Oct 6, 1954-Aug 1, 2008)