Eulogies & Tributes

Francoise Collet
Nancy Festinger
Nick Luttinger
David Mintz
Ivan Otero
Janis Palma
Richard Palmer
Marta Sarubbi
Tony Thomas


Ana Ilse Gómez
Pablo Neruda
Wislawa Symborska
Consuelo Tomás


17 enero 2008
What I'm Proud Of

Dear Friends:

As we grow older, and start to lose people, we begin to learn the value of people, something that as young people we might not have spent time to appreciate. Think of how many of us were how wonderful we were when we were young and filled with the hope and bravery, the romance and bloom of youth.

Mirta was a good friend to lots of people, including me. However, I am sure there are more of you who can talk about that better than me.

What I want to talk about was that Mirta was a very smart person. She was not only smart, but rare among people I knew at the time I knew here best from 1970 to 1976--she was a wise person. She was a smart, talented person, who was able to make nuanced political judgements about complicated political situations, and explain them to those of us perhaps as smart or smarter, but not yet as wise. She was then talented writing about those situations and bring them to life. Do a web search on her sometime, and see how many people who study, fight, or teach the struggle of Chicanos and Chicanas, of women's liberation, still remember, refer people to, her writings about that movement and women's liberation today 30 years after she wrote.

I came to know and understand this, before I ever became more than acquaintance.

I think I first saw this when she went to Crystal City Texas, during the reign of the independent Raza Unida Party in 1971 or 1972. The report she brought back was a very good one, a very honest one, a very wise one, one that was helpful in convincing comrades of the realities of the situation, one that helped nail down what others of us who had been there were trying to say about it, but had not been able to convince everyone of because of some people who had been trying to exaggerate the situation beyond reality, removing that struggle of both its strength and weakness.

I still think about that, as one of the clarifying things, something that I think about a lot whether it is teaching my students at the college I teach at, discussing what to do next in the Pathfinder Print Project, or trying to figure out what to do next in my life, being clear, being real, being wise, keeping it real as the young people say today.

I am sure many of you will speak about what a good and wise friend Mirta was, and what a fun person she was. I was only personal friends with her in the last 2 or 3 years I lived in NYC starting when we worked in NYC. I can remember as glorious one fine evening that we cooked broiled lamb chops and great white wine and talked all night about politics and our mutual dreams and another fun, well-marinated lunch at the Riviera which must have been in 1975. I am sure people who know her better, longer, and deep have more shining moments to remember and tell.

This predicament of people leaving us is a permanent part of our lives as we reach more than middle age. You never get used to it, not a day later, not a year later, not a decade later, not ever, a loss is a loss is a loss is a loss is a loss. All you can do is remember how much and how good people who cross our lives are--not just obviously wonderful golden people like Mirta Vidal who I have never heard anyone say a bad or even a jealous word about in 35 years-but even those of us who are more a mixed bag. Human beings are such good and wonderful things, and the chance to fight for the world revolution calls forth such wonderful things for us, that all we can do when we have lost people, is realize our duty to try to pass on some of the goodness that those who have left first have shown us, to try to be a little bit more like them, to give a little bit more to the struggle, to our friends, to our lovers, to our comrades, to our world like them, so when we leave the loss may be great but our giving will be more.

Goodby Mirta, thanks for what you taught me.

Tony Thomas, North Miami Florida.

Tony Thomas