ELLEN MANDELL GREEN
As the poet, Mary Oliver, once said, “Strangers lived only in their writings.” This gifted writer also said, “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”
And finally, when speaking of the writer Emerson, Mary says, “He lives nowhere but on the page, . . .”
My cousin Ellen Mandell Green, who died suddenly of a heart attack this month, lives forever in my memories of her—in the letters we wrote to each other, and especially in her poems she so proudly published in her book Many Mirrors, Many Skies.
Ellen and I grew up together in the village of Moosup, Connecticut. We were first cousins and became close friends. She and her sisters, Betsey and Sally lived just ¼ of a mile from my twin sister, Mercy and me. We played in our fields, walked together to Moosup Grammar School, sledded on High Street and had great fun in those formative early years.
Later, as teenagers, Ellen and I reconnected when I worked in a textile mill in Plymouth, where she lived. We went to movies, ate ice cream at the local creamery and talked about our lives and whatever was on our minds. She was bright, she was pretty, and she was fun to be with.
In the last five years Ellen and I e-mailed each other often. She read my books with enjoyment and I helped her publish her book of poems. Although we hadn’t seen or heard from each other for years, we reconnected and shared many cherished memories together. In one of our e-mails she said:
You yourself were a very sweet child and I enjoyed our playtimes together, and then you became a wonderful teen, as I said I had a lot of respect for you, you managed to keep your Barnstable group of friends meeting together and having good times; and I loved the crewing I did for you in some races; and playing ping pong, you were the better player and I learned a lot from you, though I never could "smash" without feeling I was doing something wrong so often flubbed the shot, and have it cost me the game. But I didn't mind, I still had fun, and can picture us now on the porch, volleying lots of times. Love, Ellen
HOW IT IS WITH US
By Ellen Green
There is knowing and becoming,
There is growing and loving,
There is wildness and taming,
There is the beloved to be free with,
There is joyfulness and happiness,
There is emptiness into Fullness,
There is aloneness into other-ness,
There is the wonderful world it happens in,
There is gladness and no end to it,
There is shyness and boldness.
Who has not experienced this?
Most, if not all, of us have,
Let’s thank our Higher Power And be generous in expressing it!
Rest in peace, my dear cousin Ellen. I will miss you.