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Well, that was the best way to attract readers who might be interested in sword, women in martial arts, etc. And all three practiced Aikido.
Add one more, whom I admire greatly, even though I spoke with her only a few words to thank her after seminars at Ray Farinato's dojo here in Stamford. She is Lorraine DiAnne and is well known here on the East Coast. I hope she is my friend! The smile seemed to say so! Often among friends words can be few, but with the other three, there have been many words indeed. I think I will write more about Lorraine in a later blog entry, but for now, I will go back in time for those who enjoy "my memories, as they refer to them...."
The first is Cassandra, one of my senpais at New York Aikikai, starting in the late sixties. She had been an artist, maybe a sculptor before we met her, I and my other friends.... and after she stopped training many years later (pains in feet and hands, maybe arthritis, I hope she's okay now) she took up Japanese paper flower making. What a dedicated art form, the paper is a bit like crepe paper, but stronger, and miniature trees are also made by wrapping , well it is beautiful and I would say indescribable.
Of the many arts she studied, including Japanese classical dance, she practiced kendo, and also iaido at the American Buddhist Academy which also had judo, probably karate and maybe even naginata for a while, on Riverside Drive on the upper west side of Manhattan. In whatever we were discussing, she said it was important to have spirit. She meant Strong spirit and she certainly had it.
I wonder where she is now, she was here in Connecticut for almost a decade, and my students and I were fortunate she was in the local area, they all liked and respected her. Her New York job had transferred her. After her elegant afghan dog passed away at an advanced stage she decided to move on but not sure to what area. Last I heard from her was a postcard from Las Vegas that said only "I'm enjoy!" a quote from a Japanese friend of ours whose English shouldn't be corrected, rather copied with a smile. We couldn't help it.
And so the mystery of Cassandra, though she may have dropped in to your dojo, we regret not having heard from her. She told my mom when she visited pre departure that she didn't keep in touch with people after she left their area. I suspect she didn't want to go thru the complication of asking people to forward communications. Even at a Chinese restaurant, which dojo people loved to patronize whether in New York or Connecticut, she would order her own dish rather than mixing and sharing. She always paid her own way, even to paying probably more than her share of the gas to astronomy class from her town to here when I picked her up in Dad's car.
A long tale, so I will wait till next time for the story of Valerie, and of Kitsy, two very different swordswomen but who also had very strong spirit. I'm not sure where Valerie is now, but I speak with Kitsy quite often on the phone!
Just some reminiscenses for those who might click on this post due to the topics!