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Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Uncle, Guy Carawan

My Uncle Guy has passed away, passed on, died. I haven't seen him in years, but he was one of my heros growing up and has remained so my whole life. An important man who was never too busy to play his guitar for us kidlings, or pick away on his banjo and singing fun songs where we could join in and feel like we were a part of his special magic.  I may not have seen him in a while, but we have his books, albums, and an abiding respect for all that he did with his life for others. I can't hear 'civil rights' without thinking of him first, and wanting to brag about who he was and what he did in his life.  Guy Carawan

But life took me in a different direction, and my dreams of playing guitar and following in his footsteps never came even close to fruition. But my admiration and love for him never left my heart. I remember trips to Topanga Canyon and how beautiful it was there, and the skylight in the ceiling over their bed and thinking this is how I want to live when I grow up. Dreams, he filled my head with dreams, and growing up in LA where I was in the minority white class it probably made a difference to how I viewed my environment. I saw colours, and all the wonderful diversity that came with it. I was happy to grow up in a melting pot of humanity, and my school life was rich with exposure to other cultures and skin tones and languages. I know now that the attitude he embedded in me made a difference in my life, in how I saw people and respected how we each had something to contribute, that everyone had a story.

Death is no stranger to those who have lived for decades, it is a natural part of life, and the gateway to whatever lies next. But today was a sad day, relieved by bits of memory that made me smile and even feel young and good for a moment as I relived visits and thought about our families. He was well loved, accomplished much, and lived his life teaching though the medium of music; how blessed he was, and all that knew him.

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