The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

A Tribute: What would Vivian Do?

Vivian Hylands October 1, 1935 to April 16, 2017

It will be difficult to write this tribute to Vivian without lapsing into hyperbole. Viv was one of those larger-than-life characters in spite of the fact she might have weighed 98 pounds, decked out in her outdoor winter clothing.

I’ve known her for such a short time. Less than a year. But once we met, she took Reiner and me under her wing and introduced us to Cobalt as only Vivian could.

Vivian Hylands will always remain an inspiration to me. She was fiercely dedicated to Cobalt. She was a “connector.” In the short time that I knew her, she introduced me to countless people and events and stories in and around this great ol’ town.

A week ago Sunday, it was a lovely mild day. Vivian made a batch of brownies and unbeknownst to me, intended to walk over to our place for an impromptu tea. She got side-tracked at Sue’s place and ended up watching the Masters.

This past weekend, with it being so dull and windy and grey, I thought to myself, I hope she doesn’t plan to walk over in this nasty weather.

Then I got word.

What a terrible loss – my condolences to everyone who knew her – and especially to the Town of Cobalt. She’s gone too soon.

Rest in peace, Vivian. You will not be forgotten.

What would Vivian Do?

  • Take ownership – if a job needs doing, do it.
  • If you can’t do it, talk to those who can.
  • Walk everyday.
  • Bake a batch of brownies and make enough to share
  • Appearances matter. Good grooming is vital. So is the state of your community parks and sidewalks.
  • Cultivate a garden – and your taste in music, poetry, and art.
  • Educate yourself. Keep up to date on current events and politics.
  • Share your knowledge.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat a proper diet.
  • Enjoy a shot of rye and water, too.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people.
  • Seek enlightenment, and encourage it in others.
  • Be proud of your community’s heritage.
  • Punctuation matters.
  • As does proper pronunciation.
  • Invite people to your home for tea and sherry.
  • Do not suffer fools; do not mince words.
  • Give
  • And give some more. Keep on giving until the day comes when you are no longer there and those who remain will realize that the universe is slightly askew today: Vivian didn’t call.

 

 

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59 replies

  1. Some people touch our souls and make us better for the upgrade. My deepest sympathies . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Pam – She was indefatigable. I remember walking to the library on a clear but chilly fall day, and as I approached, I noticed something or someone in the gardens. There she was, on her hands and knees with her “old woman” scythe, showing the overgrowth who was boss. Viv was not afraid of work. Not by a long shot.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My condolences to you and the town. Some people are just destined to greatness and leadership. They touch others in ways we can’t imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a lovely tribute. She sounds like a remarkable woman. Your words are a reminder to all of us to appreciate those in our life while we can.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am sorry you lost a new friend, but it sounds like she has left a lasting memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Dan – I must admit I feel a tiny bit adrift. I can only image the loss felt by those in her family and those who met with her every day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maggie, I love your list! You have distilled so much of Vivian’s essence. I can hear her voice reading the list. She told me on our phone visits how happy she was that you and Rainer had moved to Cobalt. My brother John will be at the poetry event Fri night, I look forward to meeting you this summer.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Enjoy a shot of rye and water, too. I like this woman. Obviously she had her priorities in order. My condolences on her passing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What lovely words Maggie. I am sure Vivian is smiling down at you. A lovely tribute…

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  7. Bake a batch of brownies and make enough to share

    This should be the #1 rule of life. It holds within it all the sweetness and generosity that the human spirit is capable of.

    So sorry to hear about the loss of a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Greg – Viv never went anywhere without a canister of some sort of homemade goodies.

      Except one afternoon, she came for tea and brought the fixings for spelt crackers. We, as sous-chefs responding to her requests for rolling pins and baking sheets, as she demonstrated the proper way to make a wheat-free treat.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There are some people we meet who make such an impact on us. It matters not how long we have known them for they make us feel like we have known them forever. I am so sorry for your loss Maggie.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul, Maggie.

    She’s not gone, however – I’m certain she’s still around…just in another form…continuing to take care of HER little spot of our community globe.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That choked me up. I already miss her. I know that the Cobalt Library will not be the same without her.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish Vivian could read this. Beautiful, Maggie. I am so sorry.

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  12. Oh wow. The impact Vivian’s absence must have on so many lives. She sounds phenomenal, and really, like she was wise beyond numbers. I’m sorry for your loss.

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  13. Ah, Maggie, I’m so very sorry. What a lovely tribute to your friend because it makes the rest of us try harder.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. These are the special people who touch our lives even within a short period of time. I’m sorry for you and the entire community. Her loss will be felt for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Vivian sounds so wonderful. What a joy she must have been and how everyone will miss her. My sympathy to you and your community in the loss of such a bright light. The world needs more light in it. Let’s all try harder in honor of Vivian and those like her.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh my. I, of course, didn’t know Vivian, but her loss (through your words) has touched me too. She sounds like a pistol and a pillar, as well as a bright light in your community. It’s hard to lose someone like that, but I’m sure her legacy will live on in everyone’s heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A spitfire, a pistol, a firecracker, a pillar. A drive-wheel, not a cog.

      This week is the Spring Pulse Poetry Festival – several days long travelling from venue to venue here in the Tri-Towns. I just learned that she was a poet, too!

      Such an accomplished woman.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. So sad for your loss. Some people fill the world with so much soul. Sounds like Vivian was one of those.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for letting us come to know your friend, too, in this small way. My own heart feels fuller, taking in your sadness and your love. Sympathies to you and all of Viv’s community in your loss…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Maggie: Yes she was a remarkable woman who exuded greatness in a humble way. Greatness being her strong capacity to give to each what they needed and surprise them with more. thanks dave
    p.s.come to the Remembrance event at the library this Friday at 6:30 to celebrate her life.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Awwwww Maggie. I’m so sorry you lost a friend. She sounds wonderful. This is a wonderful tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Dawn. We were just getting to the stage where we were feeling comfortable dropping by, calling to check in, that sort of thing.
      We double-checked our house journal – our friendship with Viv started just 6 months ago. sigh

      Like

  21. I went and read her obituary. She was a librarian! I know I would have loved her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She was, and darn proud of it, too!

      Viv helped out at the Cobalt Library and at her friend’s bookstore. You could always tell when she had been working there because the books were aligned on the shelves in military precision.

      Like

      • Maggie, Viv spent the last year or so sorting the boxes of reference books (over 40 of them) and arranging them in proper order in the Resource Room at The Bunker Military Museum. And there are some remaining boxes not sorted and none of us want to touch them. After all, it is/was Vivian’s project. A large void remains.
        And I miss her ‘breezing’ into The Bunker, standing at the Orderly Room desk before the door alarm even sounded and saying something like “Marg, I think the best thing for The Bunker to do is …… “. And she’d wiggle the end of a finger or two, turn around and was gone. A couple of years ago, a summer student was seated at the computer and Vivian came ‘flying in’, stated her piece and immediately left. The student looked up at me and said, with huge eyes, “What just happened?” Vivian got quite a chuckle about that event when I saw her a day or two later & told her of the poor gals reaction to her previous visit.
        We are all the richer for having known her!!!

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        • Oh, Marg, your story paints the perfect portrait of Viv. She was exactly like that during phone conversations – she’d call, announce herself, “Maggie, this is Vivian Hylands. I want to tell you about my thoughts on … and then, with hardly a beat, “Well, good bye.” I rarely spoke a word in those conversations. Now that I understand that it was her habit, I don’t feel so confused!

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  22. I’m so sorry for your loss! Vivian sounds like one of those rare people who manage to make a positive impact on everyone they meet. This is a wonderful tribute, and I hope we can all learn a good lesson from the example she set.

    Like

  23. Perhaps the greatest tribute someone can have is that others were touched by you in a positive way, and it sounds like your friend, Vivian, was that kind of person.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. My condolences. You have captured her spirit admirably in this post, I am sure.

    Liked by 1 person

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