Something happened to me yesterday that really upset me. Very much. I thought about writing a post about it at that time, but then -well, my day-to-day life interrupted, time wore on and finally, here it is now, close to 24 hours later and I'm just not getting around to writing about what happened.
I get the local paper -for our county -delivered to our home, every day it is published and Mandy and I both read it. I confess that I don't read it word for word -most days I tend to just sort of scan through it and the bulk of my attention gets focused on "Dear Abby" and the obituaries. Well, unless there is something else on the front page that grabs my attention -like our local school board meetings, or an accident or some such. It's a smallish paper and frequently I can skim through it in five minutes tops.
Every day too though I read the paper from the adjacent county online. It's a morning paper -the Centre Daily Times -out of State College, PA. The online version carries what the staff deems as being the most important and most interesting pieces and because it concentrates quite heavily on life in State College -which is vastly different from life on this side of the mountain that lies between my home and the university, somedays it too is a very quick read.
But for the most part I like it -the CDT, that is. I like their opinion page even though at times I make fun of some of the opinions that are put forth by some of the "educated" folks in this university town. Sometimes, they hit me as being maybe a bit too "green" in the Al Gore-type thing or perhaps a bit too anal about somethings too.
But one thing I always read in the CDT as I do when I read "The Progress" (the daily from this side of the mountain) are the obituaries. Having worked in State College and surrounding communities a lot during my worklife, frequently I see obits for people I knew from my prior employment and such.
And then, sometimes there is an obituary for someone I never knew personally, but because of other circumstances, I kind of felt almost like I did know the person. And such was the case on Wednesday when I saw an obituary there for a lady who had worked for several years at the CDT, most recently was employed at the University but who kept her toes in the newspaper waters as she did a column for the CDT once a month.
Her name was Julie Brink and she was only 50 years old at the time of her passing. I had always gravitated to her columns as she wrote about things in her life which quite often were very familiar to me since she, like me, had grown up "over here" up in the mountains, the mining country of central Pennsylvania. Her pieces about her childhood, her parents, extended family and such always made me nostalgic for the way things were in my hometown here as a child, teen, young adult and now, as a senior citizen.
A blogger friend of mine and former co-worker posted on his blog yesterday about Julie's passing and how he too had always enjoyed her writings. He even copied the obituary from the CDT into his post as well. You can go here and read what his thoughts were, as well as the tribute given to her by the newspaper staff and the many comments about her, her life, her work too, that accompany the obituary. It made me feel better to see that friend John, like me, had appreciated her work enough to pay his own tribute to her passing as well.
But what really got me upset yesterday came from one of the comments left by readers in the comment section after the paper's write-up. Imagine this -at least four pages of comments paying tribute to someone who had been a co-worker, a good friend, perhaps some were even from relatives of hers and all had been positively glowing about the type of person she had been in life. Many were from people like myself who never had met her but just enjoyed her work and felt as if we had known her. Expressions of how much we will all miss her thoughts on so many different things. All good, save this one comment.
One person had written in the comments section: "She wasn't much to look at." Nothing else, just that one sentence. And it really had a terrible impact on me then and still bothers me so much to think that someone can put words like that in with all these other kind and loving words about someone who did such a fantastic job as a wordsmith.
Why on earth did that person feel the need to insert a comment like that on the newspaper at any time much less on the occasion of someone's death is absolutely beyond my ability to fathom.
Those words hit me as being rude, cruel and ignorant, pure and simple.
It pointed to the crassness some people have and just have to show it for the world to see too. No thought to the fact that quite possibly Julie's sister or other family members might read those comments, those word so mean, and the hurt that could add to the burden they already have in dealing with the hloss of a loved one that all someone could say about her passing dealt with whether she was a "looker" or not. So much for appreciation of the work the woman did for so many years, the wonderful way she had of bringing her point home to her readers, the humor often present in her colums, the warmth she exuded in her writing -all lost apparently to this person becaue she wasn't another Marilyn Monroe or Liz Taylor.
Just goes to show what shallowness exists in the minds of some folks, doesn't it?
Several of the pieces Julie had written for the CDT are also included in her obituary -linked so with a click of the mouse, readers can go back and read, remember, enjoy, no -savor -how she put her thoughts out to us and made us feel like we were in a one-on-one conversation with her, the writer.
I invite you to go to the link above, read the obituary and some of the pieces posted that she had done and then tell me if that one lone commenter wasn't being totally out of line, and yes, rude, ignorant and cruel in that one line statement made.
I do believe that beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder that goes well beyond the physical aspect -deep into the person and the aura that surrounds the beauty as well.
Julie Brink, in my opinion, had to be one of the most beautiful individuals ever.
Her words told me that time and time again.