by Jeanne Arnold.
Two of Barbara Lindquist’s many poems from her book are
Rowdy and Laughing
I don’t write too much, anymore,
only when I have to — only when compulsion drives me.
I like to internalize, to let the words walk
around inside of me, to shake hands with one another,
become new friends until they start to like one another
and begin to sing and dance and annoy the neighbors
until they spill out onto the street of paper
rowdy and laughing and human and right.
Stars and Comets
We’re not stars. Stars just sit there twinkling smugly.
We’re comets who sail through the jet-black sky of life
Leaving trails of VIBRANT Energy Glowingly Alive!
Making Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences for the Spectators!
Jeanne submitted this to “Passings” in Lesbian Connection Nov/Dec 2013.
The pale moon rises
BARBARA LINDQUIST: age 83, faced her death with the same courage she had shown in her feminist and lesbian dedication to her Mother Courage Bookstore in Racine, WI, and to her Mother Courage Press. When Barbara received her cancer diagnosis (metastatic adenocarcinoma) in March 2013, she told the oncologist that she had lived a full and happy life with many accomplishments. After eight weeks at home, Barbara was admitted in the hospital hospice unit and, while there, she entertained both visitors and staff with her humor and positive attitude.
Ten weeks after her diagnosis, Barbara died on June 1 with her soulmate and partner of 39 years, Jeanne Arnold, and members of both women’s families near with her.
Together Barbara and Jeanne started and ran Mother Courage Bookstore from 1978 to 1983, and the two created Mother Courage Press in 1981. They published 25 titles that sold internationally, including two that were among the first sexual abuse therapy books for children and youths. They retired the press in 2002.
In 1982 the two women started a women’s spirituality group in their home and grew into requiring a more spacious setting when they joined with the Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church’s spirituality programs for women. This church is where they first met as Sunday school teachers 1965. She was the church’s religious education director from 1974 to 1977.
Barbara is the author (by her own count) of five published books, three under the pen name of B. L. Holmes and two under her own name, and she also illustrated four Mother Courage Press books. She sold more than 100 works as a visual artist. Barbara was also a luthier and built 60 musical instruments, including six guitars, three violins, three dulcimers, a hurdy-gurdy and other uniquely whimsical instruments. As a musician and song writer, she wrote a musical, Senior Citizen; organized a women’s band, The Depends; and played guitar with a Celtic band, Roadkill.
Barbara and Jeanne, both seekers of ancient sacred Goddess and artifacts, completed Barbara’s bucket list of destinations in the summer of 2012 when they drove about Carnac in Brittany, France, and to Scotland’s sacred pagan sites.
Over the years, while exhibiting books at various American Booksellers Association’s trade shows, the two women met with authors, women’s bookstore owners and small press publishers. In 1990 Barbara gave a presentation on using Apple computers to publish books at an international women’s book conference in Barcelona, Spain. The couple also traveled to New Zealand and Australia, Malta and Egypt, and throughout Europe, including several trips to Ireland and England.
Barbara and Jeanne were both married to men and had teenage children when their love overcame society’s prohibitions and punishment. Surviving homophobia, both had lost jobs. They opened their bookstore in Racine, which was not necessarily a hotbed of feminism. That same year, 1978, they dared to buy a house together. They also started a lesbian rap group. While a number of the younger women in the group were afraid to come out to their parents, Barbara and Jeanne were concerned about being out to their teenage children.
One of their young friends wrote, “You have been such formative elements in my soul and pride as a woman and as a lesbian.”
In 2009, Jeanne’s adult daughter spoke at Racine’s Gay Pride Day and said, “What my mom and Barbara had done was very brave, especially those decades ago. They lived their lives on the edge of society’s acceptance — with so much love and dedication to each other. I have so much respect and admiration for them both. They set a wonderful example for me, and many others, of how to live life to the fullest, how to look ahead and not behind, of how to love.”
Barbara’s memorial service was a celebration of her life. The church was filled with loving and accepting gay and straight family and friends, and the choir sang “Into the West,” a most appropriate song for Barbara, a boat builder, SCUBA diver and sailor.
Into the West
Song by Annie Lennox and Howard Shor
Lay down your sweet and weary head.
The night is falling,you have come to journey’s end.
Sleep now and dream of the ones who came before.
They are calling from across the distant shore.
Why do you weep? What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see all of your fears will pass away.
Safe in my arms, you’re only sleeping. What can you see
On the horizon? Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea the pale moon rises,
The ships have come to carry you home
And all will turn to silver glass, a light on the water.
All Souls pass, hope fades.
Into the world of night through shadows falling,
Out of memory and time. Don’t say we have come now to the end.
White shores are calling. You and I will meet again.
And you’ll be here in my arms just sleeping.
And all will turn to silver glass, a light on the water.
Grey ships pass into the West
Graphics by Mary Nelson