Darlene and Claire, out for a walk at Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort.I finished an article I've been working on and just submitted it to The Grapevine, AA's "meeting in print." It's titled "What I Learned in Akron," and it gave me a chance to ruminate on our visit to the birthplace of AA, on the drive out from Denver nearly two months ago. As I worked on the piece, I realized that visiting Akron deepened my appreciation for the fragile history of AA--so many coincidences led up to Bill and Dr. Bob meeting in Akron on Mother's Day, 1935, largely through the persistence of one woman, Henrietta Seiberling. Darlene remembered the recording of Henrietta that we listened to at the gate lodge of the Seiberling estate, her home where she hosted the historic meeting that led to the founding of AA.
The recording was made many years later, when Henrietta's son called her on the phone to ask about her memories of Bill and Dr. Bob. She made an intriguing point about Bill, which I transcribed from my tape as follows:
…we can all see in his life what the Oxford Group people had told us in their message, that if we turn our lives to God and let Him run it that He will take our very shortcomings and make them valuable in His way and give us our heart’s desire. And when I got the word that Bill had gone on, I sat here, this is between you and me, and it was just as if somebody had spoken again on top of my head the way I got guidance [and] said to me, “Verily, verily he hath received his reward. … And then I took Bill’s story from Alcoholics Anonymous, I took the book down, and there I saw where he said all his failure and all the different things he’d failed in was because he always wanted people to think he was somebody. And in the first edition of the book he said, “I always wanted to make my mark upon people.” And by letting God run his life, God took that ego and gave him his heart’s desires but in God’s way. And when he was gone, he was on the front pages of The New York Times and he was famous all over the world.In researching the article, I found this copy of the obit in the Times. Bill would have been thrilled, I suppose, since he had kept his anonymity in the media throughout his life but had signed a document saying it could be broken at the time of his death.
Darlene has been working steadily the past two days on a new foliage-inspired quilt. When I first imagined this RV Ramble, I dreamed of quiet days when she would be quilting in the front of the motorhome and I would be playing on the Macintosh on the desk in the bedroom. This has been one of those days, as sweet as I had imagined.