Posts Tagged ‘James Hannaham’

Anna Glassman 1 Key West 1960
Anna Bieler Glassman on her honeymoon in Key West, Florida, 1960

My Aunt Anna died today. She was born in 1919, the first of eight children, including my Dad. I think of Dad and his siblings as the Pioneer Generation – the first Bielers born in the United States.

Anna was a few weeks short of 95. She’d lived most of her life in Manhattan and loved every minute of it.

Anna was probably my biggest fan. Her late husband, Jerry, had been a playwright, and she was thrilled that I was a writer, too. Twice when I was in high school I spent a summer week with them in their book-packed apartment near Columbia University. Anna took me to bookstores, museums, and to the top of the Empire State Building. Jerry, who had been wrestling with writer’s block for years, talked to me about writers and writing. It was heady stuff for a kid from a nowhere town in rural Massachusetts.

For years, Anna asked me if I was writing and told me how she hoped to see my name on a book someday. When I went to New York in 2006 to give the toast at my cousin Philip’s wedding, she asked me again. I told her I had an idea for a novel and that this time it didn’t seem like the kind of idea that rides back into the ocean on the next tide. She said, “I want to live long enough to read it.” She didn’t, for which I am sorry.

The best I can do now is finish what I’ve started and write something good. “What I want is for a work of art to move me on as many levels as possible – I want it to split my sides, blow my mind, and break my heart.” (James Hannaham)

I had 16 aunts and uncles in 1967 when the last of them married, and I’m happy to say I knew them all. Here it is almost half a century later and I still have nine. How lucky is that?

Kind of a mixed up writing day here in the Write-a-thon, but as mixed up as it was it still added up to an hour.