Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An Unappreciated Woman

An Unappreciated Woman
Thomas Allen

[Editor’s note: This article was posted on Deborah’s birthday. If hospice had not killed her prematurely, most likely, she would have lived to celebrate her 58th birthday.]

Two weeks after Deborah died, the Franklin County Arts Council had its ribbon cutting opening of its remodeled arts building. Regrettably, Deb did not live to see this change. The remodeled building would have brought joy to her heart. It was what she had argued for for years.

Until about three years ago, the chief promoter of the Whistler’s Convention controlled the Franklin County Arts Council. He controlled it either directly or from behind the scene. Deb wanted to change the focus of the Franklin County Arts Council from the Whistler’s Convention to promoting Franklin County art and artists. Her arguments were ignored, and she finally gave up.

Her criticism the chief promoter of the Whistler’s Convention almost got her sued. He demanded an apology from her. So, I drafted a letter of apology for her to send to the newspaper. In the letter, she thanked him for proving her point by his action.

When the State threatened to withhold grant funds if the Franklin County Arts Council remained involved with the Whistler’s Convention, the two separated. Under new management, Deb started seeing the Franklin County Arts Council moving in the direction for which she had for years argued. It now focused on promoting Franklin County art and artists.

(Deb’s family has lent the Franklin County Arts Council a self portrait of Deborah. This portrait is hanging in the Franklin County Arts Council’s art building in memory of her.)

The Christian school at which Deb taught art as a volunteer for several years certainly did not appreciate her. The students appreciated her; they loved her and enjoyed her classes. However, some people at the school often seemed to consider her an unwanted intruder. At least they treated her as such. At best they considered her a nuisance. The administrator did little or nothing to resolve the conflict. When he did do something, he usually sided with the teachers against Deb. Eventually, they began attacking her daughter. These attacks were more than Deb could stand.

Before her experience with the school, she was active in the church that sponsored the school. Her experience at the school poisoned her enthusiasm for the church. (Many people at the school were also involved with the church.) After the school forced her daughter out, she endured the church another year for the sake of her eldest son, who still attended the school.

Except for a small church (a dozen attendees were a big crowd) that she attended for several years until it ceased operating, she lost all interest in going to church. With this exception, the few churches that she did attend reminded her of the school church. Such a reminder caused her to lose interest in them.

I came to appreciate her greatly. Deb was a great source of brilliant ideas although many people rejected her suggestions. I soon learned that when she suggested something: do it. She was usually right. Nearly every time a project stumped or frustrated me, her suggestion almost always solved the problem.

Deborah had a brilliance and wisdom about her that few recognized. Her premature death is an irreplaceable lost to me and the world. I hope someday people will recognize how great she really was. Maybe one day she will be fully appreciated.

Copyright © 2011 by Thomas Coley Allen. 

More articles on Deb. 

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