Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010 in the Highlands

our eggs

brightest flowers (tulips) that caught my eye

Bird Island of Point Lobos

hidden egg

my favorite spring garden view

Realized I took similar pics last year, so am testing out how I want to post and label these...

We were fortunate that it didn't rain until late afternoon. There was a proliferation of calla lilies this year that isn't evident in any of the pics I've posted. Additionally, the hummingbirds were quite active, diving and chasing each other - as much as I'd love to post pics of them, I'm not fast enough with the camera.

I'm still not sure if these Easter pics are appropriate for this blog. Use the Easter label below to see last year's pics.

ps 02/19/11 - I don't know where else to express this. So, I'm including a copy of the local Monterey Herald's obit here before it disappears online:

Cynthia Criley Williams
1915 ~ 2011

CARMEL HIGHLANDS - Cynthia Criley Williams, "the Mother of all Mothers," died peacefully at home on January 29, 2011 at the age of 95. Her memorial celebration will be held on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011, following the traditional egg hunt in her garden.

Cynthia was born in Monterey, in 1915. Her parents, painter Theodore Morrow Criley and Myrtle "Tootie" Criley, were members of the early Carmel artists' colony. They built a house in Carmel Highlands, on the southern boundary of Point Lobos, and the family moved there when Cynthia was two. They traveled widely in Europe, spending a year in France when she was six and again when she was thirteen, which fostered in her an old-world sensibility. Back home, Cynthia attended Sunset School, Monterey Union High School, and Scripps College, Claremont.

In 1935 Cynthia married physician Russell Williams. They moved to New York, where she attended Barnard College, and started a family. In 1940, back in the Highlands, they built a house on the family property, designed by Cynthia's architect brother, Theodore. Although Russell's medical training and military service took the growing family at various times to Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Topeka, Carmel Highlands was always home, and where they finished raising their five children.

Cynthia's father was from a hotel-keeping family, and perhaps following this tradition Cynthia opened her home, welcoming neighborhood children, family friends and friends of friends, temperamental artists, struggling writers, serious scholars, lively fishermen, blossoming singer/song-writers, crazy carpenters, earnest scientists, left-wing politicians, student activists, weary world travelers, and wayward teenagers; people might come for the weekend and stay for months. She established an ever-evolving eclectic community, rich with traditions and rituals that she devised. Generations of children learned the joys of camping from her, and lounged on her couch reading comic books; no television allowed. Her menagerie over time included dogs, cats, horses, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, parrots, and injured wildlife (including a seal). The family was devastated by the loss of son Richard ("Red") Williams, who suffered from depression and took his own life in 1961. The marriage ended in 1963.

In 1956, Cynthia had begun purchasing small rental houses in Pacific Grove, and developed a career as a landlady. Her reputation for fairness and generosity spread, and her little houses were much in demand; many of her tenants became part of her extended family community.

Like her Civil Libertarian brother, Richard Criley, Cynthia was a committed advocate for civil rights. She was a true egalitarian who treated everyone alike (except for pregnant women and parents of small children, who got special dispensations). Even in her 90s she attended peace demonstrations on Highway One near her home.

Cynthia had a deep love of language and literature. Her love of learning was life-long; she began studying ancient Greek in her 80s. Her open-mindedness, her generosity of spirit, and her passion for thriftiness were legend. Her mottos were "Waste not, want not" and "It's a great life if you don't weaken." She loved her garden, her view of Point Lobos, summer fog, and a good cup of tea.

Marian "Bee" Chaffey, John Williams, Margaret "Honey" Williams, and Molly Williams are her living children. She leaves four grandchildren: John Chaffey, Margaret Chaffey, Richard Russell Williams, and Sarah Williams; four great-grandchildren; the vast extended family; and her devoted dogs.

In her last year Cynthia's health declined. Her family and friends gratefully acknowledge her superb team of caregivers: Henrietta "Cha Cha" Nuno, Eustacia Pedraza, and Anna Casteneda; and the wonderful services of Hospice of the Central Coast. Cynthia herself requested that her friends honor her memory with donations to the Bookmobile (The Monterey County Free Library System).

Nothing we can say here can adequately express our gratitude for her life.


Here's a link to another blog I found in Cynthia's memory: