Seeing them living

With more recent cases, I occasionally find traces of a person’s activities on the internet before they disappeared. One college student had a website with some pictures of her and poems, one of which she wrote just a few days before she vanished. Another person, a middle-aged man, wrote somewhere about his experiences volunteering for the Peace Corps in the 1970s. Etc.

Well, I just found an online trace of an MP who is most definitely NOT recent: Bessie Hyde, who disappeared on a rafting trip in Arizona over eighty years ago. Northern Arizona University’s digitial archive has a book of poems Bessie wrote, called Wandering Leaves. You can not just read the text but actually see the book itself, bound with string. It’s typed but the cover has the title in what is presumably Bessie’s handwriting. From page 4:

The first fall frost
In shining silver,
Comes out at night.

And soon beguiles
The fluttering trees,
With jewels.

At dawn…
The barren ground
Is carpeted with brown,
Dry, crackling leaves:
Who can no longer whisper
Soft, low songs
For they–
Are dead.

I always wondered why people made such a fuss about the beauty of autumn. The whole season is about death. Apparently Bessie shared my sentiments.

15 thoughts on “Seeing them living

  1. Princess Shantae July 15, 2012 / 7:32 pm

    Well, Bessie’s poem is a whole lot nicer than Alyssa McLemore’s Myspace page that somebody posted the link to on here.
    I like autumn myself, at least I do when its just getting started, and the fall flowers are blooming and the leaves are pretty colors. Along about November is when it starts to get depressing.

    • Meaghan July 15, 2012 / 9:01 pm

      A quote from the diary of Emil Dorian (from which I have quoted before on this blog):

      “The garden has wrapped itself in autumn haze. An unusual autumn, lacking that thrill of vegetal warmth when the sap is still alive and runs up the trees, drunk on solar gold. It is the sorrowful climax of a summer’s drought. Never before was I so struck by the cancerous emaciation in a garden. The leaves started turning yellow in July and began falling, like a dance of prematurely withered bodies.”

  2. Kat July 15, 2012 / 9:02 pm

    Yeah, the whole idea is depressing…though there are a lot of gals named Autumn, my granddaughter included. Really need to ask why she was named that. I’m sure it was a “pretty” thing. We all had this convo ages ago about Disney Princess names…lot of Belles, Ariel, Jasmine, etc. My huzzy just came in and said the season is not about death, it is about rest, and harvest, etc. Renewel for the next year. Which would bring me on to all the girls named Spring…….

    • Meaghan July 15, 2012 / 9:10 pm

      I think Spring is the least common seasonal name. Summer is used with some frequency, and Winter occasionally, but I’ve never heard of a real person named Spring or even a book character. There’s an actress named Season Hubley, but Season is actually her middle name; her first name is Susan.

      Autumn is popular and getting more so. The Social Security Administration said it ranked 69 on their name popularity lists last year, up from 82 in 2010. It is a pretty name but not overly girly, which is probably why people like it.

      (I’m a bit of a name nerd on top of everything else. I own like seven or eight baby name books in spite of the fact that I will probably never have a baby.)

    • Meaghan July 15, 2012 / 9:12 pm

      Okay, just checked. Spring is not anywhere on the 2011 most popular names list, which goes down to 1000. Neither is Season. To my surprise, neither is Winter. Summer is at 173.

      • Kat July 15, 2012 / 9:42 pm

        Try Wynter or Wintyr. I know of one girl I went to school with named Wintyr and one of Tawny Kitaens girls is named Wynter. Not that it is a recommedation or anything lol. And yes, I know at least four girls named Summer, too. Season Hubley I’ve heard of, though she is a bit behind my time. Which would bring us round about to the names of the months….which in some cases can be pretty awful! I like names is always fascinating to see how a certain name is spelled or referenced in different languages, plus popular trends as well. I went about nuts trying to choose a name for my son and wouldn’t you know, it just popped into my head and here he is.

      • Meaghan July 15, 2012 / 9:50 pm

        What is your son’s name? If I had a boy my first choice would be Atticus Raymond. Atticus after Atticus Finch, and Raymond because I like it and because Robert Cormier used the name a lot in his books. Also the name Debbie. I counted like seven Debbies, all of them minor characters. Though this seems to have come more from poverty of imagination than particularly liking the name. Anyway, I also like the names Gabriel and Damon.

        Back in like 1996 or 1997, I was in this online kind of text adventure world called KidMud, at the site KidPub, which is still in existence though KidMud is not. Anyway, you interacted with other children on KidMud and I knew this girl my age who was from Los Angeles. For the life of me I can’t remember her name, but she told me her twin sister was named December. (Surprisingly, I think my friend actually had a very ordinary name — I just can’t remember what it was. So twins named, like, Jennifer (or some bland equivalent) and December.)

        December doesn’t seem like one of the better month names — no obvious nickname comes to mind, for one thing. Besides the usual April, May and June, August seems like a good name for a boy or girl, or October (nickname Toby perhaps?). I follow the blog of Michael Schofield, whose nine-year-old daughter has severe childhood onset schizophrenia, and her name is January, nickname Jani. (Website at; it’s fascinating.) Her brother’s name is Bodhi.

      • Kat July 15, 2012 / 10:31 pm

        Garrett. Garrett David. David for my husbands deceased brother (the poor kid was only four when he passed. Leukemia, or whatever it would have been in the late 60s.). I was literally going down the road to grocery shop, after weeks of baby books and deliberation, and I can show you the road, house, and time it hit me, I turned to my husband and said “what about Garrett?”. It just fit. My sister is an April. I know a May, and a June, both older women. January Jones, the actress, if that is her real name, and I thought there was a February and September in there too. I know of one acting pair with a son named August, oddly enough the mother and now her daughter have the middle name March. Nicholas Morrow, the actor, has a wife named October, but she does go by Tobe. November, December, I haven’t seen yet, but just wait…….

  3. forthelost July 15, 2012 / 9:27 pm

    I don’t see a contradiction in saying autumn is beautiful. It’s a good reminder of how everything comes to an end, and that end can be beautiful. No autumn means no spring.

    • Meaghan July 15, 2012 / 9:51 pm

      Round about where I live, the first odor of spring is thawing dog doo.

  4. Sara July 16, 2012 / 1:14 am

    If you look at the extended SSA name list (they make a longer one you can download that gives every name used 5+ times), Winter was used on 237 baby girls last year. Wynter was used 145 times, and there were also 13 boys named Winter. Spring was only used 16 times (on girls).

    Autumn was the most popular season name, followed by Summer. There were 68 baby girls named Autum and 41 named Sommer.

    • Meaghan July 16, 2012 / 1:25 am

      There can’t have been only 68 girls named Autumn or only 41 named Summer. Are you sure you don’t have “number of babies given that name” confused with the rank?

      • Sara July 17, 2012 / 7:59 am

        There were 68 named Autum (No N) and 41 named Sommer (O not a U). There were 3,740 named Autumn and 1,791 named Summer.

  5. Princess Shantae July 16, 2012 / 8:12 am

    Susan Season sounds pretty terrible.
    There was an old-time actress called Spring Byington. Doing a little more Googling…
    Okay, the police in New Mexico want to know who ran down a girl named Spring Milller on purpose and drove away years ago. And…
    A father-and-son team of so-called bounty hunters burst into a home in Arizona about fifteen years ago and killed a couple inside, who were not the people they were looking for. The woman’s name was Spring Melissa Wright.
    So Spring has been used now and again. Just not a real lucky name.
    My son is Benjamin Paull after both his great-grandfathers on both sides. That was easy enough. My first daughter is Jillian Ashley. I had my heart set on Jada Ashley, but then my sister used Jada Alexis so I had to find a new one. Our youngest is Courtney Breanna, for no special reason.
    If you really want to hear a funny name, l=just last week I called a customer-service line and the lady I talked to was named Sukiaki, spelled just like that b/c she sent me an email later on. Her last name was a common Hispanic sort of name. SHe introduced herself on the phone as Suki.
    Aside from being a food (I’ve had it, its very good) Sukiyaki is a silly song from the sixties that is now stuck tight in my head.

  6. Jaime July 16, 2012 / 1:31 pm

    I once worked with a mother named April and her daughter worked in another department in the same store. Her name was October. She actually went by October (no nickname) she liked it. I have also worked with a woman who named her daughter September.

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