Poetry Dispatch * On Norbert’s 86th Birthday by Jude Genereaux

22 08 2021

There are so many of us who miss this man …

Due to turn 86 this Monday, August 23 … I can’t help remembering how the bower of “old age” rankled Norbert. He didn’t like it. His ambition and desire for “more” stayed with him; even as physical possibilities limit what we can do in our 70’s, 80’s, Norbert had unending visions of what he wanted yet to accomplish.

That in itself amazes me, now that I find my own intentions to accomplish tasks or travel or create — slow. As his family & friends, and now the archivists, research and categorize the prolific output Norbert left for us, the only word I can accurately use to describe it is: staggering. The list of articles, published work, blog contributions and treatises on a myriad of topics, plus sixteen books in print, boggle any writer’s production.

From his years growing up in the Cicero neighborhood, through to the waning years, Norb’s energy was revved by his surroundings and community. Whenever local events called him to contribute: as Ellison Bay planned to commemorate the stewardship of its “Grand View”, who did they call upon to speak the words the rest of us felt, but Norbert, of course. Same when the “Pioneer” store in our little town was restored after a tragic collapse in 2006. Christmas Eve pageants, readings in Newport Park, programs of “Passages”, kick-off for the “Annual Read” and his infamous Clearing workshops through 2012 – all were made bountiful by his voice and the emotions Norbert brought forth.

So how do we carry on without him? Foremost — we “find him in his books”, as he directed us to do. And in our hearts, where he will always be. ~ Jude Genereaux

Everything That Was Broken

-has forgotten its brokenness.

I live now in a sky-house,

through every window the sun.

Also your presence.

Our touching, our stories.

Earthy and holy both.

How can this be?

but it is.

Every day has something in it

whose name is Forever.

~Mary Oliver



5 responses

22 08 2021
Marty Robinson

He had much to give, gave much, and left us wanting more.

23 08 2021
Paula Kosin

In the last year, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, and the Lake Geneva Regional News have published my articles. I also was approached by a publisher to write a book – contract, advance, royalties, manuscript deadlines, the whole package. Because their subjects are close to my heart, I call them “values journalism.” All are tributes to Norb’s inspiration, the fruits of his influence. ❤️ Forever grateful.

23 08 2021
Al DeGenova

He’s always looking over my shoulder…still.

23 08 2021

I still judge my poems on whether or not Norb would say . . . and you write such lovely short stories. I’m getting better as my 80s are upon me.

24 08 2021
Tim and Sue Stone

We do miss Norb. I stop by the cementary from time to time to remember.

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