Shocking News: Our Dear Friend Betty Malone

19 11 2009

MEG! What happened??

Nance and I have just learned of Betty’s passing — stunned and saddened. Dear in life, dear in memory.

Betty posted a comment here Sunday, about the religious left emerging. She had been writing on FaceBook about having the flu, and then the morning of Nov. 13 said she was feeling better, ready to get cracking on her directorial work with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Now they are posting eulogy messages to her FB wall.

Are you brainwashing your child with your truth or allowing the freedom of learning to flourish in your home? — Betty Malone

Betty Malone

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19 responses

19 11 2009
Meg

I don’t know any details.

I’ve “heard” that she passed during an afternoon nap and it’s possible that she had diabetes or heart disease, but that’s all second hand to me.

Reading the stuff on her FB, it sounds like such a shock to everyone.

19 11 2009
JJ

Many of you will remember Betty. Her Indiana homeschool friends knew her IRL as well as online. Nance and I (like Pam, Laura, Valerie, Paul, Daryl, COD, several of the rest of you) knew her for the past 10 years online only, starting at NHEN and parent education email lists, moving through Evolved Homeschoolers and across our own blogs and eventually to FaceBook.

This is just to share the news as quickly as possible but I expect some of us will be putting together personal memories of her. Feel free to post here at Snook and use anything from here on your own blogs however you feel moved to do.

This is the first real online-only friend I have lost, and I’m not sure what to do.

Here’s the last post she made on her own blog. It is about homeschooling kids and world views and her last words (there) are so true to who Betty was in the world:
“Remember this, truth stands up to the light of history and time.
And if you are afraid that words, discussion, and reading will change your child’s mind on your worldview, then how strong is your worldview and how good is it?

Don’t be afraid to learn something new and be open to the fact that what we believe now, was once heresy to someone else.”

********************
Begin with the beginning:

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how homeschool children are acquiring their worldview and how slanted that can be when it’s only their parents controlling the input of information that forms such worldview.

For some parents, that’s good news. But more and more, I’m inclined to fear that fact. For when we have children being taught by parents who present only one possible version of the “truth” and that no other “truths” exist in the world except that one narcissistic understanding then how can society hold itself together. When the marketplace of competing ideas is not free and open, then can real freedom exist and thrive?

I’ve thought about how we taught history to our five children and how each of them have acquired a slightly different version of the “truth”. Well, not slightly, in some cases completely opposing views! But for the most part, they hold true to this one thought.

As a world we must respect and seek out other truths and continue to weigh our worldview and our assumptions against new evidence and new thought. And that to me, seems to be what learning should always be.

And yet, the evidence provided me recently, seems to be slanted not in the favor of fundamentalist homeschoolers or even far left liberals, both of whom seem guilty of claiming, only one truth as the worldview we must form all decisions against. It is nothing or all for both sides. And those sides continue to dominate our decision making process.

The health care debate in the Senate and the vote being made today hinge on compromise but has too much been compromised in either direction? Are we left holding a bag of worms sown by the margins on either side of this issue? We wait to see what vote Senator Olympia Snow from Maine, is going to cast today. Will she make or break this healthcare reform bill? And is it so far from what will be in the best interests of Americans that more of us are rooting for its failure than for it?

I hate that word phrase – the political spectrum – as though it were a scientific scale that correctly assigns value to people all across America, based on idealogical beliefs.

Homeschoolers are heavily weighted on the right side of that scale and recent comments made to this author personally let her know that she is in the minority view amongst home educators. That’s okay, but what isn’t okay, is the virulent remarks I hear come from the mouths of babies. Okay, perhaps not babies, but young men and women in junior high and high school who are being spoon fed the “truth” by parents who allow no debate or even willingness to look at the opposing viewpoints. I’m not going to present an opposing viewpoint to them. It’s not done in home education. I respect that, but who is giving them any other information that would allow them to form their own worldview based on lots of input, not just one channel, the Fox channel.

Opposing viewpoints, the dinner table at our house always rang with them. Young men and women, all five of ours, competing to see who could present their case, their argument for their idea of what the truth might be. And where did they get their background information?

They read and studied history from the beginning of history and prehistory. They read literature, political opinion, talked with their dad, worked on campaigns, discussed the growth of liberalism and why this concept should be understood in the 20th century. They know the difference between true socialism, communism, dictatorships and republican democracies and they know that the United States in modern times is an evolving breed of government that isn’t clearly defined yet, but borders more on the democratic socialism model at this time in history based on decisions made by 20th century Congresses.

Because home education extends beyond the borders of your home, and mine, begin at the beginning of history. And study it with them to see that our country is a work in progress and we are far from finished. The doomsayers from either side are afraid and spread their fear to all of us it. It’s contagion and we catch it and we give in to the sky is falling ranting.

But, the serious student of history knows that governments, religions, rulers and movements rise and fall, and the slow steady march of history moves on. There are serious decisions to be made right now, today in the Senate of the United States of American. And there are serious decisions to be made today in the homes of the children in these United States. Are you brainwashing your child with your truth or allowing the freedom of learning to flourish in your home?

I can hear the gasps of indignation now. Remember this, truth stands up to the light of history and time. And if you are afraid that words, discussion, and reading will change your child’s mind on your worldview, then how strong is your worldview and how good is it?

Don’t be afraid to learn something new and be open to the fact that what we believe now, was once heresy to someone else.

19 11 2009
Nance Confer

Unbelievable! The world is a lot less bright today. Betty has always been such a thoughtful, intelligent, kind voice in our lives. What a loss.

My deepest sympathies to her husband and the rest of her family. They must be reeling.

Meg, if you hear more, please let us know.

Nance

19 11 2009
Crimson Wife

How terribly, terribly sad 😦 I’ve heard that infections can cause underlying heart problems to surface, which is one of the reasons doctors worry about older folks catching the flu.

She will be missed, even if I never got the chance to meet her IRL…

19 11 2009
JJ

Betty expanded her thoughts from that last post I reprinted above, in response to a comment from CW. I want to memorialize it here too, part of the conversation as she was, and imagine what her next essay would have been:
***********

To CW, I do think there’s some truth to that. But that doesn’t make me feel better, because the example[s] you posit..are reactionary. In other words, instead of making informed, learned choices about belief systems and worldview, people who are raised to think that only one worldview is correct, “react against it” when it conflicts with their adult reality. And they then discard the baby with the bath water..

In other words, I see this many times, as a moderate progressive Christian, young people who get turned off by the radical fundamentalism of an evangelical faith, and they reject the entire faith due to a few conflicts, because they can’t reconcile it.

Raised as a moderate Methodist I have held on to my faith in Christ as a Redeemer, because I have also been able to see Him as a rebel Himself, who refused to compromise his core values, but was able to see the other side…I think the model that Jesus presents in the gospels is a fine way for a young person to live their life. He rejects the Pharisees, (the adult model in charge) and embraces the lost and society’s dregs (the poor fishermen) and tells them, you too can reap the bounty of the Kingdom..instead of telling them, grab your sword and fight tooth and nail against the Pharisees, use love to overcome, and stand strong together with the Lord.

I love the rebel Jesus, He’s my kind of truth against the conservat[iv]e Pharisees of our time, the Limbaughs and the GOP! That’s the way I see it.

Hey, I think I have to write an essay on this idea…of a radical Jesus fighting the Pharisees of our time, the drug companies, the big corporations raping our land.

19 11 2009
JJ

CW, Nance and I are on the same side of age 50 as Betty was, too. And not speaking for Nance (much less Meg) but after pregnancies and menopausal as Betty and I both were, your weight can get the better of you and cause your health risks to sort of gradually creep up even though you are doing all the right healthy things. So whether the flu had anything to do with it or not, it’s a truth slapping us in our middle-aged faces that one day you really MIGHT just go to sleep and not wake up.

19 11 2009
Crimson Wife

The sad thing is that sudden death can happen at any age. I’m involved in a charity project to knit 35 baby blankets for a local neonatal ICU in honor of a lady in my town mothers’ club who died from complications of premature labor. She was previously healthy and had no known risk factors for a premature delivery so it was a total shock. Why 35 blankets? Because February would’ve been her 35th birthday 😦

I guess it’s a reminder to cherish each day as a gift because you just never know…

19 11 2009
Nance Confer

So true, CW.

I spent the day playing with the 3-year-old (my secret weight loss plan 🙂 ) — in the wading pool in November in FL and doing all sorts of other fun things. All the while thinking of Betty.

I think she would have approved of my day.

Nance

19 11 2009
Meg

Personally.

I lost my mom after a 3 year battle with cancer.

I lost my dad after a 45 minute battle with a burst aneurysm (he made to the hospital and into surgery, but no farther)

I’d like to just go in my sleep.

19 11 2009
JJ

I’m more concerned with my when than my how. 🙂

My folks went very much the same way as Meg’s mom and dad, respectively, but more alarming to me, they weren’t much older then than I am now, so —

20 11 2009
Nance Confer

Remember, JJ, it’s the good who die young. You and I aren’t going anywhere. 🙂

More secret weight-loss info though — stay up most of the night and don’t eat because you have the worst sinus cold ever!

Nance

20 11 2009
JJ

Well, the not eating is a clever plan [grin] but my hard-won experience with not sleeping due to breathing problems would suggest the opposite. Apparently that stresses the system and makes it cling to weight as a sort of survival mechanism or something. . .

20 11 2009
JJ

I really like CW’s charity project btw. 🙂

In the 80s when I was a young professional with no children yet, one of my same-age, same-stage colleagues and friends was a school personnel specialist in evening doctoral classes with me. We were all so happy for Steve when his teacher wife became pregnant with their first child. The months flew by filled with all the good-natured teasing and ritual celebrations, like a romantic comedy with the clueless expectant dad being given arch advice and joke gifts. One day we hear they went into labor in the wee hours, and we wait for him to come by the office with cigars or call us with big news — while she hemorrhages during an emergency C-section, slips into a coma in a matter of minutes and no exaggeration, almost dies. It went from the most normal, happy, healthy family thing imaginable to overwhelming life-to-death disaster just like that. He was a responsible, hard-working, well-educated and smart young man doing all the right things yet missed only by a whisker becoming dad and widower the same day. Like America’s good old days?

Everyone did finally survive but he was out of work for weeks; the baby came home from the hospital before the mom did and he suddenly was the primary caregiver for her, and then for the fragile mom too. Changed everyone forever.

We didn’t stay in touch after I moved away and I hadn’t thought about Steve’s family in years, but in context of Betty and health insurance reform now, he was lucky then. We all worked for government and our school system (partly due to his own efforts in personnel) had responsible, complete family coverage paid for by taxes because he and his wife both worked there.

20 11 2009
Nance Confer

And they weren’t gay.

Nance

20 11 2009
JJ

Well, yeah — and Florida forbids a gay couple to adopt, and I believe is the only state to do so. So effectively, you can’t parent either way, by making one yourself or giving one in need a good home. (Fostering however, is perversely allowed to gay couples? Must be such a taxpayer bargain that the moral issues are overridden?)

20 11 2009
Crimson Wife

Not my idea, I’m just one of the knitters. It was the brainchild of the deceased lady’s mom and best friend. The mom had been knitting a blanket for the baby and after the tragedy decided to finish it in honor of her lost daughter & grandchild & donate it to the local neonatal ICU. The friend heard of this & organized the drive.

30 11 2009
"They"

“They”, being me and others, have no reason to hide our sadness over her loss. Betty meant the world to many, let us not forget this. We spread our condolences to Betty’s offline family and friends, one word at a time.

30 11 2009
JJ

Huh?
Glad to have you add your voice here too, but I don’t understand the point.

9 01 2010
Storyteller

Many who have written here have never met Mrs. Malone in real life such as I have. I was the storyteller in one of her many plays that she did. There are many things I wish I could go back in time and say to her that I never did. I guess that writing them, and thinking them, and hoping that it somehow gets through to her, will have to be enough.

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