copyright Alan Chapman 1995-2005, aside from Mary Frye's original poetry
Almost certainly Mary Frye wrote the famous poem 'Do not stand at my grave and weep' in 1932, however uncertainty continues to surround the definitive and original wording of this remarkable verse. Originally the verse had no title, so the poem's first line, 'Do not stand at my grave and weep' naturally became the title by which the poem came to be known. Mary Elizabeth Frye (1905-2004) was a housewife from Baltimore USA, when a visiting friend's mother died, and this prompted Mary Frye to compose the verse, which she said was her first real attempt to write poetry. The friend was a young German Jewish girl called Margaret Schwarzkopf, who felt unable to visit her dying mother in Germany due to the anti-Semitic feeling at home. This led to Margaret Scwarzkopf's comment to Mary Frye, according to the apparent history of this, that she had been denied the chance to 'stand by her mother's grave and shed a tear'. This seemingly was the inspirational prompt for Mary Frye to write the verse, which has for decades now touched and comforted many thousands of people, especially at times of loss and bereavement. Mary Frye, it is said, wrote the poem on a brown paper shopping bag. Apparently in interviews since writing the poem Frye said that the 'words just came to her', and it also seems clear that she wrote her poetry to bring comfort and pleasure to others, rather than to profit from its publication.
It's fascinating that the poem came into such widespread use, and this is perhaps because it was not conventionally copyrighted and published. At some time after Margaret Schwarzkopf's mother's death, friends of the Schwarzkopf family arranged for a postcard to be printed featuring the poem, and this, with the tendency for the verse to be passed from person to person, created a 'virtual publishing' effect far greater than traditional printed publishing would normally achieve. The poem, in its various 'original' forms has for many years been firmly in the public domain.
For many years (and presently still among many people) the poem's origin was generally unknown, being variously attributed to native American Indians, traditional folklore, and other particular claimant writers. The poem has appeared, and continues to, in slightly different versions, and there are examples also of modern authors adding and interweaving their own new lines and verses within Frye's work, which adds to confusion about the poem's definitive versions and origins.
Whatever, the mystery seems first to have been solved when the poem was categorically attributed to Mary Frye in 1998, following research by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, a widely syndicated American newspaper columnist, whose 'Dear Abby' column seems to have directly communicated with Mary Frye concerning original authorship of the poem.
According to various sources (notably the CBC radio and TV station in Canada, whose presenter Kelly Ryan broadcast a radio feature called 'Poetic Journey' on 10 May 2000, telling the story of Mary Frye's poem) there are various 'definitive' versions.
This is the version of Frye's poem which was featured on the postcard that was printed by friends of Margaret Schwarzkopf's parents. It was untitled:
This alternative 'modern definitive version', with slight variation in lines 9 and 10, was featured in Mary Frye's obituary in the British Times newspaper in September 2004, although no source is given:
A number of sources suggest that Mary Frye confirmed the following interpretation as her original version (specifically apparently in her interview with Kelly Ryan for Ideals magazine in 2000, or on the radio? not sure - if you know please tell me). The version is quite different to the versions above. Note especially the extra lines, and the present tense 'do' in the final line.
Since there is no clear 'definitive version', (and even if there were), it's a matter of personal choice in my view as to which one to use.
It is likely that the mystery and magical appeal of Mary Frye's verse will continue. Probably the mystery has contributed to the poem's appeal. It is likely also that the poem will forever touch people, in the way that people are touched and inspired by Max Ehrmann's 'Desiderata', and by Rudyard Kipling's 'If', to name a couple of other worthy examples.
Mary Frye's 'Do not stand at my grave' and its timeless appeal provide a wonderful illustration of the power of language, and the power of ideas and concepts to spread far and wide, quite organically.
Beautiful words transcend all else; they inspire, console and strengthen the human spirit.
I grew up in Southfield, Michigan. My name is Marcia Van Brunt. I was the youngest of three children and the only girl. I have two older brothers Jim and John. My dad was Frederick Gleichmann Van Brunt.
Dad was born and (mostly) raised in Moscow, Pennsylvania. Moscow is a very small town compared to the Detroit area where I was raised. Our family would go back and visit Moscow and my Dad’s family in the summer. I remember my Dad’s parents, Joe Van Brunt and my grandmother, Elizabeth Van Brunt. When my grandmother died (I was about 17) I told my Dad I was sorry his mom had died. He then explained to me that his birth mother died when he was eight and the lady I knew as my grandmother was really his step mother.
This came as a shock to me. I didn’t know my grandmother Elizabeth very well, but she always treated me as if I were her granddaughter. I never felt like she didn’t love me. But this new information had me confused.
Looking back, it surprises me how little my Dad talked to me about important things. As I learned more, I felt terrible realizing my Dad had lost his mom at age eight. I thought about how hard that must have been for him, then for him to see his father remarry. His world forever changed and he never spoke of it. Later I learned he went to live with relatives in the Plattsville, NY area. He was raised there.
The only thing my Dad ever did with me alone was to take me to visit a very sweet older lady in Detroit who I only knew as Aunt Pearl. My mother never came with us on these visits. I would go with my Dad and never ask any questions. I just went because that is how it had been for as long as I could remember.
We visited her about twice a year for many years. Just me and my Dad. Aunt Pearl had a nice home. I remember all the furniture being very old. (they would be antiques now, she had some wonderful things.) Her husband, Uncle Doc, was a veterinarian. I thought that was very cool at the time. They had dogs, which I loved so I always looked forward to the visits.
Aunt Pearl spoke to me of many things. I listened out of respect. She talked about family and how important it is to know where we came from and who came before us. She was very nice and took a great interest in me. This was fun since at home I was the pest and was usually teased or ignored by my two older brothers. It took a very long time for me to discover that this Aunt of my Dad’s was the sister of his deceased mother.
I realize now these visits were true acts of love on my father's part. It was something he could do for his mother who was no longer there. It was a gift to Aunt Pearl who felt connected to her dear sister who had passed away in 1918. Aunt Pearl was also showing love for her sister by being involved with her sister’s only granddaughter -- me!
Dad’s mother was Marion Geraldine Gleichmann. Her sister, Aunt Pearl, was Pearl Irene Gleichmann. My grandmother, Marion, married Joseph Van Brunt, and Pearl married Howard Burdick. I never made a connection with my Dad's past because Aunt Pearl lived in Detroit. In my little world my Dad's family were all in Pennsylvania.
Details and stories come out, but Aunt Pearl is as clear in my mind right now as she was the last time I saw her so long ago. I remember her clothes were very conservative, dark colors, and she worn sturdy shoes. Her hair was grey and her skin was beautifully aged. She had well earned wrinkles but she was the way anyone would picture a true grandmother back in the 60’s. She remains my guide to the past even today.
I have worked on my family information off and on for many years and computers now make it all so much easier to find our past. But for me, I know where the seed was planted -- AUNT PEARL. I seriously doubt she fully understood the impact of her attention on her great niece.
Because of Pearl I have a legacy and a past. Aunt Pearl was also MY way of connecting to a dear grandmother lost to me before I was born. Because of Aunt Pearl, I have photographs of this grandmother. I have documents, dates, and an image of someone I will never know. Both of these women live deeply in my heart. Today I work on my family information for hours every week. Pearl Irene Gleichmann Burdick... one person does make a difference.
About 8 months ago, I was thinking about Pearl as I was working on my Dads family. I decided to "Google" Aunt Pearl. I know it sounds silly but I did it. Just like we all wish we could pick up the phone and call a deceased loved one, so I googled her. I doubt she ever thought anyone would do such a thing. She died before the Internet existed. I received another gift from this wonderful Aunt. I found her name on a Burdick family site. I emailed someone named Howard Burdick. We are cousins. Howard’s Grandmother and mine were sisters.
Imagine Pearl and Marion, looking down on Howard and me as we get to know each other and share facts. We have both learned so much from each other. And so it goes, we remain connected through those who live on, and those who have gone before us. What a gift.
Kevin Burdick, the 33 Year-Old Rock Pianist from Salt Lake City Utah, may be the very definition of a Renaissance Man. A Brigham Young University Graduate with a major in geography and minors in both music and psychology, Mr. Burdick’s 3rd CD released earlier this year entitled “In Your Cocoon” is getting rave reviews from both local and national sources. In fact, Cingular Wireless has chosen track 3 from the CD entitled, She Does Her Crying Alone, to be a downloadable ring tone off of their MySpace page.
“I’m now getting on average around 10 fan requests an hour off of MySpace.com (http://www.myspace.com/kevinburdick) from all over the world. I have nearly 20,000 MySpace fans and it is growing exponentially.” Kevin says, “It’s one of those things where 1 person falls in love with my music who then shares it with 5 other people who then share it with 5 other people and so on. It’s getting pretty overwhelming to manage. We’re now selling between 5 and 10 CDs a week just off of the website”
Kevin Burdick’s first album, Deep Blue America, was recording in Arizona in 2002, however, for his last two albums Mr. Burdick continues to work with some of the finest Utah talent. Joel Pack, who is affiliated with both Maverick Records and Warner Brothers Records and plays in the popular Utah band Broke, produced Kevin’s 2005 Release “True Stories and other fairy tales” as well as his 2006 Release “In Your Cocoon.” Other Utah Talent that have recorded with Mr. Burdick include local drummer Rob Moffitt (courtesy of Warner Brothers), Utah’s trumpet phenom Eric Vorkink, local rock violinist Kim Pack, and one of Utah’s best saxophonists David Todoroff.
How Kevin Burdick ended up becoming one of Cingular Wireless “hottest emerging artists on MySpace” is a story almost as unbelievable as it is true. Mr. Burdick was raised in the small town of St. Johns, AZ, population 3500. His grandmother, who lived just one house over, had been in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir as a young woman. It is from these roots where Kevin inherited his love of music. Starting piano lessons at age 6, Mr. Burdick would eventually begin his love of rock music when his teacher finally let him learn a Lionel Richie song – “Hello!” By 7th Grade, Kevin was already writing his own music.
At age 15 Kevin would suffer a bout with chronic psoriasis that would grow to cover over 90% of his body. As you might expect, for months during his sophomore year the gym class teasings and school dance moments were nearly unbearable for him. In Mr. Burdick’s autobiography posted on MySpace.com he says, “My life’s goal was to be a rock star, but very rarely do you see rock stars with hundreds of red lesions all over their body especially lesions that would peel and bleed and itch and burn every minute of every day.” Only through a miracle drug, Tegison (which has since been pulled off of the market because of the potential risks of permanent liver damage), would Mr. Burdick be given relief from his condition – unfortunately, as Kevin will candidly admit, there wasn’t a miracle drug to cure the “lingering affects of the emotional damage.” Mr. Burdick has said that, “This sort of pain that I carry is the fuel that creates my songs.” Though Kevin’s music isn’t particularly religious and deals with themes such as drug abuse, divorce, and abandonment, many fans who listen to and love the music have described the sound as ‘spiritual rock.’ One fan even posted on Mr. Burdick’s MySpace page that ‘Kevin Burdick rocks my soul!’
Kevin’s closest friends understand all to well of the pain that fires Kevin Burdick’s creativity. Jared Platt, a long time friend from high school and the personal photographer for Mr. Burdick, said during the making of Kevin’s recent video bio, “Kevin is deeply wounded, genuinely concerned, and stubbornly optimistic.”
Another source of Mr. Burdick’s wounds and inspiration is that of his late daughter, Dempsey. Dempsey Sue Burdick was born on April 2nd, 2003 when Kevin was still married to his wife Debbie. She was born with a congenital heart defect that would require surgery to correct. 31 days later she would pass away from complications with the surgery. Kevin would watch helplessly as she would draw her last breath in her mother’s arms in Phoenix Children’s Hospital – her passing and their subsequent divorce a little over a year later completely devastated Kevin. “When she died, the hospital staff said that 80% of families that went through this ended up divorced – I guess we were just one of those statistics. It’s still something that keeps me awake at night – the pain can be unbearable at times.”
Soon after the burial, Kevin directed his grief towards founding a charity in the name of his daughter. In his journal, posted on the charity’s website, Kevin wrote, “I have been taking a little more time this weekend to go to the cemetery where my daughter is buried. She is buried in a section of the cemetery called ‘Baby Land.’ It is filled with children who died too early. The saddest thing is that there are at least 15 babies there whose parents haven't provided them with headstones.” The Dempsey Burdick Memorial Foundation helps families with some of the financial costs associated with losing a child by providing needy families with a headstone. Since its inception in 2004, the Dempsey Burdick Memorial Foundation has helped 4 grieving families with their funeral costs and continues to take applications for other families, both locally and nationally, who are in need.
The death of his daughter has also inspired one of Kevin’s most popular songs – his Tears in Heaven’esque ballad entitled “Too Good For This World” is a moving tribute, with deep spiritual undertones, that will affect even the most hardened of listeners. Kevin’s only tattoo is that of a pair of angel wings and a halo on his right shoulder that serves as a daily reminder of the angel that is out there watching over him – his daughter.
During the day, Kevin helps improve the lives of others in the community. Not only is he HOA President at one of the condos he owns, but he is also National Sales Director for one of the fastest growing companies in the state, AdvancedMD. He is also the President and Founder of InvestMed, a local medical software company with 4 employees that makes kiosk software for medical offices. When asked where he finds time to manage all of these various projects and companies, Mr. Burdick responded, “I don’t sleep at all and my social life sucks – that’s pretty much it.” He then added, “Everything I do, all of the business ventures I do during the day are just so that I can do what I really love at night – play music!! That’s it.”
On any given night around town, Mr. Burdick may be seen at venues like The Cabana Club and the Tavernacle, however, lately Kevin has taken up another approach to performing. Recently he founded the Salt Lake City Acoustic Underground Series. During these small exclusive performances, often times held at local residences, Kevin Burdick invites other local musicians to perform with him and allows between 12 and 20 fans to interact with him and the music. “It is an amazing opportunity for fans to really understand and connect with the songs and the stories that inspired them.” Kevin said, “For example, before I perform She Does Her Crying Alone, fans are able to hear the story of the girl that was written about and understand why she cries alone.” These small intimate gatherings have been very popular and have been promoted only by word of mouth and private invitation.
Currently Kevin is casting for his music video for the dark ballad, “In Your Cocoon” which metaphorically deals with his divorce at the end of 2004. This video will also showcase some of Utah’s best talent and will be distributed nationally via MySpace.com and KevinBurdick.com. Kevin is hoping to be able to add Comcast On-Demand, VH1, and MTV to that list as they work through the process of presenting it to all three media outlets.
Please visit http://www.kevinburdick.com
Dorothy (Dfbenish@wmconnect.com) is related to the distingushed Quinton Burdick family from North Dakota. I you are a member of that branch of the family, she would love to hear from you.
Fred Burdick (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a member of several local family societies and historical societies in Rhode Island and Connecticut. He is a board member for the Stonington Historical Society and also its Treasurer. He is Vice-President & Treasurer of a new Museum in Stonington, which is a house built by Thomas Stanton, one of his ancestors, in 1675. Add to that the Treasurer of the Denison Society & Museum, a board member of the Walter Palmer Society, and Vice-President & Preservationist of the Wequetequock Burial Ground. Fred does a lot of genealogy work for these organizations and was recently appointed as the Town Historian for Stonington. What a family resource! He has photos of many Burdick gravestones from the Stonington, Westerly, and Hopkinton areas.
Jane Maxson (email@example.com), our Maxson friend in Westerly, RI, passes along the following information. Donald H. Burdick, 70, of Oral School Road, Mystic, died Sunday, May 21, 2006, at his home after a lengthy illness. He was born in Westerly on Nov. 13, 1935, son of the late George G. and Gladys Tucker Burdick. He was a graduate of Stonington High School and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Donald had worked for many years as a commercial fisherman out of Stonington. He later worked at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics and at the Mystic Oral School. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis (Robinson) Burdick; stepchildren, Patricia Cunningham of New London, Linda Woodward of Montgomery Village, MD, Brian Perkins of Mystic, Lisa Bailey of Gales Ferry, and Christopher Perkins of Groton. He was predeceased by a stepson, David Perkins. He is also survived by two sisters, Evelyn Sullivan of Westerly and Beverly Gwizdowski of Waterford; two brothers, Theodore Burdick of Norwich, and Joseph Burdick of Stonington; 12 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Jane also pass word along that John E. Burdick Jr., 83, of Sebring, Fla., beloved husband of Juanita (Winn) Burdick, died June 23, 2006, at home with family and friends. Mr. Burdick was born Sept. 14, 1922, in Westerly, RI and was the son of John and Laura Burdick.
Sarah Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides notice of the passing her great-aunt, Martha May (Burdick) Williams on June 11, 2006, at age 88. Martha Burdick was born Aug. 20, 1917, in Torrance, CA. She was a sheet music saleswoman for Sampson Ayers in Spokane, Wash. She moved to Portland in 1982. In 1940, she married Nonnie; he died in 1971. Survivors include her daughters, Susan Van Winkle and Barbara W. Crandall; sister, Viola R. Stanton; six grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
On a happier note, Amanda (Burdick) Arangoa-Espino (email@example.com), daughter of David Alan Burdick, granddaugther of Keith Leon burdick, was married on June 24, 2006. Drop her a note of congratulations!
Oops! John Crandall (JCran1217@aol.com) caught my typo! In the last Newsletter I mentioned a new book entitled "Images of America: Grafton, Berlin, and Petersburgh." I incorrectly stated the author as Warren F. Froderick, is should be Warren F. Broderick. Also, "Images in America" is the name of the book series, and not a part of the book title. Thanks for the correction!
Mable McMahon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is looking for information about William Green. He was the father of Hannah Green who married Elisha Burdick (1760-1828). According to the Burdick book, they lived in Pine Plains Duchess county. Elisha and Hannah had daughter Hannah who m. John Chapman Grennell. Does anyone know anything more?
Joyce Patterson (email@example.com) is researching her great grandmother, Lucy Maxson Chase that may have a Burdick connection. Lucy Maxson was born in Rhode Island 13 Feb., 1792. She married David Chase in Kalamazoo, MI, 15 Feb., 1818?, She died 27 Feb., 1856, in Arcade, Wyoming Co., NY. Does anyone have any information on Lucy's parents or siblings, or her exact place of birth? Does anyone know how she is connected to the Burdick's?
Mae Pagdin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is descended from Robert Burdick and his wife Ruth Hubbard through their great grandson, James Burdick. James married Phoebe Smith and they lived in Lanesboro, MA before moving to South Hero, Vermont where James ran a ferry service. There has been some confusion as to whether James was the grandson of Robert Burdick Jr. through his son, Joshua and wife, Abigail Lanphere -- or the grandson of Hubbard Burdick Sr. through his son, Hubbard Jr. and wife, Avis Lewis. Can anyone clarify this?
Susan Campbell (email@example.com) is seeking information about her gg-grandmother, Julia Burdick Baker. She was born in 1820 in Canada and was married to William Baker who was also born in Canada in 1810. They are listed in the 1880 Census in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Do you have further information?
Caroline Gilmore (firstname.lastname@example.org) is trying to find descendents of Rubin Burdick(1815-1850) who married Martha Elizabeth Leigh in Princeton, KY. Rubin and Martha are her gg-grandparents. Rubin is buried somewhere around Eddyville, KY.
David Sisson (email@example.com) is a descendant of Hannah Burdick and her husband Nathan Sisson. They were married 9 Feb 1763 in Hopkinton, Rhode Island. David's records show that Hannah was born 17 Sept 1734 in Westerly, RI, daughter of Robert and Dorcas (Lewis) Burdick. Robert was a son of Thomas and Martha (Randall) Burdick, and Thomas was a son of the original Robert and Ruth (Hubbard) Burdick. David has information on dozens of Hannah and Nathan's descendants, if you're interested.
Liz White (lizgarywhite@peoplepc) Wanted to let everyone know of the passing of Ethel F. Rager, age 75. She was born oct. 11, 1930 in Salamanca, NY and is the daughter of the late George and Pearl Burdick Truesdale.
Terri Allen (Imacutegal@aol.com) is a Todd family genealogist with a Burdick connection. She has traced her Todd family back to the 1700s in New York State. One of the Todd daughters married a Lobdell man. The Lobdell family continued a couple of generations down to Mary Lucinda Lobdell who married Willett Franklin Burdick, 28 Jun 1870 in Belmont, Allegany Co., NY. Terri has a lot of information about Willett Franklin Burdick, son of William A. and Avis Adeline Lamphier (Thurston) Burdick and others. She would like to make contact with anyone who knows this Burdick family or the Lobdell or Todd families.
Jennifer Frasca (firstname.lastname@example.org) is looking for her paternal grandmother, Minnie Burdick Frasca, who was born in Whitwood, SD on October 1, 1906. She was one of seven children of Margretha Kautz and Nelson Jasper Burdick (son of George Tift Burdick & Sarah Abbot Utley. Nelson, son of George T. Burdick was born on Oct. 21, 1861 in Greenfield, Penn.) Does anyone know this family branch?
Carol Brunge (email@example.com) has been stuck for years trying to find William H. Burdick of Petersburg and Grafton, Rensselaer County, NY. His daughter married Rensselaer Smith, a Seventh Day Baptist. She also has photos of Crandall cousins but cannot find the connection. Can you help?
Vicki Ford (firstname.lastname@example.org) is searching for information regarding WILLIAM BURDICK and his wife SARAH MUCHLER/MUELLER/MUEHLER. SARAH was born about 1822 in New York; her parents were born in Pennsylvania. She married WILLIAM BURDICK about 1844. They lived in Oakfield, Genesee Co., NY (1850); then in Mt. Morris, Livingston Co., NY. They had 11 children: WALSTEIN BURDICK, b. 1844, EMMA BURDICK, b. 1846, AUGUSTA (or HELEN AUGUSTA) BURDICK, b. 1848 FREDERICK BURDICK, b. 1850 ANNE BURDICK, b. 1853 ALFRED BURDICK, b. 1854 MAGDALENA (ALENA) BURDICK, b. 1856 JAY BURDICK, b. 1859 MILES BURDICK, b. 1862 JOHN BURDICK, b. 1865 ANDREW BURDICK, b. 1867 (may have died before 1880). By 1880, WALSTEIN and his brother ALFRED are in Flint, Genesee Co., Michigan. FREDERICK, MILES, and JOHN are still in Mt. Morris, Livingston Co., NY. JAY is at the State Reformatory in Elmira, NY. If anyone is related to any of these Burdicks and has information on SARAH MUCHLER BURDICK, Vicki would appreciate some help or direction. Thanks!
Seymour Ellison (email@example.com) lets us know that Suzanne B. Ellison died suddenly on July 20,2006. She was the 1st Vice-Regent of her D.A.R. chapter and had just returned from the washington meeting. Her 8th cousin, Susan Hogan, attended her funeral Mass. Please remember her in your prayers.
Iain Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) sends word that Mildred Anna (Burdick) Thompson, 91, of Westerly, passed away on Monday, Aug. 21, 2006, at The Westerly Hospital. She was the daughter of the late Saxton Charles and Emma Marie (Ornberg) Burdick.
Carol Dorward's (CJADLD@aol.com) husband has a series of legal books given to him by a Burdick cousin. She is trying to find out to whom they originally belonged. Written on the inside front cover is this information: "M.L. Burdick, Salamanca, N. Y. From G.W.H. Sept. 13, 98." Carol located the marriage record of Marcus L. Burdick, the father of her husband's first cousin. This is probably not the same M. L. Burdick of Salamanca, NY, but there is likely some connection. The marriage record lists James (T, P, F or L) Burdick as the father, (Y)illoh Donahue as the mother and Marcus' birthplace as Franklin Center, PA about 1886. The books were copyrighted about 1895 and published by the West Publishing Co. Does anyone know M.L. Burdick or G.W.H.?
Joe Burdick (email@example.com) is doing something great. He will be participating in the Komen Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure on October 14 in the fight against breast cancer. You can read about Joe's involvement by pointing your web browser to: http://race.komenneohio.org/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1000&px=1040622. You can even donate if you'd like.
The Burdicks are entering the "blogosphere"! Bob and Jody Burdick (firstname.lastname@example.org) have a blog at http://bobandjody.blogspot.com . Deborah Rogness (email@example.com) has a blog at http://sangelstargazer.spaces.live.com . If you have a blog site, let me know. I have started a spot of the Burdick Family Association website (http://www.burdickfamily.org) for blogs, click on "Links".