Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Marjorie Henshaw Retrospective

24 June 1921 – 16 April 2010

Marjorie Henshaw, actress and writer, died on 16 April 2010 after a valiant effort to keep Triple Negative Breast cancer at bay. A long time Los Angeleno, and born Marjorie Henshaw, part of long established line of Californians, she graduated from Cal in 1943 and went into a vibrant career in acting before marrying and beginning an academic life and family. Throughout her years, she transformed adversity with a positive attitude and always stayed in the moment.

With deep California roots, Marjorie’s childhood centered in Los Angeles of the 20s and 30s. Her family was on the forefront of these developments involved with lumber (her mother’s grandfather founded Mendocino), land (her father’s grandfather owned major holdings in the Owens Valley), and water (her mother’s father established Lake Almanor now at the head waters of the Feather River project that delivers water to southern California). She graduated from Marlborough High School, was a debutante of the Mary Duque Guild, said she knew nothing of the depression, and was listed in the Blue Book.

With Hollywood screen tests, photo shoots, and an option with Warner Brothers, she was represented by the famous William Morris Agency. Marjorie Henshaw was billed as Anabel Shaw for her acting career. She landed a contract with Fox where she was impressed with the glamor of the sets, the extent of the city within the city, and the commissary meeting place for the stars. Her films, now best classed as Film Noir, show a vivid actress with immense talent and love for the screen. Her mother, Elinore Earl Henshaw, was a great support for her in her career move, but her father, Ransom Henshaw, professed that he never saw any of her films.

As Anabel Shaw, she enjoyed acting and played many lead roles. Memorable movies include Shock with Vincent Price, Secret Beyond the Door with Michael Redgrave, In This Corner with Scott Brady, Gun Crazy with Peggy Cummings and John Dall, and Dangerous Years where Marilyn Monroe is not billed but Anabel Shaw is! Our favorite is Killer at Large with Bob Lowery where she steals every scene.

As her film career ascended, Marjorie’s life took a turn and in December 1948 she married. While still acting, this attenuated as she became occupied with her growing family and living abroad. The wife of sociologist Joseph B. Ford, founder of CSUNs Sociology and Anthropology Departments, and mother of three young children Anabel, Cecilia, and Stephen, she was busy making her home.

In this phase of life, Marjorie experienced the “Old World” her mother and grandmother recollected, experiences that she wrote in her book Quintet in Asia Minor (2010). Her rich descriptions of travel in the 50s and 60s were guided by her attachment to Gardener’s Art Through the Ages and Joe’s interest in the far-flung residences of Augustus Comte, the founder of Sociology. In her foreign homes and travels, Margie managed the domestic scene with aplomb. Relishing the experience of Europe and the Middle East, she thrilled at the exposure to ancient cave sites, Roman ruins, medieval cathedrals, and contemporary markets.

While traveling, she was tethered to So. California where she maintained her acting interests. She made occasional appearances on TV and in movies. And remember Lux Soap that the movie stats used? She received a box every month and of course would use it.

As she adjusted to the changing landscape delivered by Joe Ford she provided a stable foundation for the family. She supported her children as the moved into their worlds. But as they went their own ways, Margie was no longer within the quintet she had thrived in. Her facility to live in the moment compelled change. Courageously she struck out on her when she was 64.

Friends and family supported her in this transition. Soon the widow of her first cousin courted her. George-Hap-Skopecek help her start a new phase of her life in Oakland in 1988 when she married. Hap, a man she had know much of her life, idolized for her creative beauty and gave her much pleasure and fun.

Living in Oakland was, in some ways, coming home. Margie rekindled old friendships, became involved in the Oakland Museum, and acted in plays at the Claremont Club. But then there was the fire and the death of Hap. She regrouped and moved to Santa Barbara in 1992.

Santa Barbara was a natural choice, her eldest daughter Anabel was there with her husband Michael Glassow. Her second child, Cecilia lived in Madison with her partner Donna Dallos. Stephen Ford, her third child, made San Diego his home with his wife Linda and two children; Elinore, 10, and Tyler, 5, were Marjorie’s treasured grandchildren.

Her life in Santa Barbara centered around her delightful home on Miradero. She lived singularly and shared her hospitality with old contacts, new friends, and of course her family. As a septuagenarian, Margie spread her wings. She decorated her home in style, got to know her neighbors, and made friend rapidly, easily, and everywhere. She participated in festivities, the symphony, and thematic soirées. She also enjoyed travel and visits with her children. Exploring Michigan and Mendocino with Steve and his family, traveling to Japan and Finland with Ceci, and taking in sights of Ireland and Austria with Anabel and her husband Mike. In short she thrived.

One of a kind Marjorie engaged with all who are genuine and eschewed those who were charlatan. Her spirit was open and cheerful, a model to us all.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear Margie ~ Letters She Enjoyed ....

April 8th, 2010
Dear Mom,

You are glowing, sparkling, engaging, exuberant, a beacon of love.
You taught us joy and love, and how to share those blessings with others. You modeled limitless curiosity, an inquisitiveness about all the world. How could we help but grow up sharing your delight in life? You have embraced us all our lives, and with your generous spirit you've embraced the loved ones we brought into our lives and yours: Mike, Linda, Donna, and the young delights of Ellie and Tyler.
Creativity and ingenuity, classiness and down-to-earth know-how. You built our home, and more than just figuratively: You wove the living room curtains on a floor loom, you hand-crafted our beautiful coffee table. You made beautiful ceramics, and built floor-to-ceiling bookcases to create a home where we felt warmed and inspired. So many books, so many parties, so many fascinating conversations! You even transformed our garage into a beautiful dining room, with walls covered by Indian print fabric. We remember Dad insisting, "Margie, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!" But you did it! You balked at nothing, and you always made - and still make - us know we are deeply loved.
When we think of our life as a family in the early years, we were regularly on the move. Tethered to California, we traveled far and wide. You gave us our consistency and stability whether in California, Ireland, Iraq, France, or anywhere in between. Your unwavering support and unconditional love was a vital base that quelled the uncertainties our mobile experiences.
We were a motley crew. You gave us the unity that made our travels and travails viable. We truly marvel at how fortunate we have been with you consistently radiating such an imaginative and positive outlook to cheer us on.
You would create, as if by magic, a Halloween costume, an incredible story, a remarkable toy. These were fashioned from the surroundings, an ice cream bin, a piece of newsprint discarded as read, and the imaginative continuing stories about three little chipmunks (named ‘Annie’, ‘Ceci’ and ‘Steve’) and their adventures. We would plead, "Tell us about the chipmunks!" Objects and stories improvised from your mind on the spot.
As we grew up, you became a friend and counsel, a champion of our accomplishments, and a singer of our praise. In our adult years, we came encountered another part of you, there all along: your resilience and your ability to grasp the present and bring the best to the fore. You have a way of weaving through life’s tapestry connecting the most unusual characters. We could pick you up at a train station, only to find you had a new dear friend, some guy who happened to sit next to you in the lobby. This was typical. Gracious with the regal, delighted with the simple, finding gems in life, people and settings everywhere.
Who would imagine such a remarkable friendship as Margret, a kindred spirit in serious walking, whom you introduced yourself to when you saw her out in the early morning moving at a pace that would keep you both going for many years? Who would think you would engage Eric at the farmers' market as you evaluated his orchids for their imperfections? Eric is now a friend, one you happen to visit with over orchids on Saturday mornings! Anywhere you arrive you become a refreshing center, shining your warmth and delight on all around you.
You bring groups together, effortlessly infusing the setting with your empathy, good spirits and whimsy. And your disarming laugh! The laugh that, as children, we used as a homing device when we lost you in a crowd. You are the model of what home means to us. A loving home.
You are our constant. Your voice and encouragement resonate in each of us as we share a love from you with others in our own journeys: With our friends, our loved ones, our students, your grandchildren and, like you ~ even chance encounters with people we may meet for just a day, or a single transaction at a store or a restaurant ~ always better for your example of how to treat others with sincere appreciation for humanity everywhere. That is the ‘Marjorie trademark.’
What a precious, precious gift it is to have you here with us now to hear these words, receive these thoughts, as we celebrate you as the exceptional, remarkable, beautiful, and generous woman we have the honor and blessing to call Mom.

You are our foundation. Our hearts are full of your love now and will be always.

We thank you, Mom.


A Letter of Love for Marjorie ~ Mom

~written in three interwoven voices

by Your Children,

Anabel, Cecilia, Stephen

Casa de Maria, Montecito
April 8th, 2010

Marjorie, dearest old buddy and Game Girl friend,

How we have kicked up our heels and enjoyed every minute of life. I loved the game days with all our friends, but especially the chance to talk with everyone. I’ll never forget that trip together to the Oakland/Bay area.

We don’t kick so high these days, but we do try our best.

With love and kisses,

June Behrens


After my mother, June, introduced us, I enjoyed getting to know you
by way of our Cinema Society movie trips. Through talking about film, your creativity and insight on life experiences have broadened my perspective.

I imagine it’s because you have always smiled at the opportunity to accept the risks in challenges, right along with opportunities. With the discovery of your cancer, you seemed to me to dare yourself toward recovery with a wonderful grace.

Most important, you care about your friends and family. When June was sick in the hospital, you were right there with flowers to visit and cheer her. Your support of Anabel and pride in her goals prove not just love, but an enthusiastic loyalty.
I feel enriched to call you a friend!
Terry Behrens

Dear Margie,

I wish I could be there with you to celebrate your wonderful life. Your travels and always positive way of facing new challenges unfortunately the situation is such that coming to California is not an option. Instead I am in New Zealand thinking how far it is from my
everyday life and how far away from it all I am, for just a few days.

Tomorrow my sisters arrive from far flung parts of the country followed by my youngest brother on Friday, very California as he’ll arrive in time for breakfast! We are here to celebrate just as you are doing, the life of my father. To create happy memories for the
future. I hope that this day does the same for you, happy days for you
to dream of and for others to cherish down the years.

I think of your sunny smile and warm heart, of the meals and the open hospitality in the Miradero house. Meals sitting outside in the warmth of friendship and shared company. These are happy times and I feel lucky that you shared them with me. Plus the visits with which I have been honoured since I moved to London. Thank you for your time and your
many kindnesses.

I hear from Anabel that you have finished your book. It will be fascinating to see the years of your work and your insights into life on the road with Joe and the children. Much laughter and tears I imagine as is the way with life.

Unfortunately when I fly back to the UK I only have a few hours in LA as I have to go back to school in London the next day. Unless BA do me a favour and get me to LA before they have a strike! Then I might be stuck there for a few days, not such a hardship for me and I will cross my fingers. If circumstances had been different I could have stopped to visit for a few hours. My thoughts and love are with you and shall fly up the 101 to sit quietly by and hold your hand, perhaps we shall share the same sunrise but from separate windows.

I cherish the time that we shared our lives and am thankful that you remained my friend across the oceans. These memories I will hold dear and try to be as generous with my loved ones and as selfless in my life as you have always been in yours, while not abandoning goals and facing challenges with optimism. I hope that this day goes as you wish and that you find comfort and peace.

All my love


Dear Aunt Margie,

Wish we could all be there for the celebration of your life and hear what are sure to be interesting, entertaining, and sentimental stories from family and friends. Because this week is spring break for our daughter, Mackenzie, we are off touring colleges in Oregon and northern California and are unable to be with you April 8th. But that won’t keep us from letting you know how you have touched our lives and hearts.

It was wonderful to see you recently on your visit with Steve to northern California. It meant so much to us that you stopped by for a visit. Despite what you have been through physically, you looked beautiful and elegant as always. It was such a treat to be with you, catch up a bit and hear about your book that we look forward to reading someday. As I mentioned then, it was uncanny to see the Henshaw family resemblance as I saw my Dad’s eyes in yours. You have always meant so much to him and Mom.

We are so grateful you have been part of our family. It seems like you’ve always brought a sense of adventure with you whatever you’ve done. Thank you for that inquisitive and caring approach to life that we all benefit from. And while our life paths have not crossed often in these later years it has been fun to keep in touch through common interest and excitement over the family tree. It certainly personifies the flow of life and how interconnected we all are.

We toast you, Aunt Margie, and the wonderfully full life that you’ve lived and shared. Thank you for being the generous, warm and loving woman you are.

With Love,

Jan, Bob and family

Aunt Margie

We all have aunts, if we’re lucky that is.
But who has an aunt that’s been in Show Biz?

Who has an aunt so stylish and jazzy?
With belts and bangles all razamatazy?

This Aunt Margie of mine, she’s next to none.
Her laugh tells all that the party’s begun.

Her heart is enormous, her thoughts are for all.
We’re remembered at Christmas with gifts that enthrall.

An ornament for sure, a bell, a little car.
My kids ripped open the package, Oooooo it’s a star!”

And the pencils she gave us year after year.
I treasure them, hoard them, to lose one I fear.

They say they’re Papermate, but that was before
They’re Aunt Margie pencils, now and evermore.

She’s an example to follow, I hope that I can.
Be just some of what she is, I’m such a fan.

So, to you my Aunt Margie, I lift up my glass.
You’re one of a kind, a woman of class.

You’re my favorite aunt and I love you to pieces
That’s my message to you from one of your nieces.

Have fun at your party, round all those that love you.
I’m sending a kiss and a great big hug too.

CYK, Ellie

Dear Margie,

Thanks for being you, your smile, your warmth and your laugh. I thank you for being part of our family, especially for the time you spent with my dad. I’ve enjoyed our visits with you, even if it was just a chance to meet up with you early mornings walking along the Santa Barbara beach. We are sorry we cannot be there to share these thoughts, a warm hug and kiss with you. We think of you every day, and wish you all the best in your new journey.

Love, Eliska and Brice

Dear Margie.

Over the last 15 years, I have only had the pleasure of your company, Margie, on few, rare occasions; however in my youth, you and my grandfather, Hap, were married and it is of this time that I have a couple of very important memories that I would like to share.

The first is your laugh. Not low or rumbling. Not polite and twittering. Your laugh is like a crack of lightening let loose across a room of people. It is an ear-piercing sound to be quite sure, but likely one of the most delightful ear-piercing sounds I have had the great pleasure of hearing. It`s a distinct, ``a-HA!`` that was always, to my memory, followed by the words, `Well, isn`t that wonderful?” I am grateful to you for sharing that laugh with me – either by blood or experience – as I now am a possessor of that very same laugh. My version does not ring out as often or with the same verve, but I am aware of its power when dining with friends, particularly due to the distinct lack of conversation at all of the tables around me as all the heads turn and search for the one who could produce such an expression of mirth. I remember watching those heads turn over meals with Grandpa Hap and Margie, and I relish in my own ability to do so now. Thank you Marjorie for that gift.

The second memory is less distinct but arguably more significant. My own grandmother passed away when I was only 5, and of her I have only ever heard the most amazing things. Marjorie stepped into my family as a companion to my Grandpa Hap – and in doing so she had tremendous shoes to fill. Grandpa Hap and Marjorie together survived a major earthquake and a firestorm which took their home and everything in it. Not long after the fire, Grandpa Hap began to succumb to the effects of cancer, after having given chemotherapy a chance – an effort which would leave him a changed man. Never before that time would I have dared describe my own grandfather as frail or weak, and yet that was who he was after his battle. Margie, you never left his side. You were there with him for every visit to the hospital, and for everything he wanted to get done in those last precious months. You were a source of genuine strength, comfort and happiness for my grandfather, and for that I will always be grateful.

Lastly, I am thankful to you Marjorie for giving me the chance to tell you these things, even if I cannot be there in person to say them. Know that I carry with me my happy memories of you, though I am quite sure no memory on earth has the capacity to hold all of the positive, meaningful and joyful memories that you have created for so many people throughout your life. I savour my memories, and I thank you for being the reason that I have them.

With love, Michelle Wilder

Marjorie's Honoring Ceremony/from David and Suzanne Huff

David and I were hoping to be able to be present for your Honoring Ceremony, but circumstances made that impossible. We do know, however, that Anabel's description and video will help give the feeling of being there.

Marjorie, you have been in my thoughts so much these past few weeks----re-connecting in January brought back many memories of interesting and fun times with "the Fords", and with nearly each one I needed you to help fill in some of the missing details. You and I were both so occupied with juggling family schedules, nurturing children, and playing "Little Susie Homemakers" that there was little time to express the important individual feelings and interests we had. The Marjorie I remember was composed and polite, academically curious and excellent at teaching/encouraging children to be the same, creative, just naturally quite beautiful, and always ready for enjoyment and laughter. We all had some special times together, and the pleasant memories of you and your family are all important to us and our family, and can never be forgotten.

The way you have handled such a very serious illness is to be commended!! Life does indeed flow along and all of us with it, but to handle it completely with beauty, brains, and a ready laugh intact is an inspiration to us could we ever forget-- Suzanne Huff

For Margie
A Note on the Concept of Flow of Life

My depth of understanding of metaphysics is very limited yet, the title of this memorium suggests that we are dealing with a very complex subject that focuses on the fundamental nature of reality. This approach, by necessity, is very theoretical. Given the complexity of this approach an alternative would be to seek the simplistic blue-print of organized religion. Where we have been and where we are likely to be going are laid out in an easily understood manner. This approach has its down side though because of the difficulties of verification. My solution would be to select activities that would please me the most and then hope that I have sufficient “pull” To get them approved. Marjorie, I want you to know that you would be on everyone of those lists. David Huff

Dear Marjorie -
I was not able to make it to your honoring ceremony; however, I have been thinking of you every day and especially thought of you that day. I hope you had an absolutely beautiful day with all the people there who admire you, love you, and hold the gifts you have given us all so gently in that special place in our heart reserved for beauty and love. That is how I have always seen you -- a being filled with beauty and love. And a special kindred spirit to me, too.
In many ways, you have been my artistic mom -- you and I share that special place that the arts bring to our life experience. I was in fact in a final dress rehearsal for our current production of the musical Narnia. This story of daring to believe in magical adventures, and stepping through the wardrobe to a mysterious and marvelous land of mythical creatures resonates a lot with me right now. You have been a living example of what it means to "step through the wardrobe". From all your days of putting yourself out there as an actress, to traveling the world with your family, to living your life with exuberance and a zest for new experiences, you have been inspirational to me and so many others.
I also want you to know how much of a kindred spirit I think you and my mom are, too. I know that I will always feel your loving and joyful heart-energy, and that you will be with us all from this side and the other side of the magical wardrobe!
I am coming to Santa Barbara next week. I hope to get to see you, if even for a moment.
Thank you for being Marjorie - the one and only. Thank you for bringing Ceci into this world; she is my bestest of the best, and she is a reflection of you. What a gift!

With much love,
Roseann Sheridan

Dear Margie

How I would have loved to be with you on this occasion. Even though it would not have been possible I do have another good reason insofaras the invite did not arrive until yesterday. (Problems with the postal address, which I will rewrite later).

I think this is a wonderful idea, one which did not cross our minds when Colin was having such a difficult time.

This then, my dear friend, is what I would like to say to you, and I know Colin is saying the very same things:

We have on our wall at home a photograph of you with the two of us which was taken by Joe in your home in Northridge where we first met back in the seventies. It was a very special occasion for us and one we never forgot. Colin knew of every film in which you had appeared whereas my knowledge in that regard was more limited. You treated us with such warmth we immediately felt relaxed and at ease and when it came time for us to leave it really did feel as though we had been in the company of an old friend. During the following years we kept in touch on birthdays and at Christmas and our final meeting took place in your home in Santa Barbara. That visit took place a long time ago as our last trip to the States was in 1994. It was always clear to us that you were a loving and caring beautiful person, and Santa Barbara proved again what we already knew. I recall that you took us for a drive around town during our stay.

Margie (we always called you Anabel) you were such a lifeline to me when Colin left us in December 2006, sending so many meaningful and caring messages to me over such a long period of time. I cherish them all for you are one of very few people who truly understood our relationship - you are so special and such a wonderful human being.
There is a lovely song Colin used to sing quite a lot and here are some of the words I send you now - "You are always in my heart, even though you're far away - -- and when skies above are grey , I remember that you care - and then and there the sun breaks thru". I hear his voice as these words appear.

I send you much love and pray that each day is a little better than the day before. God bless.


9 Mayflower Street
Geebung Queensland 4034
Gordon Leslie Hunter
Telephone: 0011 62 7 3265 2578

Margie, you are an inspiration to me. Your true joie de vivre, your innate kindness, your grace, your generosity of spirit inspire me and, I am sure, each of those who have the privilege of knowing you, to be a better person. You surely make me strive to be a better person.

You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I love you dearly.

Love, abrazos and besos,

Janice Gower

Hi Margie,

Sorry Tim and I can't make it to the honoring ceremony.

Here's a few thoughts:
My family and I really enjoyed our visits with Aunt Margie and Uncle Joe when we were kids, whether it was Northridge or Wrightwood or our house. I wasn't there for the famous pancake breakfast in Wrightwood, when oil, stored in a syrup jar ,was poured onto pancakes. The best times, for all cousins was of course, summers in Ben Lomond.

Aunt Margie has always been a bright light at family visits, and we'll miss her.

Love, Sarah McCarter

Dear Marjorie:

Danny and I remember meeting you for the first time in Santa Barbara at your apartment -- when we were there with Ceci for a summer Linguistics institute. Must have been about 2001. That was probably the best evening of that summer!

Santa Barbara was, of course, beautiful every day -- a kind of unbelievable, fairy tale weather world from a Midwesterner’s perspective -- and the evening we came to your house was balmy and soft. Ceci rocketed us over there in some little car she was borrowing and we arrived to a cozy welcome. You served bean burritos (Danny's favorite, so he was doubly in heaven!). As we talked, we felt your graciousness, poise and beauty filling the room, so we were not too surprised to discover that you had been a movie star. We ended up watching "Shock!" a few years later -- you're probably sick of talking about it -- but we thought you were great. Just needed more lines!

Over the years Ceci and I have kept up and she has always talked with great admiration and love about whatever you are up to. And I could always feel a pulse of recognition and connection in my heart because your artistic and open spirit had welcomed us so effortlessly that night in Santa Barbara . . . it seemed a simple, brief moment in all of our lives, but was actually a great gift to have and to share.

Danny and I wish you and your family and friends a smooth transition ahead.

Much Love,
Felicia Roberts & Danny Weiss
Felicia Roberts
Associate Professor
Department of Communication
2170 BRNG
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907
TEL: (765) 494-3323

Le Val d’Ajol, France
June 29th, 2078

Dear Marjorie,

Or shall I say : “Good mOOOOrning!”

My mother would definitely have said: “Bonjour, Duc!”

Anyway, Margie,

I am sitting here on my front porch and enjoying the last hours of my long and delightful life. Today, I have been celebrating my 105th birthday with the family and good friends; it was such a warm celebration. I had asked each of them to come and tell a story; we laughed so much, especially when one of them reminded me how I got embarrassed when I was trying to explain American friends that in France we have “ghost cheese”… in one second I was back in Belize and I could hear Vanessa saying: “Anne, I think you want to say “goat cheese”!

As the stories were over and all ready to take desert, the little Lucie came to me and asked: “Granny, what do you think you will be in your next life?” I could not resist telling her: “I will be a fairy, and I will be hiding behind trees, sand dunes and clouds! Whatever good or bad happens, I will be there to protect you all!” Lucie had this very enquiring face; very cute! And then she ran to her cousins and yelled: “Granny is going to be a fairy in her next life!”

Margie, you have been such a fairy for many people during their own life time. All of us who have met you have had such a happy soul because of your spontaneous smile, your sparkling eyes and your very positive spirit. You have been an example of courage, energy and good luck. Also today, I thought of you when the little Lucie came to me and suddenly I could hear you voice saying: “hahahaha! How wonderful is this little girl!” … So I thought: “it is the time for me to pass on this energy!”

In a few hours I will be meeting you up there… I can’t wait… we will have plenty of those “Good MooOOOOrning!!” moments as we had back at the time :)

Cheers Margie,

Anne Girardin

Margie: You are a dear and precious friend, with grace and
dignity. I will always cherish the happy memories
we shared.

With love and admiration.

Cleo Fisher

For the family:
Thank you and all your family for your generosity. At a moment when time is most precious, you chose to bring so many people together to give us the chance to share Margie, celebrate her, and acknowledge her many gifts.

Thank you for what I can only call an act of sweetness and bravery, to hold a wonderful party and 'rave' against the dying of the light - raving at the marvelous accomplishments and talents of your mom, and bravely - eyes wide open- honor her and remind all of us how to face the end of life's journey. How fortunate that she published a memoir for all of us to read and reread in the years to come - and to wit, come up with a helluva marvelous title; "Quintet in Asia Minor"!

And beauty - its why we make art, why we sing our clumsy little song, dance our clumsy little dance - to keep beauty alive, the true antidote to stupidity and injustice. Your mother in her ever-elegant, stylish way, is a role model for all of us women - and men! - I will never think about her without recalling beauty, grace, bravery and genuine humor. What a lucky woman you are, Anabel, to have Margie as your mom. And how lucky Macduff and I are that we know her, you and

Mary Heebner

Dear Margie -- every since Anabel first introduced us, under the shade
of the fine grove of oaks around your apartment, I have treasured the
thought of your vibrant presence. I was charmed by your beauty and your
serenity, which I knew was hard won from a challenging life, and also by
your sharp wit. I still admire all those wonderful gifts that you give
us, and I am especially grateful for the gift of Anabel, who means so
much to me, and to whom you mean so very, very much. Love from both me
and Sandy, far away in Europe -- Francesca.
Francesca Bray
Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh
School of Social and Political Science
CMB, 15A George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LD, UK

April 18, 2010
Dear, Anabel, Ceci and Steve,
Although I have met each of you at various times, it is your mother who stays firmly planted in my mind. Her relationship to my mother covered many years from university wives to being ardently supported by my mother in her divorce. When she moved to the Bay Area, I saw her primarily when my mother came up for a visit. I recall having dinner with her and Mr. Scopecek at their home before it burned in the East Bay fire. After the fire, I was able to give Margie some furniture and other household items for their apartment in Alameda. But the item Margie liked the best was a rabbit coat that I bought in the 70’s. She accepted it with glee and the next time I saw it, she was wearing it in a play! She enjoyed acting in the Hillside Club plays and I attended at least one of her performance there and met some of her friends.

On Margie’s occasional trips up north to visit her cousin Ellie for a CAL game, she would make a point to call me. During the last trip I recall that Mary Ellen and I had lunch with her and Ellie at Garibaldi’s Restaurant on College Avenue. Mary Ellen worried all of us including your mom.

When my mother moved to Santa Barbara, Margie already lived there. We had a very frank discussion about whether my mother would become dependent on Margie. Well Margie wasn’t about to let that happen, she assured me. They went lots of places together and thoroughly enjoyed each other. I loved her condo on Miradero where I stayed several times when I came to town. Her tables were covered with photos and walls covered with pictures of her travels. There was a story associated with each item, if I only had the time to stop and listen. The kitchen cupboards always made me laugh, because they seemed to belong to a pack rat who saved even the smallest morsel, wrapped in plastic and a rubber band. It looked like her favorite store was Trader Joes. As I recall, we never had a proper meal there, as we almost always went out to dinner with my mother.

She was a great friend to my mother. She could laugh at some of my mother’s absurd comments or prejudices and just ignore her if she wanted. I was surprised to find that Margie had moved to Vista, given all my mother’s negative comments about the management. But the placed was beautiful and probably felt familiar to her.
What a gracious, fun loving and supportive woman your mother was. She will certainly be missed by me!

Helen Marie Marcus

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Marjorie died at 12:04 AM, April 16th

Calm, comfortable, and with a little smile surrounded by loved ones, Margie left on her next adventure... we are going miss her.

Love to all.

A photo of Marjorie on April 8th at her celebration

(please see other comments by friends, with this same picture, posted below on April 16th.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Anabel Shaw Fan Club

After her lifetime performance as Marjorie Henshaw, Anabel Shaw provided one last appearance to many of her closest fans and friends on April 8, 2010, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

With her one-of-a-kind style and grace, she delivered love and her good company to everyone whom she was able to greet, hug, smile and share words with in special moments that turned out to be just prior to her approaching departure and final bow on April 16, 2010.

Remarkably, she was able to combine multiple and overlapping roles within her main title appearance as Marjorie Henshaw. From blossoming young actress to magazine cover model appearing on such notable publications as Life magazine and This Week, to a consummate and accomplished mother of three adoring children, to world traveler and eventually travel author with the completion of her memoirs in the just-published "Quintet in Asia Minor," even to her closing moments she reflected the singular dignity, class, love and appreciation for every scene that she shared with all of us in her worldwide fan club.

Fortunately for all of us, her granddaughter Ellie has reminded us at the Anabel Shaw Fan Club headquarters that we can all view fun biographical information and even some of her fun movie clips by clicking over to the "Famous People" website (you can copy and paste this website address into your browser):

From all of us at the Anabel Shaw Fan Club, thank you all for your good taste in recognizing and appreciating one of the greatest talents and loveliest ladies to grace the stage of this planet.

We are better for how she has touched us all and will continue to shine through each of us with her radiant and unique spirit and character.

Margie's last week

Calm, comfortable, and with a little smile surrounded by loved ones, Margie left on her next adventure... we are going miss her.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Honoring the Flow of a Wonderful Life

We had an amazing celebration of life on Thursday with a lunch at the beautiful La Casa de Maria in Montecito. Margie gave her children each an assignment: Ceci had a compiled love letter from the 3 of us, Anabel gave a story of her life so far, and Steve had the photo retrospective ... we had time to have people give their views and feelings. Some wrote something to give Margie. These we read to her on Friday and Saturday and have pasted them into a guest book. Margie gave everyone her book A Quintet in Asia Minor, finished last year, and printed last month.

The day was fabulous. Some 90 plus of all her near and dear friends and family were there. Her walker friends, her girl friends of the symphony, her young associates from all her enterprises, her children’s friends from life with her, friends from Wrightwood. Her sister and cousins of her generation were there too -- wonderful. The presentations in the sanctuary were poignant, the symbol of the rose gratifying, and Margie’s force and presence appreciated by all.

At lunch, more sharing of Margie impressions along with music and a Ukulele Serenade of “Margie” by John and Robert of Grupo Chucumite that evoked the 1920s. Steve’s photo retrospective played in the lounge and after lunch there for dessert Margie held court. Exhausted but happy, she left for her home at Vista del Monte.

Margie’s celebration of the flow of life was quite a day and since she every day is changed. We have been overwhelmed by the dimensions of our lives with Margie and know you all are nurturing your memories of her too.

(forgive the bad video artist -- a better video is in the mix, but this is what we have right now):

Mom/Margie is getting weaker quickly. She is staying in bed.

Hospice has a lovely CNA who will come now everyday to bathe mom.

Anabel, I, or a Home Instead helper change mom's absorbent briefs in bed and keep her clean. She still smiles and talks, sometimes only weakly. . She has some trouble swallowing water, but she can take pills with a little pudding. This morning, she ate some oatmeal, a bit of a roll, two tiny cups of rice milk with "Pero" (coffee substitute) and some prunes with apple sauce.

Last night Anabel slept next to mom. Mom was up a couple of times. One time the Home Instead helper (Jenn) came in and helped Anabel. Anabel was pretty tired this morning, but she took care of mom and then went off to campus.

The hospice nurse and social worker were here early. Brenda, the social worker, talked comfortingly to Anabel as she struggles with exhaustion (so many years of being the first call for caregiving of both mom and dad). Anabel is also sad that she will be away from mom in the field soon. Anabel is still deciding, but Mom really wants Anabel to do her work.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Marjorie in hospice care

Marjorie chose to start hospice care two weeks ago. She is getting wonderful care from Annette (RN case manager), Brenda (social worker), Mario (spiritual counselor) and Nadia (many talents, currently foot reflexology).

Marjorie needs lots of rest. Though she cannot resist answering the phone, we have disconnected it a couple of evenings so that she can rest, sleep, and only wake up when she feels moved on her own.

Ceci and partner (also hospice RN) are with Marjorie right now.

Steve was here last weekend.

Anabel continues to be the anchor and main organizer of everything.... unbelievable.

Marjorie is mostly comfortable. She has had a couple of pain crises, but Donna is able to help calm her and make sure that the right medications get in her system.

Marjorie has told stories of her life to Life Chronicles' lovely and brilliant founder, Kate. Check out their amazing service at

Monday, March 15, 2010

Margie: Happy to be alive

Our beloved Margie.
Doing well, all things considered.
Asked on a scale of 1-10 whether she's happy to be alive, she says she's very happy to be alive as long as there are people she loves around her and in her heart.

(Anabel notes, " That is not on a scale of 1-10", I say, "It's a perfect response!" cc)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Marjorie Going Chemo-Free.

Margie's participation in an experimental drug trial has not succeeded in stopping her cancer cells from growing. Now there are more in her liver. She has gone about two weeks without further chemo of any kind. The down side involved several days in Cottage Hospital because of side effects from the last chemo: dehydration, low sodium, anemia. Her daughter, Anabel, was by her side and a huge advocate.

Now Margie is home, resting but also getting out to enjoy new friends at Vista del Monte, including long conversations over breakfast. She plans to have dinner with a group of dear friends and concert-going gals on Tuesday, though she probably won't go to the concert after dinner. Her son, Steve, visited Friday evening and all day Saturday, and Margie got good time with him, his wife, Linda and dear grand children, Ellie and Tyler. She also had the pleasure of seeing Linda's parents again, as they were in California for family visits.

Ceci, Margie's Wisconsin daughter, arrived at 11 PM on Saturday and will stay at least a week, returning again on March 26th with her partner, Donna.

Marjorie has met with a social worker and a nurse from hospice, and she finds them warm, supportive, and informative. She trusts them and she trusts her own choice to concentrate on comfort and joy rather than further rough cancer treatments. Her children are all supportive of her choice as well.

As she regains strength and finds a new (though still changing) "normal", without the toxic drugs going into her body, she will continue to rest but also to reach out to her dear friends for contact, conversation and loving distraction.

Keep her in the light of your hearts as she lives this mysterious journey. We all want peace and joy for her more than anything.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Margie update Feb. 22, 2010

Dear friends and family of Marjorie Henshaw:

As you all know, Margie is in the midst of a drug trial. In a few weeks, the doctor will be able to measure whether the experimental treatment has affected the spread of her cancer. In the meantime, Margie finds her energy and her pain levels are not predictable. The treatments are taking a toll. Much as she would like to make social plans, she expressed (to me=Ceci) that it is hard to tell if she will have the spirit to really do what she says, "yes" to.

She told me that she does not want to plan very far ahead, and she does not want to commit to any car trips. Of course, driving around Santa Barbara is no problem, but she feels that longer day trips have taken too much out of her in the past weeks. She likes having friends and family join her for lunch or dinner either at Vista del Monte or going out, but being a hostess feels hard. Even with family, she prefers not to have more than a couple of us staying at one time.

Our loving Margie Henshaw has trouble saying, "No" to invitations or visits from friends and loved ones, so do be aware that she may be working to be her energetic and loving self (whom most of us know her as!). May I ask that, when you invite her out or suggest a visit, you please help her take a moment to think about what she wants to do. I find it effective to ask her to take a breath and check in with her body and her energy before she decides. I tell her it's okay, completely okay, if she would rather rest or not make a date. If we do this, we are more likely to get an honest answer, and one that is truly best for her.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 10th - Hi from Margie

Ceci and Margie are together for just a few days.

Margie says, "I don't approve of children (e.g., Ceci) who come and visit and leave! They should stick around forever!"

Ceci says, "sorry. any time with my mommy is precious!"

Jane Freund knitted two beautiful mufflers and brought them by while Ceci was in town. Wow!
When we called to thank her, Ron told us she was already in bed. Margie feels she should be in bed early like Jane to get up and start the day much earlier. Meanwhile, Ceci and Margie planned to make it to a documentary that Tonia and the rest of the East Beach Walkers were going to yesterday, but we arrived too late to get in. Nevertheless, we were so happy to see Tom, Bill, Bob and Tonia and get lots of hugs! Missing you all. Hope the movie was a blast.

Margie especially loved hearing messages from Betty Henshaw, and she was delighted to be here and actually pick up the phone for a call all the way from Australia from her very beloved friends Fred and Cheryl!

Mike was over last night to practice penny whistle with Ceci. Both are amateurs but love it. The three of us had dinner out at the Empress Palace, good Chinese and right nearby.

Margie is getting worn out by all the treatments and maybe by the cancer itself, but she is always in good spirits. She enjoys visits with her kids and grandkids. She had an eventful road trip with Steve up to Mendocino a couple of weeks back, right through torrential rains. Included were visits with friends (Lois Roberts) and family (Ellie Edmund) along the way.

Just a couple of weeks before that, Margie loved seeing far flung friends and family at a combination Joe Ford memorial and Ford family reunion at Heritage Square in LA.

Ceci plans to be back again in Santa Barbara in a few weeks and again at her semester break (March 27-April something or other). Donna will be with her then too, which means fun and also having a personal RN for Margie.

Steve and Margie are still putting the finishing touches on Margie's travel memoir. Margie's helper for driving, household stuff, shopping etc, Micheline, is also reading the manuscript aloud with Margie to look for final typos. It turns out that Micheline also lived in the Middle East! What we learn when we share time and tales with one another.

Well, we (Ceci and Margie) need to take a walk just to get air and circulation. I (Ceci) will try to post more often.

Margie loves getting your calls, even if she doesn't always get back to you with a call.

Cheers from sunny Santa Barbara (not so sunny the past few days, but very bright today)!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 2010 Update

Marjorie is fighting the cancer with all her spirit, and feeling joy after a long visit from Steve, Linda, Ellie and Tyler, followed by Ceci and culminating with a Ford family celebration honoring the lineage and Joe Ford. On January 9th many many friends and huge numbers of family members came together at Heritage Square in LA, where the home of Joe's grandfather is preserved Anabel had organized this fantastic celebration and the day was glorious, with so many wild and crazy stories of brilliance, love and ... well just the unique nature of Joe Ford and his family.

Margie has had success with a second chemo in the past few months, thanks to Steve's following a lead to get mom's tumor cells tested at an experimental lab in Long Beach. Unfortunately, the type of cancer she has morphs like a bacteria and becomes resistant to chemos that at first do work. So the cancer is spreading once again.

Margie is considering going into a drug trial that her oncologist is in favor of, an experimental treatment aimed particularly at "triple negative breast cancer" (Google that and find out more) in metastasis. At the same time, she is having more cells tested at the lab in Long Beach (Rational Therapeutics-- check it on Google too!).

Margie is strong and beautiful. She had her first haircut since the chemo hair loss (last February) on Friday the 8th, just before the Ford gathering. Really, she is radiant and being with all th
ose loving people was such a boost.

I (Ceci) have been here a week and leave tomorrow. Anabel and our cousin Kathy (Texas gal) will be tending to Margie tomorrow as she gets biopsies and discusses the drug trial. Anabel will again be on duty for a number of other doctoring events this week for Margie, but in addition, Anabel has to have a skin cancer procedure herself on Friday (please have her in your hearts).

There were lots of cameras and videos running during the Ford reunion, so watch this site for clips!

Steve has also shared some photos from a trip he gave Margie to visit her older sister near San Diego:

Hang tight for updates and photos with Margie's stylish sassy new haircut!

Love to all.