Meet Marilyn Mason

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Meet Marilyn Mason

Post by admin » Fri Nov 11, 2005 10:01 pm

November 11, 2005 - Vol 1 #1

Meet Marilyn Mason

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Who is Marilyn Mason?

A 62-year old woman who was married to David Mason in 1962; widowed in 1973; mother to Mary Ellen in 1963, David Jr. in 1964, and Gerard in 1966; and grandmother to 7 [Daniel, 18; Sarah, 16; David, 14; Courtney, 13; Rebekah, 12; Nikolas, 10; Samantha, 9].


Where did you grow up for the most part? Where do you live now for the most part?

Small towns in Massachusetts. Boston, MA.


How do your youth experiences relate to your life as an adult?

As a kid, I loved to read [especially historical novels and mysteries] and learn; often dreamed of visiting some of the places in the world that I had read about; enjoyed learning about other cultures and languages; loved to play softball, never missed listening to Boston Red Sox games on my radio; preferred discussing politics with the guys to exchanging recipes with the girls; kept a diary; collected stamps; felt comfortable giving oral reports and speeches at school; had a deep interest in spiritual things.

As an adult, I have maintained the same interests, polished the skills, and attained most of my wishes and dreams. However, what I barely gave a thought to as a kid – domestic and parenting responsibilities – became the central context in adulthood from which I have tackled all my other interests. Once I married and had children, I moved beyond being “me-centered” to being “family-centered” and adapted my interests and activities to fit into that base of reality.


Are you the person that you wanted to be as you grew up?

Yes. I wanted to be honest, ethical, and caring and I wanted that whatever I did would serve a greater good. I could never have pictured ahead-of-time the details and events or the specifics of the accomplishments, but as a person I have met the challenges and come out the other end with the characteristics I most admired in those I chose to be my mentors.


How did your physical and social environment impact your personal development? Are they conducive today to your own sense of fulfillment?

It was because I was raised in an isolated, small nuclear family that always lived in small towns and barely mixed with people outside the home that I wanted to live differently when I would finally get to choose such things for myself. And it was because of family disciplines which seldom allowed for outside activities that I so focussed on indoor activities such as reading, writing, coloring, drawing, stamp collecting, etc. Therefore, skills with the written word, artistic presentations of ideas, organization of details, etc. were more highly developed within me than if I had had the chance to ride a bike all over the neighborhood or play softball whenever I felt like it. This isolation, however, did develop a personal shyness in me which has carried through to adulthood. Professionally, I can address a crowd of thousands. But personally and socially, I am still quite awkward. Recognizing how much my home environment had negatively affected my socialization right on into adulthood, I was sure to present a balance of choices of activities for my 3 kids. As a result, they are much more highly socialized than I, although they all are equally skilled at reading, writing, drawing, coloring, etc. And, I'm very pleased with the end product.


Tell us about your activities in general and your special interests.

At this stage of my life, now that I have so much difficulty walking and standing, I'm pretty much house-bound and my activities are therefore quite limited. Fortunately, in that so many of my interests and skills are related to the written word, in this Computer and Internet Age I get to impact and influence the world way beyond my Boston apartment. It's as if I finally get to ride my bike all over my global neighborhood. As a Creole specialist, as a language technologies specialist, as a lover of languages, as a Haitiphile I can still share ideas with colleagues and friends and I can continue to grow as a person. As a person interested in global politics, religion, sociology, history, etc., Internet Forums [such as Ann Pale!] and newspapers from around the globe are right at my fingertips. There was a time back when I was a kid when I wished I had been born during the pioneer days of America. Thank God that's one wish of mine that did not come true! As a disabled person, I'd be stuck in a cabin off in the woods somewhere, cut off from most of humanity. For me, that would be tough.


What is your perception of the community or communities in which you are currently engaged - or - that you wish to belong to, on a long term basis?

My community – aside from family and my immediate neighborhood -- these days is more virtual than physical. Even so, I consider the Ann Pale virtual community to be as real to me as any physical community to which I have ever belonged. The same with the Creolist virtual community. The progressive-liberal political virtual community. Etc.


What would you consider the biggest challenge to the development or betterment of your community/communities?

Last year, when I suffered from carpal tunnel in addition to my walking and standing difficulties, I faced such a challenge. For months, I was cut off from virtual Internet communities. I had to keep my fingers, hands and wrists immobile. Fortunately, the discipline worked and I can now – with moderation – let my fingers do the walking on my computer keyboard. For those in under-developed countries, however, lack of access to electricity, computers, Internet connections, etc. keep so many millions of people from ever experiencing such a privilege of connectivity to belonging and learning and sharing. Their voices are missing in our virtual communities. We must support the initiatives which will give voice to the voiceless.


What are your persistent hopes and most frequent fears?

I continue to work toward, as well as hope for, a more fair and just world. My biggest fear is that this will never happen.


What is your most cherished dream?

Peace.


Now suppose, just suppose, that we grant you ten million dollars for doing this interview, with the stipulation that you must spend it in 24 hours or less, what would you do?

Pay off my kids' mortgages and debts and leave them with good-sized balances in their savings accounts so that they can get their kids through college and meet future extra-ordinary expenses like weddings, illness, etc.; capitalize and revive MIT2; help fund Windows on Haiti.


Now suppose, just suppose, that you knew for certain that you had one week (7 days) to live, how would you spend your time?

I'd gather together my family and my closest friends and colleagues and host them at my favorite restaurant in Boston for a feast and time of sharing. Then, my family and I would all head up to Montreal to spend the rest of my time in my daughter's large home.


Is there a world leader (past or present) in any field (arts, science, rights, political, spiritual, etc) that you most admire?

John F. Kennedy, President of the United States. When he was only a Senator, he visited my high school. He spoke on the subject: Our Massachusetts Heritage. I was spellbound. That was probably typical for a teenager. But what was less typical, I was inspired. To lead. To sacrifice. To be inclusive. To open doors to minorities. To care for the poor in our midst. To make a difference. And it has lasted a lifetime. I felt like I knew him once he went on to be President. Warts and all, he was a great President. The values he espoused for our nation far outclassed the values our current President just talks about. After our current President gets done destroying this country, we're going to need another JFK to pick up the pieces.


Leave us a parting word.

Thanks, Guy, for dreaming up this project. You made me think along lines I haven't thought about in decades. It's a privilege to share these answers with my Ann Pale family.

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Post by admin » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:58 pm

Marilyn, it's very refreshing to read about the personal side of you, and you are uncommonly open about it. I think that on this forum, we have learned so much from you. In almost every conceivable subject, you were always ready to do the research. Ann Pale is a testament to your skills and devotion to the Haitian people and their interests.

One of those interests that you took particularly to heart is "Kreyòl" or Haitian, our national language. You have created tools to bridge the differences between our various orthographies and accelerate the acceptance of a uniform way for all Haitians to write that language. You have invested all of your personal resources, financial and emotional, in a venture to promote the use of your tools to standardize written Creole. You have failed, commercially speaking, yet you have kept your head high, knowing that you have given it all you've got and it was for a good cause. Now, if you do look back and I don't know if you do, what do you think you would have done differently? And looking forward, do you believe that the day will come when Haitians in Haiti will grant Haitian/Kreyòl/Haitian Creole (HC) equal or preferred status in government, education, business, and other social interactions where Kreyòl is customarily relegated to second place or intentionally devalued?

I want to close by telling you that it has been a real honor and pleasure for me to associate with you over the past several years. On behalf of your Ann Pale family, I say: Thank you, Marilyn, you have been a real trooper.

Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Fri Jan 06, 2006 3:45 am

Marilyn, where are you?
Happy New Year! I haven't heard from you. At least, let someone tell us that you are watching and WELL...
Leonel

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Post by admin » Fri Jan 06, 2006 6:27 am

Leonel, I called Marilyn at the turn of the new year. She is watching and she is well enough and trying to keep it that way. I am sure that she will be happy to learn of your concerns.

Guy

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