Because I am grieving the loss

This was received by Charter supporter, Diana Peters. Diana wrote this piece after see saw Gayle King being interviewed on the Charlie Rose Show.  Since the conversation between King and Rose was on Maya Angelou, Diana decided to address this writing to Gayle King. The picture of Maya Angelou is not by Diana.

Because I am grieving the loss of Maya Angelou and have no one to share the passing of a wonderful part of my life, I send it to you and hope you will read it.

I met Maya Angelou in 1976 when an author friend of mine from Evanston, Illinois was coming out to California to interview her for a book he was working on.  He was to be staying with my husband and I in Mill Valley.  “You will need a driver to take you up to Boyse  Hotsprings” where Maya was then living.

I was working in black and white then.  We spent a very wonderful two hours with her and when I returned home I went straight to my darkroom to see if I had captured this strong woman in a way that would portray her justly. Yesss, I did it!  Mailed it off to her in a couple of days whereupon receipt of the photo she called me on the phone, “ I want you to do all of my photos from now on.”

I returned to her country hiding place at her invitation 2 more times to take many more photos, color and black & white, one of which has hung on my walls ever since. 

On one of those visits she made us lunch of a delicious omelet. She also proceeded to squeeze the juice from pink grapefruit, pored it into large balloon wine glasses with a shot of vodka. Also delicious

Shortly  her next book, Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well was published, but without my photo.  Her request was not to be. However, I received a greater gift from her. I went to her book signing where when I came up to the table she got up and gave me a big hug and wrote in the front of the book, in her beautiful handwriting         

Diana Peters

I am grateful that its 

Possible to see myself

 Through your images.

Joy!

Maya Angelou

Feb.’76

Also, on one of those photo shoots I met her son and later was privileged to photograph her mother.

Today as I watched you on Charlie Rose you mentioned what a stickler she was about how people were addressed.  In 1970 (or so) my husband and 15 (or so) son, Mark, were on a plane going to Switzerland and met Maya Angelou  who corrected Mark when he addressed her as Maya, “ No, no, you are to call me Mrs. Angelou.”

And six years later when I told her of this meeting not only did she remember the incident but she remembered, “his name was Mark.” 

Two or three years ago Maya Angelou was speaking at the Paramount in Seattle which a friend of mine and I attended.  I did so want to speak to her once more and I had the ushers tell me where I might be able to do that.  Going to where they said, I ended up on the sidewalk near the stage entrance where she was being delivered in a wheel chair to her limousine.  She spotted me, 38 years since we had last seen each other, and beckoned to me to come to her.  We exchanged a few words....she asked,  “do you live up here now? And do you like it?” and little else.  But I was so happy that she remembered.

Having known her is a highlight of my life.  She is two years younger than me.  And I shall miss her being no longer in this world but she is in my heart.