The first recollection I have of Betty Willauer dates back to the main pier on Hurricane Island in June of 1976. The motor vessel Hurricane had just arrived. A striking woman with milkmaid braids and a smile that would melt ice handed me a crate of live chickens. She took a long look at me and said, "well now, you must be Moran, Iíve heard about you...." Sure what she had heard, and fully disarmed at this point, I dutifully delivered the chickens to their summer residence behind the POW cabin. That was the beginning of what would become a long and precious friendship with Betty Willauer.
Betty Willauer was a devoted wife, adoring mother, and loyal friend. She also played a role as surrogate mother and professor in life to a rambling brood of twenty something Outward Bound staff back in the 60ís and 70ís. She was for so many of us younger than our own parents were, but older than we were. She was our mentor. She represented all the things we had not. She had wisdom, judgement, skill, stability, nurturing, and lots of common sense. She helped to create the love within the Hurricane Island community. This love Betty lived was as strong as the granite on which the community was built.
There are so many visions that fill my head when thinking about how to honor and celebrate Betty's life, it is difficult just to pick a few.
Betty lived SIMPLY. She saw great beauty in simplicity. Betty reveled in the first harvest of the Swiss chard, fresh eggs from her chickens, homemade whole-wheat French bread, and every aspect of life at the Pint Basin Farm.
Betty gave us permission to be elegant. Be it the tiny cockpit of the Josephine, and the bigger cockpit of Eight Bells, or a quiet weekday night at the farm, Betty always disappeared before dinner. She emerged moments later with dangly earrings, a bit of lipstick, and a sweet romantic fragrance all around her creating the aura of a special event. Betty was a passionate woman, and her passion was contagious.
If you asked Betty her opinion, you could count on an honest answer, whether you were ready or not. She always did it in a loving way, and she stayed around afterward to pick up the pieces just in case it wasnít something you were expecting. This directness was one of Bettyís greatest gifts.
She came from a traditional place in life, she went on to lead us in exploring new ways in all matters of living. She came to us with her infamous "Fatty Rubbish", and left us with a legacy of health food, organic gardening, and a love of yoga. She did become our earth mother.
This is a selection from Proverbs that truly describes the life of Betty Willauer.
When one finds a valiant woman, her value is far beyond pearls.
Her husband entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize.
She brings him good all the days of her life.
She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arm to the needy. She fears not the snow for her household, all her children are clothed in scarlet. She's clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, on her tongue is kindly counsel.
She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness. Her children rise up and praise her: her husband too, extols her: Many are the women of proven work, but you have excelled them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty fleeting: The woman who loves the Lord, is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.
Proverbs (9:10-12; 20-21; 25,26,27,29,30,31.)
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