Her Life

Liz's Wish

O God. Oh Spirit of the Universe, "how great thou art." You have given me "Life in abundance." Each person I have met individually has given me gifts. Bless each of you. I hope you will rejoice with me for this great "life in my time". Thank you friends, students, all my family, and dearest Keith.

Liz's Last Memoir,

When I look back over my life, I am reminded of what Chaucer's Good Wyf of Bath said, "I've had my life in my time." And so indeed have I. It has been a rich, full life: a gift from so many to me...

Of course, first has been the gift of love from my dearest husband Keith (Mose), seventy years of love. Yes, like so many others we differed, argued, struggled together with World War II's Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, even before we knew the name. We just used love together. William Penn so wisely said, "Let us see what love can do.", and we did. So much love we shared- joy, laughter, peace at times-always deep love he had for me and I gave him. 

Then there was family- early on my mother Helen (Oliver) Underwood, who taught me to enjoy music, literature, scholarship, and orderly living. My father Orison Underwood, instilled in me a love of nature, a comfortable sense of independence and freedom, but most of all a deep spirituality, a strong sense of integrity. Thanks to him I was a Quaker long before I ever heard of Quakerism. And then there was my sister Margaret (Peg) Schwerin, growing up together, she who so often led me, a support, the leader for the two of us, and so much fun. In time we were both married, shared our families. I still love her children Fred, Katie, Sarah, Mark, Jo, and Kurt as I do my own. For Mose and me, there was Michael and Malcolm, such precocious, brilliant twins gifted in music, in teaching, in literature and world affairs. Then came Beth, my strong, loving daughter from the time she was little, a support for everyone. Then Debby, who is very thoughtful and funny, also a gifted teacher. All four at times drove us crazy as they grew up and changed, yet they cared for us despite struggles, and all were my caregivers in my old age...

With those four growing up came their marriages to Ji Won Mosley (Mac), John Duffy (Debby), Lance Hogan (Beth), taking us into new worlds and cultures. Then there are fifteen grandchildren Anne, Claire, Marie, Teresa, Ken, David, Daniel, Elisa, Anna, Ian, Moira, Sarah, Amanda, and Mara. Marriages and different relationships have opened us to new cultures and brought many wonderful great-grandchildren. It has been an incredible family to love, each one. I remember one of my great grand-children saying to me as we were picking flowers, "You know, Great-Grandma, when you die just as Great-Grandpa died, I will come and take care of your garden." Yes, this is a superb family of mine, each and all tending their gardens in their own ways- our family heritage of love and caring.

Liz's Last Memoir cont,

Yet in my lifetime, beyond this wonderous family, has been another love, my career: so many years of teaching, writing and literature. Twenty-five years teaching in colleges, and slightly more at Abington Friends School. In part this joy was a gift from my husband who understood how much I loved scholarship and working with students to discover their own gifts, their own special lights. He helped make the time possible and lived with all the intrusions of students into our private life. How many of my students taught me as I was listening to and guiding them! How many teachers guided me with their wisdom. My love of teaching is a book in itself. 

And finally, teaching at Abington Friends led me to Quakerism. There first with students, later with the Meeting itself, I learned the value of silence, came to live the concept of Continuing Revelation as I learned about Quaker values that already had spoken to me. My teaching experiences of finding the Light within each student led to the Quaker basic concept: there "that of God", the Light, the Seed within each of us. As new members so often say, becoming a part of the meeting felt like coming home where I belong among so many dear friends, many of whom now I join in the cemetery beside my husband. How many years we used to walk there on quiet mornings, looking at the graves of friends. Here I too will rest.