Kill My Darlings

This is the view from my parents' back yard. Sometimes it was hard to focus on editing.
This is the view from my parents’ back yard. Sometimes it was hard to focus on editing.

Today I sent my editor the latest rewrite of my story collection Siblings. This round was a strenuous three-week process, part of which I was thankfully able to focus on while visiting home (I turned my vacation into a working vacation and made good use of being back in the PNW to work on my PNW stories).

My dear friend and sometimes editor, Joaquin, came through with the clutch and gave me valuable notes on the last story I was editing, “No Horse in This Race.” This story is the newest one to be added to the collection and still needed a bit of an overhaul, the specifics of which I’m thankful Joaquin helped me to pinpoint. The story addresses family (duh, the whole collection does), death, and legacy. I wanted to use obituaries throughout the story to illustrate these themes. As much fun as I had writing obituaries (that’s likely the most macabre thing I’ll write today), they didn’t quite work with the pacing of the story. If I were to really focus on them and make them more important, I would have to develop a side plot that would make the story longer and take away from the main story. Really, the obituaries belong somewhere else.

The obits were hard darlings for me to kill, but it was necessary. Part of editing is knowing when to let go. Until I find a more permanent home for them, I’m pasting them below. I guess it’s appropriate that the portion of the story I had to kill were the obits. Death is everywhere (okay, that’s the most macabre thing I’ll write today).

Enumclaw resident Esther Donaldson, 88, died Nov. 9, 2004. She was born Aug. 23, 1926, in Santa Monica, Calif., the third daughter born to Wilson and Darcy Donaldson. She moved to Enumclaw in 1955 and purchased a dairy farm on the outskirts of town, alone. She was a member of the Washington Association of Women in Dairy as well as Farm Friends. Upon her retirement and sale of her farm, she served as the treasurer for the Washington State Beef Commission.

She is remembered as a hard worker with a boisterous laugh. Though she never married, she had many friends through her work, her volunteering, and her active participation in the rodeo circuit, where she was known for her skills roping cattle.

She is survived by her parents Wilson and Darcy of Boise, Idaho. She is also survived by her good friend Ginny Fricke, also of Enumclaw, and her two Great Danes, Ginger and T-Bone.

Darlene Brown died peacefully Feb. 15, 2010. She was one of six children born to Thomas and Victoria Mayer. She grew up in Yakima and graduated from Yakima High School in 1957. She married Ed Brown on Oct. 11, 1959, and they raised four children; Judy, Henry, Elizabeth, and Allison.

After her children were born, she went back to school and graduated from Green River Community College with a business degree. She started her banking career in Tacoma and later transferred to Bank of America in Enumclaw. Upon her retirement from the bank, she was an active Mary Kay consultant from 2003 to 2007. She was a top seller in Western Washington, known around town for driving her pink Mary Kay Cadillac in the annual holiday parade. She loved camping, fishing, gardening, and getting her nails done.

She is preceded in death by Ed, who died on Feb. 2, 2002. She is survived by Judy and her husband Chase Williams of Bozeman, Montana, Henry and his wife Lois of Kennewick, Washington, Elizabeth and her husband Buck of Enumclaw, and Allison, who lives in Los Angeles. She is also survived by many grandchildren, which she often joked were “too many to count.”

Enumclaw resident Marvin Filbert died Aug. 24, 2009, at the age of 65. He was born June 25, 1944, in Boise, Idaho to the late Gregory and Ellen Filbert. He served in the U.S. Air Force and after two tours of duty worked in commercial construction for more than 40 years. He was passionate about classic Chevys, building engines, and riding motorcycles. He was a man of all grades who enjoyed hard work and getting his hands dirty.  He didn’t like new country music, foods he couldn’t pronounce, or sandals, but he enjoyed colorful language and his three favorite men: Jack, Jim, and Johnnie.

Shortly after retiring from the military, he married Tanya Mickleson of Mt. Vernon, who died of cancer four years later. He then married Bonnie Carpenter and they moved to Enumclaw to raise their child. They later divorced and he married Donna Davis in 1999. Some folks around Enumclaw referred to him as the Chevy Casanova, but he never took to the name.

He is survived by Donna, as well as his only son, Daniel Filbert, the head of the Walla Walla Onion Marketing Committee, and his wife Susan.

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