Today in My History
2020: A ZOOM Birthday
Books Read in 2021
Books Read in 2021
Cast (updated 7/16)
AN INCREDIBLE LIFE
Our friend Ellen Pontac died March 15, 2020, just as we were all getting quarantined for the pandemic and so her wife, Shelly Bailes, was not able to host a memorial service for her until now, just a few days before what would have been her 80th birthday.
The memorial was held in the Veterans Memorial building and I knew it would be a big crowd. I suppose I should not have been surprised that it was not only a full house, but there was standing room only. Purple was her favorite color so everything was decorated in purple (and many people wore purple) and they even had chocolate kisses with her picture and quotes by her pasted on them on the table (can you imagine how many little circles of pictures were pasted on kisses?)
...and bottles of water, each with an Ellen label on it.
Everybody had to wear a mask, of course. Shelly's was particularly moving.
Ellen and Shelly (it's hard to separate the two names) were involved in just about everything in Davis. They were most known for the years' long activism for same sex marriage, so visible that their photos have been published in such publications as Newsweek, The New York Times, Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle and more, including papers in other countries..
But they were involved with meals on wheels, started a holiday dinner for anybody who had no place to go for the holidays (held in the same room where the memorial service was held). They started the Gay Pride Celebration, were active with the Food Co-op, ushered at the Mondavi Center, and marched with Code Pink. They went to the county office to attempt to get a marriage license every year on Valentine's day, with several other gay couples and were occasionally threatened by groups of Russian men (the police had to come and remove the Russians). They took a bus from California to DC. before marriage was legalized, with a bunch of other gay couples, stopping at towns all across the country to talk about gay marriage. They demonstrated at the state capitol nearly every weekend.
Their photos on Facebook include photos with Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom and other politicians.
When Gavin Newsom made same sex marriage legal in San Francisco, they went to the city and were married by Newsom himself.
Those marriages were ultimately invalidated, but when they were made legal in the state, Ellen and Shelly were one of the first couples in California to be married.
(I made a wedding cake for them when Massachusetts made marriage legal, then another wedding cake when they were married by Newsom and a final wedding cake for their wedding in 2008. I told them this was the last wedding cake I was going to make for them! The couple were together 46 years.)
There were several speakers at the memorial, including Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada and Yolo supervisor Lucas Frerichs, Molly McKay, who was the "Big Kahuna" at Marriage Equality, and a woman who was a caretaker at Burning Man (which Ellen attended for many years)
Today was a day of tears and laughter, and a display of what kind
of effect one person from a little town like Davis can have on the world.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
I'd love it if you'd leave a comment! (Comments show up after I
This is entry #7927