Yesterday is gone forever, never to be revisited. Tomorrow is but a dream wish, unattainable. All we have is today. Today is our life Forever.
Adelle Bradford 2005 (from All About Eve and Other Things)
Foreword to upcoming book "Battlefield of Life - The Bradford Chronicles" by Adelle Bradford.
It is acknowledged that “Chronicles” evoke the usual definition of a ‘record of events,’ or, perhaps, a ‘series of explanatory notes,’ a ‘play-by-play,’ if you will. I submit, though, that a life can be chronicled through the writings of an author, in this case Adelle Bradford. And these writings are not necessarily in chronological order.
By her own admission, Adelle could not pass by a blank piece of paper without feeling the need and urge to write something on it. This began very early in her life and it became a life-long obsession to think of her life as pages in a book.
She writes: “It has a beginning and an end, with a finite number of pages in between. Across the years, there have been certain moments, certain feelings and moods, certain experiences and observations, certain days - - good and bad - - that linger in memory, bookmarks in a commonplace life. I am highly visual, seeing life in brilliant splashes of color, subtle, muted pastels, and sometimes in harsh black and whites, but I am not an artist. So, I try to paint my sketches and pictures with words, brush stroke word by brush stroke word.”
Adelle’s early writings have been lost in the mists of history or, perhaps better expressed, been destroyed by an uncaring mother and a hostile older sister. They feared this ‘wild child’ with a sharp mind and uncompromising belief in decency, right and wrong, and, above all other things, her early love of animals who were treated even worse than she was. During those formative childhood years, her father James Felix Bradford was the mainstay of her existence and support but also delivered the most devastating blow to her young existence: one day he simply disappeared.
In her book A Long Road To Anywhere, Adelle chronicles that part of her life and the influences of those around her.
“Her Father had an almost instinctive awareness of the relationships shared by all living things; he was a naturalist and environmentalist and her Father spent endless animal-related hours; he did not consciously teach her, but rather imparted the essence of his philosophy about the need to understand, value, and respect the world of nature and the creatures, who like ourselves, must be born, live, and die in it, in an endless and ever-repeating cycle . . . .
“Thus, the child, almost by osmosis, soaked up values, ideals, concepts, and a philosophy of life, along with an ability to observe, understand, respect, and sometimes love every living thing. And, just as he showed her that each duck had a distinct, individual personality, reasoning power, and the ability to communicate with anyone who understands 'duckese,' her Father also taught her about death and its necessity if life is to continue. This is a difficult lesson for anyone, but a lesson everyone must eventually learn and come to terms with, no matter how hard and hurting they find it. Life is not only full of beginnings; it is also full of endings . . . .“
Brought on by the cruel needs of the Great Depression, Adelle would later understand what happened but, throughout her lifetime, could never come to terms with this abandonment, the loss of her “Daddy Girl” status.
“Bluntly stated, and there is no nice, sugar-coated, civilized way of putting it, Father sought out and found a man who would take Mother, tuberculosis, two children, and all. He was an elderly man, a hospital orderly, who had long ago reared his own family, and who had grandchildren Dell's age. He had been a widower for years and undoubtedly found the idea of a young, attractive wife quite appealing- -as long as the children were not too much trouble. The deal was made, and Father sold his family for the cost of the divorce and enough money to get him back to California. The divorce was filed in the courthouse in the Plaza, and Father left the same day.
“While Sister knew what was happening all along, Dell knew nothing. One morning, Father was there as usual, that evening when she came home from school, he was gone. In his place was some old man who patted her on the head and called her ‘Dearie.’”
Adelle would never fully trust another man again and, when read with a full appreciation of these early years and what would follow as a result, Adelle’s writing, always insightful and deep-reaching, can be seen as clearly challenging the world, and those around her, to display enough integrity and honesty to afford her the inclination to invite them into her realm of trusted friends. Few could qualify, but those who did, gained a life-long friend and supporting, active helper.
* * * * *
Adelle has been battling medical disasters throughout her life and were it not for her stamina and will to overcome these difficulties, there would have been sufficient reasons to quit a long time ago. Various falls caused her right knee to be irreparably damaged, with back injuries thrown in, cancer in her jawbone requiring its removal in a ten and a half hour operation in Germany ten years ago, with shoulder pain a constant companion after that., gall stones, broken fingers and nose (the latter twice), cataracts and a myriad of other medical conditions to make life unpleasant. The spirit of this woman overcame all that and I could only thank the Lord that I was fit and able to be there and care for my love.
The last straw came on February 10, 2009 with a diagnoses of lung cancer causing severe pneumonia and Adelle decided that she had had enough. She reassured me that it was okay (which, of course, it was not) and let her decision be known: “I'm going home.” On February 23, 2009, at 4:15 in the morning, she prayed the Lord's Prayer, took her last breath and left to be “. . . the woman I was meant to be and know I am.”
In the afternoon of that same horrible day, the proof copy of “Delilah Cross” arrived via FedEx. She had approved of the publication of her novel but was satisfied that she would not have to promote it herself.
Our lives were filled with love and sharing and we had long ago pledged to each other that this love, and our marriage, would not be ended by death. At the end, Adelle again promised to wait for me “ . . . I would not want it any other way.” I am holding her to it!
Adelle Bradford had not been shy about making friends on the Internet (it's mostly safe after all) and they are from all parts of the world: USA, Africa, India, England and Wales, Germany, Canada and a number of other countries. She was, and is, loved.
* * * * *
“It is so very sad that with the death of each person in our older generations, a vital piece of truth, a unique and colorful thread in our tapestry of living history, is lost forever . . . unless the experiences of that person are somehow recorded so that following generations can learn about them for themselves. Far more than the war relics guarded by old Uncle Joe, or the yellowed and worn cookbooks so treasured by Grandma Nell, the memories of these people are the historical treasures, each with their place, our own unique windows into our own past.“
“Break free the bonds of Earth,
My soul soars through the skies into heaven,
To see the face of God.
I am free . . . I am home.”
Based on her prolific writings, Adelle published articles and essays in various magazines, anthologies, an Amazon Short and two books in 2005. In 2009, six further books reached the market, not counting this one. It is a near certainty that more of Adelle Bradford’s writing will be found and I am determined to let most of it see the light of day. She always considered herself mundane and ‘common,’ but I think in her heart she really did know better. Her small smiles over our forty-five years would tell me that plus the fact that Adelle enticed me to write on my own and to explore what’s right in the world, what’s decent, with integrity and scrupulous attention to truth and justice – her father’s legacy.