Earth Day

Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza      April 16, 2021

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Earth Day
DANIELA MORRIS Friends of Tony Morris and his wife, Daniela, have continued to maintain and decorate “Tony’s Chair,” where he held court in front of Fire Station 69.
Topanga celebrates Earth Day year-round, don’t we! It is nice, and likely necessary that we get a jolt once a year to take stock of how we’re doing. The earth is in serious crisis at so many levels that we, as co-inhabitants, must never take it for granted or give up trying to restore what we’ve damaged. One group that doesn’t give up is Stop 5G International and 5G Free California, which has been counting down the days to Earth Day on April 22 with action. On March 19 they held a joint protest against satellite launches at Elon Musk’s SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. A five-minute video is part of a series bringing awareness that 5G is not sustainable, eco-friendly, or safe to our Earth and all living beings. Credit for video footage from the protest goes to Albina Molina, Paula Stein, and Amber Yang. ( For more information: Crying In these past several months so many friends have lifted the veil and passed through to their ultimate destiny. As homo sapiens with a hard-wired will to live, we are mostly in denial of death. I have wailed for days and years over the death of cats, dogs, my horse, surprisingly more than that of my parents and sister; each of them were ready for transition. I carry my memories of them forward in my life, grateful for the gifts of who they were and how they lived. Their memories are many blessings whenever I think of them. With so many long-time Topanga friends and neighbors passing lately—some suddenly, others going more “gently into that good night,”—tears are never far away. We lost Tony Morris, Mary Colvig, Cloris Leachman, John Stevens, all in four months. When news came that Paul Gryzmkowski had died suddenly of acute leukemia and kidney failure, we were stunned by the news. If you’ve been following Beth Goode’s accounts of the Trash Warriors, you’ve seen his face in the group photos. Whether you knew him or not, we as a community can hold his memory close and send comfort to his wife, Joanna Gunst, with our prayers. The next day, I said my goodbyes to a friend who is in transition and non-responsive. I sat with her for a time, held her hand, remembered the good times, thanked her for touching my life with hers, and wished her well on her journey. “See you on the other side,” I said, trying to come to terms with my own mortality. A day later, another friend called to say her mother had died. Tony Morris’s widow, Daniela, called, asking why we published an obituary for a dog, but not yet for Tony. We both had a laugh and talked for an hour. She described how people were decorating what has become a shrine for Tony: his chair in front of Fire Station 69. Daniela took the photo (above) of “Tony’s Chair,” where he held court when he wasn’t directing traffic or chatting with Café Mimosa patrons. She had just decorated the spot with gold leaves and other things that Tony loved in life and wished a memorial plaque could be set there. Even in his declining state of health, the community loved Tony, the brilliant mind, writer, master of languages, sailor, and just about anything he set his unerring curiosity to. Daniela misses him terribly. The Canyon Chronicle has yet to publish full obituaries for any of these friends. Families need time to grieve, get lost in the practical details, and it takes time to compile information and photos. The pandemic has also robbed us of memorials. The best thing about memorials and wakes is you learn so much about the person. In that setting we often cry tears of joy as we remember them and what a gift they were in life. We mourn and give comfort together. Over the years, my intent for our newspapers was to honor the person with memories from those who were close to them and published them with photos and the obituary. Those usually come in unsolicited. Not so much now. In the absence of group gatherings, we invite our readers to share their remembrances and if there is someone we’ve missed, let us know. Send them to; or P.O. Box 1101, Topanga, CA 90290, and we’ll dedicate some space to honor them.
Flavia Potenza

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April 16, 2021

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