Biting Obit

Noticed in the Raleigh News and Observer, July 2, 2005

ON JUNE 3, 2005 at 10:45 p.m. in Memphis, Tennessee,
Dorothy Gibson Cully, 86, died peacefully, while in
the loving care of her two favorite children, Barbara
and David. All of her breath leaked out.

The mother of four children, grandmother to 11,
great-grandmother to nine, devoted wife for 56 years
to the late Ralph Chester Cully and a true friend to
many, Dot had been active as a volunteer in the
Catholic Church and other community charities for much
of the past 25 years.

She was born the second child of six in 1919 as
Frances Dorothy Gibson, daughter to Kathleen Heard
Gibson and Calvin Hooper Gibson, an inventor best
known as the first person since the Middle Ages to
calculate the arcane lead-to-gold formula. Unable to
actually prove this complex theory scientifically, and
frustrated by the cruel conspiracy of the so-called
“scientific community” working against his efforts, he
ultimately stuck his head in a heated gas oven with a
golden delicious apple propped in his mouth.
Miraculously, the apple was saved for the evening
dessert. Calvin was not.

Native Marylanders and long time Baltimore, Kent
Island and Ocean City residents, Ralph and Dot later
resided in Lakeland, Florida and Virginia Beach,
Virginia. Several years after Ralph’s death, Dot moved
to Raleigh in 2001, where she lived with her son,

At the time of her death, Dot was visiting her
daughter, Carol in Memphis. Carol and her husband,
Ron, away from home attending a “very important
conference” at a posh Florida resort, rushed home 10
days later after learning of the death. Dot’s other
children, dutifully at their mother’s side helping
with the normal last minute arrangements – hospice
notification, funeral parlor notice, revising the last
will, etc. – happily picked up the considerable slack
of the absent former heiress.

Dot is warmly remembered as a generous, spiritually
strong, resourceful, tolerant and smart woman, who was
always ready to help and never judged others or their
shortcomings. Dot always found time to knit sweaters,
sew quilts and send written notes to the family
children, all while working a full time job,
volunteering as Girl Scout leader and donating
considerable time to local charities and the
neighborhood Catholic Church.

Dot graduated from Eastern High School at 15, worked
in Baltimore full time from 1934 to 1979, beginning as
a factory worker at Cross & Blackwell and retiring
after 30 years as property manager and controller for
a Baltimore conglomerate, Housing Engineering Company,
all while raising four children, two of who are fairly

An Irishwoman proud of and curious about her heritage,
she was a voracious reader of historical novels,
particularly those about the glories and trials of
Ireland. Dot also loved to travel, her favorite
destination being Eire’s auld sod, where she dreamed
of the magic, mystery and legend of the Emerald Isle.
Dot Cully is survived by her sisters, Ginny Torrico in
Virginia, Marian Lee in Florida and Eileen Adams in
Baltimore; her brother, Russell Gibson of Fallston,
Maryland; her children, Barbara Frost of Ocean City,
Maryland, Carol Meroney of Memphis, Tennessee, David
Cully of Raleigh, North Carolina and Stephen Cully of
Baltimore, Maryland.

Contributions to the Wake County (NC) Hospice Services
are welcomed. Opinions about the details of this obit are not, since
Mom would have liked it this way.

Impress Friends with Haiku

The LwC’ers among you are likely already aware of Romi’s Journal and you may also know that she put together a web site where her Japanese High School students share their Haiku written in English. I recommend visiting and taking a look at her students’ poetry. I really like the stuff about summer vacation. Oh, and make sure to sign the guestbook.

I was not completely ignorant of Haiku, or so I thought, but then I read Romi’s own poem about a rain delayed Field Day and was struck by how much It was like a color photograph in all of twelve words. I then found my way to Haiku for People. and realized there was a good bit I did not understand about Haiku. For those who, like me, are Haiku challenged, here is some basic information to bring you up to speed. Haiku is a highly structured form of poetry and there are a few fairly rigid rules. Now, of course, Haiku poets (especially english writing poets) don’t always adhere to all of them, but here is what HfP has to say:

Haiku is one of the most important forms of traditional japanese poetry. Haiku is… a 17-syllable verse form consisting of three metrical units of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

The technique of cutting… divides the Haiku into two parts, with a certain imaginative distance between the two sections, but the two sections must remain, to a degree, independent of each other. Both sections must enrich the understanding of the other. To make this cutting in english, either the first or the second line ends normally with a colon, long dash or ellipsis.

Each Haiku must contain a kigo, a season word, which indicate in which season the Haiku is set. For example, cherry blossoms indicate spring, snow indicate winter, and mosquitoes indicate summer, but the season word isn’t always that obvious.

Haiku-poems can describe almost anything, but you seldom find themes which are too complicated for normal PEOPLE’s recognition and understanding. Some of the most thrilling Haiku-poems describe daily situations in a way that gives the reader a brand new experience of a well-known situation.

Bottom line is that I am finding Haiku to be pretty cool. Now, I just need some victims on whom to hone my Haiku skills.

Hey, where’re ya goin’?