Pat Hogan King 's Bio
 
Bio note by her daughter: Malaika King Albrecht



My mom was an exercise in extremes. To say that she wasnít ever lukewarm is to understate her passion for loving someone or something or for disliking someone or something. Middle of the road was where she mightíve walked on a real street (even a busy one) but how she lived, never.

In the early 1960ís, she was a Peace Corps nurse in East Africa. She and my dad were married in Dar es Salaam, Tanganyika (Tanzania), and she was promptly fired for marrying a staff doctor. She went on to teach English to the local children and also worked as a prenatal nurse. They returned to the states and eventually settled in Virginia.

She was passionate about a variety of causes. Whether it was taking in unwed mothers, or Romanian asylum seekers, or any number of homesick East Africans, she made our home a hub of interesting people. She also integrated the Spouses Medical Auxiliary and encouraged us to be activists, as well. She wrote notes to my high school principal to get me out of school for a variety of causes, from marching with Jessie Jackson to attending anti-nuclear protests.

My mom was a gifted painter and writer, but she had little sense of her own talent. Though she did sell a few paintings at art shows and galleries, she gave away the majority. She hid or destroyed her poems and was very private about her writing. As a matter of fact, I just found out that she submitted to a few literary magazines because I found several rejection notes while looking for more of her work. Her former college professor and mentor Sister Bernetta Quinn, a well known poet, was a frequent visitor to our home and often tried to get my mom to write more.

When I was a teenager, she signed me up for a night class in poetry at the local university and took the class with me. I loved that class, and Iím grateful to her for enrolling me. I vividly remember her encouraging me and how proud she was of my poems. When I said I wanted to be a writer, she didnít deter me despite the fact that her own profession had been chosen for her and being an artist was not an option then.

I believe my mom wouldíve have fared better being born at a later time. She suffered greatly with depression and like many female alcoholics in the 1970ís, she was given valium and a host of other drugs and on several occasions shock treatment. I cannot read Jane Kenyon's poem 'Having it out with Melancholy' without thinking of my mom.

How many talented female artists were lost to us because of bad psychiatric care and generational circumstance? Many names we know and hundreds more will never be known beyond their family and friends. Though my mom will never know her work has been published, Iím moved beyond words. She too would be speechless, a rarely accomplished feat indeed.

It is impossible to imagine who I would be without her influence. I speak of her often to my daughters because they will never have the pleasure of her company. Who else would paint a neighbor's golden retriever with black paint to make a tiger for a circus at the mental health center where she worked? She even decorated my hula hoop with red ribbons, so Rebel the tiger-dog could jump through a flaming hoop.



Earth Mother

When time is no more
Than a memory
And everything for me, over,
I will turn my face
From all of it
And strut away,
Earth mother,
Trailing
My furs
In the
Dust.

****

"Came with friends
to visit indefinitely in the
arms of God who
made such places
to visit His own sheep."

 


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