Work of Art: A friend of Elizabeth Edwards

-A A +A

By Art Trujillo

Las Vegas Optic

The world lost a bright, dedicated, articulate woman last week when Elizabeth Ed-wards died of breast cancer. She was the estranged wife of John Edwards, who appeared in Las Vegas in 2004, as the Democratic running mate of John Kerry.

John Edwards sought the presidential nomination in 2008 but lost to Barack Obama. One person who knew the late Mrs. Edwards well is Kate Lockwood, a nurse and massage therapist from Las Vegas.

In 2004, her photo appeared in the Optic, with her arm around Elizabeth Edwards. The two had known each other for years.

Here’s how:

In 1968 and 1969, Kate was a classmate of Elizabeth’s at Zuma, a small high school in Japan. Kate and Elizabeth were children of military families, and the school educated such students, as well as those whose parents worked for American corporations doing business in Japan.

“There were 64 in our class, and I knew Elizabeth during our junior and senior years,” Kate said. “I had lost track of her, and when John Edwards became a national figure, I had not made the connection because in high school, she went by Mary Beth Anania. Another classmate called me and said, ‘Hey, do you realize that John Edwards’ wife is Mary Beth Anania?’”

Elizabeth arrived in Las Vegas to campaign for her husband. After the presentation at Kennedy Lounge, how did Kate get Elizabeth’s attention? “I’d made a silly sign — ‘Go, Zuma’ — and I just kind of flashed it. Elizabeth recognized me right away.”

Kate also showed up at the whistle stop days later, when the Kerry-Edwards entourage arrived here by train. “I caught her eye, and she waved back and then pointed me out to her husband and Kerry and his wife,” Kate said.

About a dozen Zuma alumni planned to have dinner at the 2008 national convention in Denver.

Kate said, however, it was around that time that rumors of John Edwards’ extramarital affair began to surface, “and the dinner just kind of fell through.” Kate said that some of the Zuma alumni believed they’d be dining with the next president of the United States.

Kate said of Elizabeth’s visit, “She was extremely knowledgeable; her depth of knowledge was impressive.”

• • •

Sometimes waiting helps to temper things. Professor and author Dorothy Simpson, discovered it’s best not to hold one’s  breath.

Simpson, the author of novels and biographies of local interest, submitted an article to the Journal of America’s Military Past. It recounted the importance of nearby Fort Union as a military post along the Santa Fe Trail and reported on a massacre of 11 mail employees in the area. It’s a good read, its seven pages appearing in the December 2010 issue of the military journal.

The article, “The Last Mail Train Massacre in New Mexico Territory,” theorizes on which group was responsible for the 1850 massacre, whether it was buffalo hunters or members of area tribes. Simpson’s piece notes that, “The letters had been opened and then replaced in the envelopes,” leading to speculation as to the attackers’ motives. The mail from the states to Las Vegas, N.M., territory had nearly arrived at its destination when the mail carriers were ambushed outside of Wagon Mound.

“There was evidence of a fight, but the mail carriers were outnumbered. Even the mules pulling the wagons were killed. Mailbags were cut open and mail scattered. Perhaps the murdering thieves were looking for money. No one was ever brought to justice for the massacre,” Simpson’s article states.

As for Simpson’s patience, well, she wasn’t pushy. A couple of years after submitting the manuscript, she wrote the then-editor, who assured Simpson it was due for publication.

Time passed. Finally, Dorothy  received notice just recently that her article was scheduled for the current issue. She learned that the editor at the time she wrote the article had since died, and the manuscript kept floating around.

Well, it was worth the wait. Did I mention she submitted the article 14 years ago?

Now let’s consider another factor: Dorothy is one of Las Vegas’ few leap-year babies. A couple of years ago, a number of us attended her sweet 16th birthday party; her 17th hasn’t arrived yet. But if we factor in the quadrennial Feb. 29 birthday, doesn’t the 14-year wait for her article compute to a mere three-and-a-half years?

• • •

There’s a song, “Seasons of Love,” from the Broadway musical “Rent.” It begins, “525,600 minutes. ... How do you measure a year?” That’s the number of minutes in a year, slightly more in a leap year, as the above-mentioned Dorothy can attest.

Well, 525,600 minutes is one minute for every resident of Albuquerque and 35 per Las Vegas resident, that is, if we wish to slice them that way.

I came across the song the day my son, Stan, wrote that he was changing his e-mail address after  a dozen years (three leap years). Why? Well, he was receiving too many unsolicited, repetitious e-mail sales pitches. When one’s mailbox gets too full, even the good mail stops coming.

Stan works in the computer industry in Denmark and, by definition, expects a lot of mail. But apparently the recent increase in traffic was just too much.

He estimated receiving one e-mail a minute, or roughly 525,600 e-mails a year. Hmm, the same number the Broadway tune uses.

Stan wrote, “I kept holding out hope that some justice would come and that the spammers would be taken off-line. It got so bad that if I didn’t check my mail — even for just a day — it would reach the maximum size of my account and then I’d stop receiving incoming traffic altogether.

“I wouldn’t mind that so much, except that a tiny portion of that incoming traffic is mail from friends and family, and not solicitations for improved manhood or millions in ill-gotten Nigerian funds.”

Art Trujillo is a copy editor at the Optic and a contributing member of the newspaper’s Editorial Board. He may be reached by calling 425-6796 or by e-mail to artbt@rezio.net or atrujillo@lasvegasoptic.com.