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Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011 03:03 am

CELIA ANN KRETSCHMER WESLE

April 28, 1924 – Oct. 24, 2011

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Twinkling eyes, slow smile lighting up a handsome face. That’s Celia, a “Tinker Bell” spirit in a statuesque body. Those who knew Celia delighted in her presence, a persona filled with light, love and laughter.

I met Celia 30 years ago while working at the Illinois State Board of Education. Her enthusiastic, independent nature drew me in. There was much to admire…the ever-present pleasantness, her inquisitiveness, her patience and her spiritualism.

Celia and I met every month for more than 27 years, writing as members and co-founders of Women Writers Association. She wrote poetry about her life and observations, including some hilarious poetry. My favorite is a poem filled with sensual suggestions, touching the face, the mouth, only to discover that Celia tricked me. She was actually describing a visit to the dentist.

When I think of Celia, I visualize her writing poetry, square dancing, reciting liturgy, drawing and painting, singing in the church choir and setting the table with healthy foods. Celia had friends in many groups, including Brainchild, Unity Church, Women Writers Association, German American National Congress, American Association of University Women, University of Illinois Springfield, and Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation.

Here’s how Celia describes the joy of her favorite season, winter:

Snow, Like
Light, bright
reflected sun,
even clouded
sky brings
new freckles
black, round
curve over
pink nose
gleeful smile,
inhale cold
frosty fresh
dry air,
blow out
steamy warmth.
Squint eyes,
run slowly
smooth slide
arms to balance
out at sides
cozy ears,
fingers, feet
bundled up
at home
outdoors.
Snow, love.

Celia’s spirit left just as the crystalline months she savored began. Goodbye, lovely Tinker Bell. You were a delight.

–Kathleen O’Hara Podzimek, Petersburg

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