Today, August 21st at 1:45AM, the progressive movement lost the wonderful Teddi Winograd, the 87 year old mother of PDLA President Marcy Winograd, and one of the greatest peace activists I have ever known.
In Los Angeles, Teddi Winograd is a legend amongst progressives. She came from a modest background, began working at thirteen, built a fashion empire, and went on to become a benefactor and leader for peace. Before she passed, Teddi asked me to write her eulogy. Here is my less than worthy tribute to an amazing woman who worked tirelessly for peace:
On the evening of August 12th, in the plush environs of a beautiful Beverly Hills garden, a couple hundred Angelenos gathered for an event. They had come to hear Dennis Kucinich, the 2008 Presidential candidate and moral conscience of the Democratic party. Unlike most political events, this one was spiritually uplifting - a defining characteristic of Kucinich's campaign.
As Kucinich spoke, many in the crowd often glanced beyond him to an open second floor window of the lovely colonial home. It wasn't that they weren't listening to Dennis. Quite the contrary. He was captivating and brilliant. It was that in the hopefulness of his message, and the humanity of his words, they thought of Teddi Winograd, who was uncharacteristically not there. Well, not in the garden, anyway. Instead Teddi was upstairs watching the event through that open window.
You see, this was Teddi Winograd's home where Dennis Kucinich was speaking. And although Dennis has a powerful presence, Teddi has a power all her own.
That Sunday, unable to join the affair, Teddi presided quietly from the second floor. She never said a word. All that were seen was her hand in a wave and the tip of the captain's cap she wore on her head. That evening, Teddi's presence from above deepened the event and inspired Kucinich even more. In a Romeo and Juliet moment, Kucinich dashed below Teddi's window and shouted up to thank her for providing this wonderful night.
Like the rest of us, Dennis loved Teddi, too.
That first moment when Dennis shouted up to Teddi was the first indication for many of how ill Teddi Winograd had become. It was even more obvious when Dennis began his comments by detailing the hours they had spent reviewing Teddi's pictorial tome, "My Life In Pictures" - a loving photographic tribute to her family and her friends. Dennis talked of how Teddi's passion on every page defined the very essence of a family. The pride, devotion and unwavering love. Page by page, Teddi took Dennis through her life in pictures just as she had with me and several other lucky friends. I treasure those moments every day. I'm incredibly grateful to have my very own signed copy of the 327 page "My Life In Pictures," and the recently added 47 page chapter, "The Best Is Yet To Be." While some might be saddened by that title, let me explain to you why I am not.
In Teddi's long and rich life, she has known and loved many people, but none more than her family and friends. Her children Barry and Marcy were her life, as were her beautiful grandchildren, Ben, Gina and Rachel. She adored her baby brother, Ron, her son-in-law, Buddy, and her devoted companions Yvette, Carlos and Sonia. But there were others Teddi loved, missed and wished to see. Tonight her wish was answered.
I do believe with all my heart that on August 21st at 1:45am, Teddi Winograd walked into the arms of her adoring husband, Sam, the love of her life, who then escorted her to their daughter, Dani, then on to Teddi's beloved twin sister, Rhoda, and Rhoda's husband Gaby. Tonight Teddi Winograd is in the arms of love.
What is left for us here, for Marcy and Barry, Ben, Gina, Rachel, and the rest of Teddi's family and friends, are the very same orders Sam gave Teddi in 1998 when Parkinsons took him away: "CONTINUE TO WORK FOR PEACE."
Teddi, we will!!
For many of us, the only good that has come out of the downfall of our democracy over the past seven years has been the creation of our own progressive community that embraces Sam and Teddi's passion for peace. In Los Angeles, Marcy and Teddi have been leaders in the progressive community. Teddi's lovely home has been a welcoming hub for democratic activism, intellectual stimulation, and political and social education for countless guest speakers and eager attendees.
In their Great Minds Series, Teddi and Marcy hosted notable authors, journalists and filmmakers. Hundreds of progressives in Teddi's home, have been inspired by the great Gore Vidal, John Dean, author of "Conservatives Without Conscience," John Nichols, author of "The Genius Of Impeachment," Sydney Blumenthal, author of "How Bush Rules," Danny Schechter, filmmaker of "In Debt We Trust," Elizabeth De La Vega, author of "US vs. Bush," Robert Dreyfuss, author of "Devils Game," James Moore, author of "Bush's Brain" and more.
Teddi's hospitality and generosity are legendary. She was the mother we all wished for and the kind of friend we all wanted to be. She once joked to me that renowned Constitutional Attorney Stephen Rohde wanted her to adopt him. I answered, "Teddi, we all want you to adopt us." With her beautiful smile and openness, many of us actually believed she did.
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