Yesterday evening we read the news that Toshi-Aline Ohta Seeger, Pete Seeger’s wise, talented, strong and beautiful wife, passed away at the age of 91. You can read about Toshi’s life and her work as a filmmaker, a mother, an activist and an organizer over at Sing Out!, where Mark D. Moss has written a tribute to her. Toshi was an extraordinary woman.
The write-up also features this photograph by Ed Renehan of Toshi cooking soup . She must be in her 80s. It brings us right back to the the day we spent with Toshi and Pete at their cabin in Beacon, NY.
It was a crisp fall day. Pete sat in front of the wood-burning stove (he’d been chopping wood outside when we arrived), rocked back and forth in his chair, and talked and sang and told stories and played banjo for hours. We had to work hard to keep up with him.
Ken and I were packing our gear when Toshi announced that it was time for lunch, and invited us to sit down to a big bowl of squash soup and some homemade bread.
So we sat down at the dining table in the modest mountainside cabin Pete and Toshi had built for themselves in the 1940s. We broke bread together and ate Toshi’s delicious soup. I can’t honestly say I remember much of the conversation: I think it was just about ordinary, everyday things. I know we felt welcome, and cared for, and warm.