"Nous ne sommes nous qu'aux yeux des autres et c'est à partir du regard des autres que nous nous assumons comme nous."
"We are who we are only in the eyes of other people and their looks are what make us come to terms with ourselves as ourselves."
L'Être et le néant
Jennifer Irene Barrows Golden, daughter of Mr. Leland Judd Barrows, appointed by JFK as the first ambassador to Camaroon and Togo, and Mrs. Mabel Irene Barrows, married when I met her, in a manner of speaking, was a friend of mine. And I am proud to be able to say she was a friend. Still is. Death does not change that fact. In a way I can thank the late Helen Parsons Smith for that. When Helen, wishing to assist me in the work of publishing a newsletter that would eventually become this web site passed onto me a mailing list of those who were interested in Aleister Crowley and Thelema, I found Jennifer's name and address on that list. I sent Jennifer one of my first amateur brochures advertising The Newaeon Newsletter in 1977 E.V. and we quickly became fast friends for life, myself in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and she in Washington D.C. The distance was overcome by the many letters we exchanged, gifts passed back and forth, and telephone conversations. When her personal demons assailed her I was quick to respond and assist her in putting them down as best as I could. When fate tested me, knocking me to my knees, Jennifer reach out over the space between us and picked me up. I can probably say with absolute truth that more than once I owe my very life to this kind and generous woman who had, herself, so much trouble in life to deal with.
Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, by way of Le Marriage de Figaro, act III, scene 16, said "Les plus coupables snt les moins généreux; c'est la règle." In English, "The most guilty are the least generous; that's the rule." This being so, Jennifer was one of the least guilty, most innocent of people on this planet.
Jennifer loved many things including Crowley and Thelema, Paganism and Wicca, French literature and so much more. She loved life, although how she could with the problems she had to deal with in life, is beyond me. When her marriage ended she returned home to live with and take care of her elderly mother, and anyone who has had such an experience knows that it is not an easy burden to carry. When Jennifer's mother finally passed on I had hoped that she could live out her life in the family home that was left to her and her brother, doing whatever pleased her and made her happy, but it was not to be. Her health took a turn for the worst and the opportunity presented itself to place her in an assisted care facility. The house within which she should have been able to live out her life was turned over to her brother's college-age daughter. Jennifer could not have been happy in the facility, however comfortable it may have been. She was not "at home". She was not surrounded by all of the things that made her happy, her library included. But she did not complain. She tried to laugh about it. She was only concerned that she might lose contact with all of her friends, and so I put together a package of nice writing paper with matching envelopes, all of recycled paper, as well as pens made from recycled materials because she was very conscious of protecting Mother Earth, as well as plenty of postage stamps with which to write and mail letters. Had I a much healthier bank account I would have done much more for her. I would have done anything within my power for Jennifer. She deserved nothing but the best in life and especially at the end received so much less than that.
It was not long, however, after being placed in the assisted care facility, that Jennifer passed on. The cause of death is listed on her death certificate as "End State Renal Disease" with complications such as "anemia". She was sixty-four years old. Only about two years older than I am today. Too young. Too soon to die, and just when it looked as if her personal demons were defeated and she could finally live the life she should have always been free to live.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in Le Petit Prince, XXI, wrote On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur, "We see well only with the heart", and I believe Jennifer saw people and the world around her more clearly than most.
If that shining star in Nuit's body that I knew as Jennifer Golden still exists in some form, in some place, I can only hope that
Là, tout n'est qu'ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.
That there, is all just order and beauty, luxury, peace, and sensual delight. Thank you for being my true and good friend, Jennifer.
August 4, 2013 E.V.
This last quotation from Charles Baudelaire, L'Invitation au voyage