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Page 18
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<< 17. The Backwash of War19. Recollections of Maude DeVictor >>

Maude and Me - A Reminiscence

By Annie Luginbill

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The late Bill Davis called Maude DeVictor "the bravest woman I've ever known," and he was right – but she was more than a veterans' heroine…she was my friend, and I called her Maudie-poo.

Maudie would come to our house parties on the North Side of Chicago and I'd drive her back to the South Side afterward, getting an education about who lived in her neighborhood, who had the best holiday lights, and what streets had the ugliest houses. She was never shy about letting me know what was on her mind and what or who had annoyed or pleased her at the moment, and more than once I learned more than I expected.

When Wacky Jack McCloskey made one of his "Mommy Annie, I need to come to Chicago" trips, Maudie had come to our house to visit, and the two of us watched in stupefied horror as Jack backed into our dining room sideboard and dislodged Joel's ship-in-a-bottle from its shelf to crash on the floor next to him. Jack, of course, was completely unaware of anything until the glass broke; Maudie and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes, and cleaned up the mess.

Maudie enjoyed visiting our home, despite its dog hair, because I'm obsessively tidy and her the exact opposite; I once offered to clean her house so she could tell the neighbors that she was the only person in the 'hood who had a white cleaning lady.

Maudie introduced me to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and we had a great discussion about the book – and the fact that Maudie's story was NOT on page 40 as someone had told her.

I held a surprise 50th birthday party for my husband in retaliation for him doing that for my 45th, and Maudie showed up with an unexpected surprise – she'd gone to an adult book store and purchased such items as edible underwear, chocolate body paint, whipped body cream, and other such erotica. She got a good laugh from Joel's ears turning red.

My last conversation with Maudie was in late February 2018. Despite her health problems, she maintained an active interest in peace and justice issues, and at that time she said how glad she was that the Parkland March For Our Lives kids had chosen her birthday, March 24th, as the day they were having their nationwide demonstration.

It's truly a tragic irony that "the Mother of Agent Orange" died on Mother's Day. I will miss listening to her chant "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" and hearing her say "Baby, baby, baby – have I got something to tell you!" but I am grateful that we were friends and humbled by her legacy. Thank you, Maudie-poo, from the bottom of my heart.

Annie Luginbill was a key member of the Chicago chapter of VVAW for many years.

Maude during a voter registration event in 2014.
Maude's altar memorial.

Maude at Chicago Veteran's Day Event, November 11, 2001.

<< 17. The Backwash of War19. Recollections of Maude DeVictor >>

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