These Things Shall Never Die by Charles Dickens
The Bright, the Pure, the Beautiful
That stirr’d our Hearts in Youth
The Impluses to Wordless Prayer
The Dreams of Love and Truth
The Longing after something Lost
The Spirits Yearning Cry
The striving after better Hopes —
These Things Can Never Die.
The timid Hand stretched forth to Aid
A brother in his need
The kindly Word in Grief’s Dark Hour
That Proves a Friend Indeed
The Plea of Mercy softly breath’d
When Justice threatens nigh
The Sorrows of a Contrite Heart —
These Things Shall Never Die.
Let nothing pass, for every hand
Shall find some work to do
Lose not a chance to waken Love
Be Firm, and Just, and True
So shall a Light that never Fade
Shine on Thee from on High
And Angel Voices say to Thee
These Things Shall Never Die.
Waterbury lost one of those rare gems of a person when Rosalie G. Chase died last Friday. She was a free spirit, and full of life, even up to the end. And while we will commend her life to God’s eternal keeping, we shall not let her pass from our worlds, from our memories, for who we are, is in part, for having known Rosalie, having lived with her, having worshiped with her, having worked side by side, with her, laughing all the way.
Many of you, I suspect where surprised to learn, whenever it was you did, that Rosalie was not technically a member of this church, she was an Episcopalian at heart. Nevertheless, she became a loyal participant of in the life of this church, she worshipped with us when her health allowed her to, and she was a faithful member of circle II, even in her later years when her major contribution to the group was her presence and not so much the things she made or did with her hands. She was remarkably tolerant of a new preacher with different ideas. And though she quite likely turned off her hearing aid device, she always said that she enjoyed the sermon, even it it was prefaced, as it was on occasion with a serious twinkle in her eye, with the phrase, “I didn’t hear anything you said.”
Rosalie was born in the late summer of 1917 in Baltimore. She grow from a girl into a young lady there, was educated in nearby Reistertown, and met the love of her life — Stanley Chase. After the war they were married and drove from Baltimore to Blush Hill, where they stayed put for their rest of their married lives and raised their three lovely children, David, Carol and Jill, all of whom married. So Rosalie ended up with six children, to her delight, and then two grandchildren came into her world, and Rosalie become the quintessential grandmother. Rosalie’s health had been ever so slowly ebbing. Visits to the hospital and stays at the nursing home took their toll on her. But in the end, she died within in shouting distance of the Shingle Shanty where she lived most of her adult life, in the home of her daughter and in her sleep, peacefully.
Those are the bare stubborn facts. The barest outline. It tells nothing of her private world, nothing of that private world which contained elements of excellence and of tragedy and outlined something about her much more ineffable, a pure gem of that something, which we celebrated last Friday, July 30th in fine form. We told stories, we laughed. And when Eileen Harvey sang, “You Can’t Take That Away,” we cried. We laughed and cried, because we got a glimpse of a world that will no longer be, a world we will miss. A world that drew us to her, like bees to a flower. It was not just Rosalie that died, but a world that died.
And even while it was a world that died when Rosalie passed from our world, the world she meant to you and to you and to me, will not die with her death; she was bright and pure and beautiful, and she stirred our hearts and still does. She wakens in us, even now, the love that was neither saccharine, nor cynical, the genuineness that would not speak an ill word of another. The world she leaves behind is a better one. And for that we thank God.