Grace was one of my closest friends. There are probably hundreds
of people who could say this because Grace had the gift of intimacy.
She not only made everyone she met feel she valued them; she really
did value them.
Grace and I became close during the PEN Congress of 1986, during
which we organized a meeting to protest the inadequate number of
women speakers, which took over the ballroom of the Essex House
Hotel and led to the formation of a Women's Committee in PEN
American Center. Grace and I were co chairs of that committee
until she moved to Vermont, and she became founding Chair of Women's
WORLD in 1994.
Grace was the kindest and most generous person I have ever known.
This is unusual in a writer, especially one of her quality, because
writers tend to husband their inner resources for their work, but
Grace had so many inner resources that she could afford to be
generous. She gave unstinting love to her family and friends, took
speaking engagements at any whistlestop, often without pay,
organized antiwar and antinuclear and women's demonstrations, worked
endlessly against nuclear armaments, did draft counseling,
protested on behalf of the environment, free expression, and a just peace
between Israel and Palestine.
Despite her devotion to causes where stereotyped language is
the norm, she always spoke in her own voice, candid, idiosyncratic,
Bronx-inflected, deeply personal, and rooted in family experience.
More than anything, I will miss the sound of her voice.