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Eleanor Traylor

Professor Eleanor Traylor was born on December 12, 1933 in Thomasville, Georgia to Esther and Philip Williams. She graduated with her B.A. degree in English from Spelman College in 1955, and went on to receive her M.A. degree in English from Atlanta University in 1956. She also received a Merrill Scholarship to study at the University of Stuttgart in German in 1957. She later earned her Ph.D. degree in English from Catholic University of America in 1976.

From 1959 to 1965, Traylor taught English courses at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She went on to become a professor of English at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, where she taught from 1965 to 1990. While there, Traylor was a collaborating author alongside Toni Morrison on the textbook, College Reading Skills. She also served as the English department chair for the graduate school of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Traylor taught as a guest lecturer at Georgetown University in 1966; as a visiting professor at the African Studies and Research Center of Cornell University in 1979; and as an adjunct professor of drama at Howard University in 1968, where she produced a dramatic reading of Owen Dodson’s The Dream Awake. In 1973, Traylor received a research fellowship to study African drama in Ghana and Nigeria. In 1990, she was hired as a graduate professor of English at Howard University. She also chaired the humanities division until 1993 when she was named chair of the Department of English at Howard University. As chair, Traylor established the annual Heart’s Day Conference which honored African Americans in literature. During her tenure at Howard University, Traylor co-wrote several textbooks, worked as a consultant on the film Amistad and directed the production of Stepping Out of the Negro Caravan in collaboration with George Faison, Debbie Allen and other Howard University alumni.

Traylor served as director of evaluation procedures at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts as well as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. She also served on the board of the D.C. Black Repertory Theater Company. She was also an evaluator for the Afro-American Museums Association. In addition to working as a script writer and consultant for the Smithsonian Institution, Traylor also assisted the National Black Arts Festival as a literature consultant.

Traylor received several awards and honors for her work, including the Hazel Joan Bryant Award in 1987 as well as the Marcus Garvey Award, the Catholic University Alumni Achievement Award in literary criticism, and the Larry Neal-Georgia Douglas Johnson Award for literature and community service in 1989. In 1993, Traylor was honored with the African Heritage Studies Association Community Service Award and the Amoco Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition to receiving a Doctor of Humane Letters from Spelman College in 2002, Traylor was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Howard University in 2017.

Eleanor Traylor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 23, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.133

Sex

Female

Interview Date

06/21/2018

Last Name

Traylor

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Schools

Catholic University of America

Clark Atlanta University

Spelman College

First Name

Eleanor

Birth City, State, Country

Thomasville

HM ID

TRA03

Favorite Season

Autumn

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Everywhere I Go

Favorite Quote

My, My, My.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/12/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Professor Eleanor Traylor (1933 - ) was a graduate professor of English at Howard University, and chair of the Howard University Department of English from 1993 to 2009.

Employment

Howard University

Montgomery College

Tougaloo College

Department of Agriculture

Favorite Color

Cobalt Blue

Eugenia Collier

Author and professor Eugenia Collier was born on April 6, 1928 in Baltimore, Maryland to Harry Maceo, a physician, and Eugenia Williams, an educator. She received her B.A. degree from Howard University (magna cum laude) in 1948. In 1950, she received her M.A. degree from Columbia University and in 1976, her Ph. D. degree from the University of Maryland. Collier’s dissertation was “Steps Toward a Black Aesthetic: A Study of Black American Literary Criticism,” which was published by the University of Maryland.

After graduating from Columbia University, she worked as a caseworker from 1950 to 1955 with the Baltimore Department of Public Welfare. In 1955, she joined the faculty at Morgan State College (now Morgan State University) as an English instructor. She remained at Morgan State until 1966, as assistant professor. From 1966 to 1996, she taught English at several other colleges and universities, including the Community College of Baltimore (1966-1974), the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (1974-1977), Howard University (1977-1987), Coppin State College (now Coppin State University) (1987-1992) and Morgan State University (1992-1996). She also served as a visiting professor at Southern Illinois University and Atlanta University. She then served as a consultant for several schools and organizations, including Workshop of Center for African and Afro-American Studies (1969), Call and Response Workshop at Karamu House (1970), Pine Manor Junior College (1970) and Bond Humanities Fair, Atlanta, Georgia (1973-1974). In 1996, she retired from teaching.

In 1969, Collier published "Marigolds," which remains a widely read short story. Collier has written or co-written a number of other short stories, essays and books. Collier won the Gwendolyn Brooks Prize for Fiction award in Negro Digest in 1969 for “Marigolds.” She also received the Outstanding Educators of America Award in 1972 and the Distinguished Writers Award by the Middle Atlantic Writers Association in 1984. Her work has appeared in the Negro Digest, Black World, TV Guide, Phylon, College Language Association Journal and The New York Times. Collier has been a member of several organizations, including the College Language Association, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, the Middle Atlantic Writers Association and the African American Writers Guild.

Eugenia Collier was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 7, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.223

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/7/2013

5/20/2014

Last Name

Collier

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Williams

Occupation
Schools

Deanwood Elementary School

P.S. 112

Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts

Frederick Douglass High School

Columbia University

University of Maryland

Howard University

First Name

Eugenia

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

COL24

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

West Virginia

Favorite Quote

He Maketh Me To Lie Down In Green Pastures: He Leadeth Me Beside The Still Waters. - Psalm 23:2

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/6/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chitterlings

Short Description

English professor Eugenia Collier (1928 - ) was best known for her 1969 short story “Marigolds.” She also taught English for forty-one years at several colleges and universities.

Employment

Morgan State University

Coppin State University

Howard University

University of Marlyand, Baltimore

Community College of Baltimore

Maryland Crownsville State Hospital, Baltimore Department of Public Welfare

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647778">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eugenia Collier's interview, session 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647779">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647780">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier talks about her mother's education and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647781">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647782">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier remembers her maternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647783">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier describes her father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647784">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier describes her father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647785">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier remembers her father's siblings and parents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647786">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier describes her step grandfather</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647787">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier remembers her paternal aunt</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647788">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier talks about her paternal aunt's adopted daughter</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647789">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier describes her father's medical training and career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647790">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier talks about how her parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647791">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647792">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier talks about her brother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647793">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647794">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier recites her father's favorite poem</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647795">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647796">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier talks about her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647797">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier remembers her influential teachers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647798">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier talks about her early exposure to African American literature</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647799">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier recalls learning Negro spirituals at school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647800">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier describes her early career aspirations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647801">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier remembers segregation in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647802">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Eugenia Collier describes her early religious experiences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647803">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier recalls her decision to attend Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647804">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier talks about the mistreatment of African Americans after World War II</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647805">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier describes her first impressions of Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647806">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier remembers her influential professors at Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647807">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier recalls meeting Richard Wright and Langston Hughes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647808">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier talks about her favorite works by Richard Wright</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647809">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier remembers her acquaintances at Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647810">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier talks about her decision to attend Columbia University in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647811">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier describes her first impressions of Columbia University in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647812">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier talks about her thesis on Sterling A. Brown</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647813">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier describes her experiences in New York City's Harlem neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647814">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier recalls working for the Baltimore City Department of Public Welfare</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647815">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier talks about her ex-husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647816">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier describes the faculty at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647817">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier talks about her early writing habits</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647818">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier recalls the accolades for her short story 'Marigolds'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647819">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Eugenia Collier talks about the inspiration for 'Marigolds'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647820">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier remembers publishing her short story, 'Marigolds'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647821">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier shares a synopsis of 'Marigolds,' pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647822">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier shares a synopsis of 'Marigolds,' pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647823">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier talks about the writing community in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647824">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier describes her writing style</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647825">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier recites 'Nightmare House' and 'Salmon and Saxophones'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647826">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier talks about her sons</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647827">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier describes her teaching philosophy and favorite students</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647828">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier recalls her decision to pursue a Ph.D. degree at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647829">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier talks about the field of African American literary criticism</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647830">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier describes her dissertation on the black aesthetic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647831">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier talks about the black aesthetic</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647832">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier remembers the black publishers and magazines of the 1970s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647833">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier talks about her review of the film 'Conrack'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647834">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier remember her Ph.D. advisor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647835">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier describes her play, 'Ricky'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647836">Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Eugenia Collier remembers FESTAC '77</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647837">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Eugenia Collier's interview, session 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647838">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier describes Julian Mayfield, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647839">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier describes Julian Mayfield, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647840">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier remembers her international travels</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647841">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier talks about Hoyt W. Fuller's influence on her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647842">Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier remembers Haki Madhubuti</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647843">Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier talks about the black vernacular</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647844">Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier talks about her involvement in literary groups</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647845">Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Eugenia Collier describes her experiences on the faculty of Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647846">Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Eugenia Collier talks about the closure of black book stores during the 1980s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647847">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier describes her challenges with the administration of Howard University</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647848">Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier remembers Robert Hayden</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647849">Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier talks about the works of Haki Madhubuti and Robert Hayden</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647850">Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier recalls joining the faculty of Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647851">Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier talks about the Arena Players, Incorporated</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647852">Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier describes her approach to teaching American literature</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647853">Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier talks about the lack of recognition for African American authors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647854">Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier talks about the scholarship of black women</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647855">Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier talks about the inspiration behind her novel, 'Beyond the Crossroads,' pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647856">Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier talks about the inspiration behind her novel, 'Beyond the Crossroads,' pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647857">Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier remembers publishing 'Breeder and Other Stories'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647858">Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier talks about the inspiration for her short stories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647859">Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier remembers retiring from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647860">Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier describes her novel, 'The Day the Gods Wept'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647861">Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier talks about her current writing projects</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647862">Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier recalls moving to the Charleston Retirement Community in Catonsville, Maryland</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647863">Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Eugenia Collier shares her advice to young writers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647864">Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier talks about contemporary African American writers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647865">Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Eugenia Collier describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647866">Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Eugenia Collier reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647867">Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Eugenia Collier reflects upon her professional legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647868">Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Eugenia Collier talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647869">Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Eugenia Collier describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647870">Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Eugenia Collier narrates her photographs, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647871">Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Eugenia Collier narrates her photographs, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/647872">Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Eugenia Collier narrates her photographs, pt. 3</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Eugenia Collier recites her father's favorite poem
Eugenia Collier shares a synopsis of 'Marigolds,' pt. 2
Transcript
All right, now you--okay go ahead.$$Oh, speaking of my earliest happy memories, I wanted to read you a little bit of my father's [H. Maceo Williams, Sr.] favorite poem, and it became my favorite, too. The poem is 'Columbus' by Joaquin Miller. Now, picture this--my brother's [H. Maceo Williams, Jr.] on one knee, I'm on the other knee, and Daddy is reading to us. Now, "Behind him lay the gray Azores/ behind the Gates of Hercules." Now, you know, I didn't have no idea what Azores or Hercules or any other. "Before him not the ghost of shores / before him only shoreless seas. The good mate said: 'Now we must pray, for lo! the very stars are gone. Brave Admiral, speak, what shall I say?' 'Why, say, "Sail on! sail on! and on!"'." And believe me, when every, every stanza ends with sail on, sail, and Daddy would--I don't know that he could do justice like that 'cause he was holding us, but his voice would rise, and he would really orate, "Sail on, sail on, and on." So, that was, that was great. I, I just loved that.$But here's where the growing up part comes. Lizabeth feels ashamed. She's too big to be doing stuff like that. She doesn't know, she doesn't know what to do. In the dead of the night, kids are in bed, but they can hear their parents talking through the walls. The father is in total despair because he can't get a job and, in fact, he weeps. She has never heard her father weep. She grows up a little bit more from that. She doesn't know exactly what to do. She, she knows she's got to do, she can't do anything for him but, but her whole insides are just sort of boiling. She gets up, goes out the window, she's going out. Her brother [Joey], little brother is tagging along behind her. She goes--doesn't know where she's going, but she goes over to Miss Lottie's house, and she has such a hatred for those marigolds. She gets in Miss Lottie's garden and just pulls them all out, destroys the garden, and looks up finally, and there's Miss Lottie standing over her. She says, at that moment, 'cause the, the story is told by, by Lizabeth, grown. At that moment, she felt compassion. She felt something she had not felt before and that was her growing up point, time. She looks around. She can't do anything about the marigolds--she has destroyed them. And that moment is her moment of turning a corner, of growing up. And, and that's about it. There's no great plot to it if they're looking for some kind of a plot, but I just wanted to use the symbol of the marigolds. The one spot of beauty in that terrible little neighborhood town, whatever. Miss Lottie never plants marigolds again. It has destroyed something in her. And the sentence that Hoyt [Hoyt W. Fuller] took out, the last sentence in the, in the story was supposed to be that as I, Miss, Miss Lizabeth, grown up Elizabeth, "I, I'm, it's strange that I should think of those marigolds now as I wait for you who will not come." That was my own pessimism there. Hoyt took the sentence out, and it's much better without that sentence. So, that's 'Marigolds' [Eugenia Collier] somehow or another it has appealed to different people. And, oh, in fact, I was so pleased and so tickled. A teacher--oh, where, way, way out of town, a teacher wrote to me and said that her students had read 'Marigolds' and how much they liked it, and how much she enjoyed teaching it every, every year, whatever. And so, what she did, she had, the, the last sentence, the last existing sentence--oh, the last existing sentence was, "And I, too, have planted marigolds." That's the end of it. She said she liked it so much that she had that last sentence tattooed on her side (laughter) so. I said, "Whoa, no greater tribute can anybody make," oh my goodness.