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LAH Leigh Ann Hussey - share your thoughts

This is what people before you have had to say:

Padráic said at 16:22 on 08 November 2017:

It's been over 11 years.  This Samhain, I thought I heard distant Celtic fiddle music, or maybe I had one too many.  I offered up a libation in your memory.  Hope you're having a grand time in The Sidhe, we really miss you and your music.  Come back to us soon, you are sorely missed.
Mike "Da Judge" Johnson [ Myropa74@gmail.com ] said at 19:03 on 07 February 2017:

Leigh Ann, it has been a few years since the accident.  But I have not forgotten.  My best memory is of a Dry Side Gather at Cresent Lake Oregon.  Your band Annwn played for us.  That was my introduction to Celtic Rock.  Your fiddle playing was inspired.  A couple weeks ago I tried to find your music on the Internet.  Today thanks to an inmate on Wetleather I not only found the music on Spotify, but this site.

 listening to that music has stuck with me for a decade.  Now I get to relive it.  You live on...

MikeJ. 

Jake said at 03:34 on 05 July 2016:

Found Geocoin here in Maine yesterday. Will be logging it in and passing it on. I lived in the Central Valley for quite a few years. When I saw the coin it peaked my interest and led me here. Thank you for sharing her memory.
InkfaceFahs said at 01:22 on 07 November 2015:

Leigh Ann's voice guided me through adolescence, given to me on a tiny, cheap plastic MP3 player. The person who gave me that player is also dead. Annwn is always inspiration. Thank you for the art of your existence Leigh Ann, and I'm so sorry it was cut so short. 
Nitnorth [ nitnorth@nithaus.org ] said at 21:18 on 16 May 2015:

Nine years, plus about 2 hours. You are still missed, you are still remembered. Yes, I will cry for you.
Ashleigh McSidhe [ ashareem@outlook.com ] said at 11:46 on 16 November 2014:

Ah, but you've been on my mind a lot the past few months. Kate Pennington started posting pictures from The Living Tarot, which only intensified it. Came to vist your memorial pages and linked them out on Facebook as well.
Aaron Rusty Lloyd [ rusty@rustmon.org ] said at 17:41 on 31 October 2014:

I find myself missing your voice and singing to the west as well as the parting glass....

I miss you quite a bit.  

Happy Hallowe'en and Blessed Samhain. 

Phil Harry said at 11:44 on 19 September 2014:

Hello, 

We found a geocache coin today, and it led me here. The coin has shared Leigh Ann's story with us and we'd like to thank you for that.

It was in a cache in some woodland in Devon, England. We will move it on again shortly so someone else may share the memories here as well. 

Adellind le Quintain said at 10:01 on 24 August 2014:

I don't know why, but this morning in the shower I found myself singing "To The West" and I just wanted to let you know that I miss you still, miss your lovely strong voice around a campfire and your laugh. I will always remember you singing that song at Crown as the rains stopped and the sun wreathed you in fire, and you will always have a place in my heart. Blessed be, Siobhan, you are loved and always will be.
Elton Wildermuth [ nitnorth@nithaus.org ] said at 10:26 on 31 July 2014:

Happy birthday, Leigh Ann. I love you.
Samuel Shult [ dionysusiv@yahoo.com ] said at 09:31 on 16 May 2014:

Thinking of you today, old friend. I love you. Thank you you for everything. Thank you for loving me.

Paddy [ padraic_stephens@yahoo.com ] said at 10:29 on 14 May 2014:

Another turning of the wheel for us, but for you the night of dancing under the hill has just begun.

 

Take a break between sets and raise a glass for us.  We’ll do the same in Quincy for you.  Sadly this time we raise a glass for Duibheasa too.  Welcome her, she loves a good reel or jig.

 

My heart is heavy.

Jeanne Anne Decosta [ djeanneanne@yahoo.com ] said at 14:44 on 06 March 2014:

hi .. i stream music over the internet & on Freyja's Days (Fridays) i stream Pagan Spiritual or Goddess music .. i'd give the url but you say not to so i wont .. also in Moon Days i stream Celtic .. i have compiled a list of Pagan musicians & albums & Leigh Anne Hussey is on it but i didnt have her music .. so i found you guys & got her her 4 albums + Annwn & Nuit & Uglytown .. so i'm happy to share this music for free w/ whoever listens .. my stream is called ~Annie's Majikal Muzikal Medley~ & it can be found on AudioRealm or you can just put the url into whatever media player you like .. i hope you dont consider this spam .. i just wanted to thank you for telling about Leigh Anne's life & for making her cool music available .. thanks! 
Helena said at 21:54 on 22 January 2014:

I didn't know you.  I wish I had or at least had a chance to. Your music has helped me through some bad times, so through the universe to you I say thank you.  Rest in peace.
Padraic Stephens [ paddythebear@yahoo.com ] said at 11:34 on 19 June 2013:

Seven years and I still miss the creative light you took with you into The Sidhe.  Someday, I will lie upon the Hill of Tara and listen in the cold of the night for that five stringed fiddle and that sweet powerful voice.  Raise a glass for we who are left behind in the mortal world as we do the same for you who dwell beneath The Hollow Hills.

 Go raibh míle maith agat, Siobhán, agus teacht ar ais chugainn lúcháireach.

nitnorth said at 19:02 on 16 May 2013:

Here we go again ... a year passes like nothing. Seven. Martinis in your honor, that's on the agenda for later tonight. Excuse me, I mean "martoonis". I love you.
Generosa Litton [ generosa..litton@yahoo.com ] said at 23:18 on 22 April 2013:

Hello Leigh Ann,

I recall having a blast with you and the Annwn gang.  It was an interesting time in my life and in my career as a recording engineer.  I remembered seeing you and Elton at the Russian River a few months after we wrapped the recording. Your music lives on.

 

Generosa 

emerson said at 05:19 on 09 March 2013:

Hi, LAH...  Was thinking of you tonight apropos of absolutely nothing, and was delighted to see all of this stuff still being tended and updated by your immense posse of friends and loved ones.  Flipping through the pix in the photo album brought me back, very strongly, to a younger, louder, stranger time in my life that you were always near the center of.  You helped steer me toward being who I am today, and I owe you quite a debt still.  Miss you.  xo.
nitnorth said at 09:08 on 11 August 2012:

Happy anniversary. I love you more than I can express.
Tony Davis [ gallowsbrother@gmail.com ] said at 23:07 on 12 April 2011:

Hey you.  I miss you.  Saw a picture that reminded me of you today and thought I'd come visit. *mwah!*
Kenyon [ beltaine777@gmail.com ] said at 00:26 on 16 December 2010:

Hello Leigh Ann.  

I was thinking about how much I enjoyed the visit to Lincoln, NE that both you and Sam took for our first mass.  It was from you that I was first introduced to Geocaching.  Although I only was in the hobby for a very short time, I introduced it to my best friend who has taken to it like wildfire.  His whole family is caught up in it, and I am convinced it has saved his marriage.  Before geocaching, he felt like he and his wife had nothing in common anymore.  Now even the kids get into it.  It has given them more family quality time then most families get.  On behalf of them, I'd like to thank you.

Juan said at 15:00 on 18 August 2010:

Hey Leigh Ann... I know you are doing OK. I was thinking about you!

:)

93s

~Juan

Eric Z said at 21:35 on 16 May 2010:

Thinking about you, especially today.
Jennie Cosham [ jennniearcheo@gmail.com ] said at 10:30 on 03 November 2009:

I'm pagan, SCAdian, and a lover of Celtic and pagan music.  I never had the honor of meeting the lady, but have an old Homebrew tape I bought from Grandma's Candle Shop in Baltimore about 1990 that I've been dragging around with me from home to home for 19 years. I was sorry to hear of her accident, but gratified to find you've put her music online.  She sounds like a truly exceptional person, and the world is dimmed by her loss.
John Schmidt [ johnrschmidt@yahoo.com ] said at 01:00 on 30 August 2009:

Some more stories...might be true.

 Went by your old house today, Leigh Ann; the new people had removed all the landscaping.  Guess it had gotten pretty out of hand, but the house looks naked and a bit dispirited without it.  I wanted to stop in and tell them tales about the house, the ones you told me, and the things that happend to me there...

 Like the night I cooked Chinese food for you and the gang, and overheated the oil (like I often do) and how everyone ate on the porches, because the habanero smoke was just too much...

...or the day I checked out the bathroom, and had to ask you what a bidet was.   You were proud of that thing. 

 Or the time we crowded into your computer room to sing, with Kylson, and it got sweltering in there (like it was today, only less musical) and all the boys took their shirts off, so you did too. 

 Seeing how the raised beds had been redone so much better, but I had gotten the motorcycle parking right.  (And if I didn't you never told me.)

Reading the books on the built in bookshelf.  Trying to cook in your kitchen, an abode of genius but not so much the housecleaning. Sleeping on the couch (I don't remember why) and waking up to the dark of the room, and the house creaking...

 Walking into your Laurelling with no sleep.

 Buying a bodhran because you could play it so well.  I wanted to do so as well.  Haven't gotten to that, really. 

Being one of the groupies.  That was fun.

Riding to St. Louis with you, complete with a "backwards to Sac" ride for the ahsma (sp?) drugs, and the wild joy you had at Cabela's, and the storms in Nebraska, and pushing on to get OUT of UTAH--breaking down after turning the bike off over the border.  

 Someday I'll go find one of your Geocache coins.  Someday I'll write a song worthy of you. 

Love you.

 

SugarBoogers said at 20:14 on 17 January 2009:

We did not know Leigh Ann, but hear about her a lot through geocaching. Just happened to notice that we are 1 cache find behind her total finds. We will be thinking of her as we tie her 587 finds.
Goat [ goat@satyr.com ] said at 00:56 on 05 January 2009:

It's 2009 and I had to stop by again and touch on my memories of Leigh Ann.  I live far from the bay area now, but a day ago I was handed a highly prized book of chants and rituals - of course Leigh Ann's work was right up at the front :-)

She was always charging ahead, full speed, with whatever she was focused on - I wonder what she's doing now!

Big bear hugs across the veil,

(Gary The) Goat

Susan, of Big Dogs & Slug Bugs Geocaching Team [ SLNaples@aol.com ] said at 21:01 on 05 August 2007:

My grandson, Jacob, and I attended the IE Cachers convergence today in Claremont, CA.  We "discovered" Leigh Ann's memorial geocoin.  Our best wishes to Leigh Ann's family and friends.  I lost my partner of 24-years last November.  I know what they are experiencing.  Susan, Big Dogs & Slug Bugs Geocaching Team
write shop robert [ writeshoprobert@hotmail.com ] said at 00:23 on 03 August 2007:

Well, through a link that someone gave me, I've finally found the place to share my thoughts. I never got to meet Liegh Ann. I'm a GeoCacher and was on the chase to find her signature wooden nickels as they were placed around the East bay. I took a special trip to Berkleley just to grab the very first one that she released( before anyone else could get to it) and even dragged a reluctant friend with me who just wanted to go home. Anyway, I enjoyed seeing notes from her when she found some of my GeoCaches, and grabbed my GameCards. Through these notes I felt sort of like there was a kind of friendship, even though we hadn't actually met.

Moving on to a later time and place, as I was driving the Big Truck up Interstate 15 on my way to Salt Lake City, and I stopped in Primm, NV to check in on a Cache there, and i side I found one of the motogrrl Memorial GeoCoins. I have to say, it ruined the rest of my day. It still makes me sad to think back to the day I found out. motogrrl, you are missed.

I decided right then that I would not keep that very first wooden nickel in my collection, but I would release it back out into the wild so that Liegh Ann can still touch more lives the way she touched mine. I've mounted it into the front cover of a notebook and soon it will be on its way to do some exploring.

Jessica Melusine [ jessicamelusine@livejournal.com ] said at 08:47 on 02 August 2007:

I met Leigh Ann online and I didn't know it--I loved the White Rats Morris and passed it around to all my friends. Then I wound up in Thelema. I read Monsalvat and I was blown away by the beauty and richness (even fangirled a bit, too). and reading her journal and I met her on a lovely trip to SF where she and S. and I had a dinner that was one of the nicest evenings out I ever had.

I'd been hoping to move to the Bay Area. Life happened. I still miss her and wish we'd gotten to talk more than over dinner. Even for that bit of time I still think of her. I send people her songs and her coin is on my altar. Every time I Priestess I think of her.

I'm glad I had even a little bit of time with such a beautiful person. Happy Birthday, Leigh Ann. 

Sarah Huffman [ sarah@techbrat.com ] said at 18:42 on 01 August 2007:

This evening I placed one of the motogrrl Memorial Geocoins, at my sweetie Kathleens request. I didn't know Leigh Ann but I feel that I lost something by not knowing her. Most of those I hold dear did know and love her, and have mourned her loss and tried to share what it is that she was.

I'm currently above the Arctic Circle at a Mars Analog site (the Haughton-Mars Project). This is a site used by NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and other groups to test equipment, protocols and more for Mars and Lunar exploration.

I picked here and now for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it's approaching the end of the world up here, nearing the bounds of where there is to go to the north.

Another reason (the when) is that today would be her birthday. I held on to the coin until now, rather than placing it earlier, because it felt special to me. I have no idea if it was special to her or not but if it was, I hope she was watching.

The bigger 'here' related reason is that the coin reads "We shall not cease from exploring". If there is anything we do here it is to push ahead in exploration. Of this planet, of the next, and on into the everything. Due to that, there are also memorials here for each of the Columbia Astronauts (marsonearth.org/107/). The cache holding the memorial coin is overlooked (as is camp) by the Inukshuk memorializing Rick Husband.

Explorers, adventurers, lovers of doing and thinking, learning and discovering. They gather here, in body or in spirit. I hope that I have added another piece to that energy.

Monty [ brotheroblivion@gmail.com ] said at 15:46 on 25 July 2007:

I found a memorial GeoCoin for her today while out riding my motorcycle.  It's sad to lose another kind person in the world.  I bet she is still doing kind things for people wherever she is.  I never met her and only leard of her passing while talking to other riders.  This is sad indeed

 

Monty

Shannon [ smcrae2396@yahoo.com ] said at 07:29 on 17 May 2007:

Greetings Elton, Caitlin et al.

 

I had forgotten it was LeighAnn's one-year anniversary. But it was also Mayday, and then the Fifth Day of May (my own private Bob Dylan Isis holiday). The sun was shining, my tulips were poking their heads up and the dogwood was in bloom. I needed my first Summer Cocktail (there are winter cocktails and summer cocktails).

 I thought of Leigh Ann's margarita recipe--one of her last blog posts, I think. I made myself a margarita according to her recipe, and drank to her joy in the other world. It was delicious--extraordinarily so, shimmering pale green citrus, sweet tequila, and the smell of cherry blossoms and wood smoke from our tiny May fire.

 Here is light and love and summer to you all.

 

-Shannon 

eric weinraub [ eweinraub@hotmail.com ] said at 22:29 on 16 May 2007:

I am a Sybaser...or more accurately, and ex Sybaser...It was there that I came to know leigh Ann....like many stories, this is a story of redemption....I was all full of myself having escaped Dispatch, though I did so with regret now leaving the care of one Sara Saterlee, to join the 3gl team of Rob Shapiro, who now runs all of SE for Oracle.  I digress.  Leigh Ann and I ran in different circles, though we interesected thru mutual friends Bennett Falk and Robert Garvey.  We collided on several occassions and I can say we did not have feelings of mutual respect....Years pass, life passes, we both grow and mature....suddenly its almost 10 years later, 2002 and I'm visiting the Bay Area as I now live in the Seattle area....I'm down visitting catching up with one old time Sybase person still with the comapny, Georg Carlso, a mutual friend of Elton and Leigh Ann...He suggests we go see Elton and Leigh Ann play at some club in Berkeley....We Do... While there, I am confronted by leigh Ann...we talk..we agree we were both childish in those days...we smile..we make up...and now she's gone....later that yaer, Sept, I lost my Mom....and in Jan '07 I lost my oldest friend from college....I wish i could say I was at peace with those death...I am not...but with Leigh Ann, I am glad to say, we were in a good place of mutual respect ....RIP

 

Gordon [ ggarb atsign mac dawt com ] said at 17:31 on 16 May 2007:

I bought a story of hers out of the slush pile to publish in Weird Tales Magazine volume 49, number 3, back in 1985.
Alas, the publisher of that volume never got a third issue out.

Later, I met her in person, at bay cons, friends parties, events. 

Liked her in person as much as I liked her story.

Was just thinking about her last week. 

I suppose she's like that - stays with ya, even when she's not nearby.
Elsa [ elsa@draigsffau.org ] said at 16:17 on 16 May 2007:

We had just moved up to Felton the spring before, and went to Ancient Ways in May of '87.  NROOGD did the main ritual and it struck me as weird that a funny chubby woman would be priesting Puck, yet it was the most convincing carrying of the bunch.  At cakes and wine there was what she called "Purina Pagan Chow" - peanut butter filled pretzels.  I still think of her and Patricia Cristofani when I have those...

So then we get into CoG and she comes to be the Newsletter editor, and puts out an amazing high content, high quality 'zine.  And  feels underappreciated, especially when folk are overwhelmed at all the fabu content.

 And she's a brilliant writer, showing me wonderful stories, and she plays fiddle and Mac, and then she's going to perform at MM90 and tells me how she plans to start, a glint in her eye as she describes it.  And then she does perform, and fills the room first with her fear, then her passion, then the crowd's energy catches up and the room is so full that it's hard to breathe.

And she makes tapes, and I get them all, Homebrew being an excellent description...  And then there's Daoine Sidhe, and Annwn and by then I'm more than half in love with her.  At one point she comes down to play with us, and I'm indisposed which takes a lot of fun out of it.

There was the Yule party where she cooked venison and wanted to know what I thought.  She was very proud that it didn't taste gamey.  I said "tastes just like chicken" which got a laugh.  I couldn't bear to tell her that it tasted a lot like roast beef, maybe the de-gaming went too far. 

There were the nights at the Poet and Patriot, and singing changes in the lyrics to see who was actually listening ("And if I were with my love, we'd go to a movie..." or some such)  and then other venues, all too small, even Boulder Creek Brewery.

And she decided to skip the ritual for Black Oak the 1 night I came to guest. The ritual was fine, but I could feel her brooding upstairs.  She left NROOGD shortly thereafter and went toward OTO, which my dad had described as "the motorcycle gang of Paganism".  How apt for her.

And when I first heard Nuit play, it was too loud for my tender ears.  She had gone to a place musically where I couldn't really follow, which made me sad. 

 And in all this time, I didn't know she played in the SCA,  I was vaguely aware that she'd got a bike, but didn't know how much of a passion it was. (As if anything in her life was ever less?)

And yes, my tense is jumping around.  I don't want Leigh Ann to be past tense.  I want to hold her and kiss her again. I want to feel her breath on my neck.  I want to hear her voice.  As do we all, I suppose. 

 I love you, Leigh Ann.  I love you Elton.  My heart pours out. 

Jesse Mundis said at 15:44 on 16 May 2007:

Has it really been a year all ready?  Has it only been a year?  Time is so fleeting and flexible.  I found myself thinking of Leigh Ann just a few days ago for no particular reason.  I met Leigh Ann and Elton something like fifteen years ago.  I became a fan of their music, saw shows at cons, coffee houses, and the Plough.  While I didn't see them frequently, they were always welcoming, and felt like good friends whom I just didn't see all that often.  We miss you Leigh Ann.
Bennett Falk [ me@bennettfalk.com ] said at 15:21 on 16 May 2007:

Daoine Sidhe on stage at the Starry Plough: Leighann and Elton were gracious enough to let me play in that band, and I haven't had that much fun since.

Thinking of you today, LAH.

Aaron Spielman [ ogre@rockethouse.net ] said at 15:10 on 16 May 2007:

It's been just shy of a year now that I wrote the following; I feel that perhaps I should share the remembrance I wrote in my blog with the rest of her friends and family

I've refrained from saying much about my reaction to the death of Leigh Ann; partly because I've not been able to organize my thoughts coherently, and partly because when I think about it, I think about how much worse this must be for her partners.

I can't really encompass her death right now. I don't have the vocabulary to explain why that's so, even.

I first met Leigh Ann almost 14 years ago, at the 30th birthday party of a friend of a friend. She had her fiddle with her, and it became obvious to me very quickly that she was a gifted performer. She seemed to think I was interesting, and later that evening made that clear by electing to sit on my lap and make out with me. That was a good party.

I can remember, with vivd clarity, the evening she took me home after a gig where she'd been sitting in with the band at Ireland's 32, had someone unexpectedly waiting in bed for her, put me up for the night, and made it up to me the next morning.

She and I didn't stay lovers; but we did become good friends, though I never lost the attraction that I had for her. For several years, we drifted apart, due to the other things in our lives, but we'd still run into each other on occasion. Eventually we both made an effort and reconnected enough to socialize here and there, mostly at parties at her house. But we would still run into each other various places, and she would always affirm our friendship in that wonderful way she had.

In many respects, her open self-exploration was an inspiration to me. She seemed to want to wring as much living out of her life as possible, and I really responded to that aspect of her personality. Part of that response is ingrained in my own life now, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Another thing her death has brought up for me, is an overwhelming sense of my own mortality. She was killed while riding her motorcycle. I ride, as do many of my friends. The accident brings home, in a way impossible to ignore, that fact that I do engage in a very dangerous pastime. But, given the urge to live life to it's fullest - an urge that I realized in part from my friendship with Leigh Ann, I cannot imagine not riding.

One way in which I did not know Leigh Ann well, was in her role as religious leader. That's something that I could not really share with her, given my atheism, and inability to "get it". In some ways, this is the hardest thing to deal with for me - I cant find any of her religious beliefs comforting in any way, though I am very, very glad that others can.

I've written all that, and I still can't believe that she's gone. I've been crying on and off all day, as I read what others have written about her. I feel privileged to have known her, and I know that she will live on in our memories for the rest of our lives.

Tanwen/Tshuma [ tshuma@gmail.com ] said at 14:55 on 16 May 2007:

Of all the people lost to us over the years, Leigh Ann's death has struck me the most hard, which is difficult to understand when I consider how little contact I'd had with her in the last several years.  But when I think of how strongly she touched my life before those years, with her music, her generosity of spirit, her earthy and embracing sense of humor, I am only amazed that I do not struggle with it even more.  I haven't deleted her birthday from my calendar, I haven't taken her entry from my address book, nor unfriended her blog, and I couldn't bring myself to attend any of her memorials.  I am unready to let her go so soon.

Permission to grieve freely, Captain?  I miss you still.

Xtyn / Tshuma / Tanwen / once upon a time Lady High Bo'sun of the Royal Navy of the Kingdom of the West
Henk [ henk.veldkamp@chello.nl ] said at 07:44 on 16 May 2007:

A couple of weeks ago I found a biking4cache geocoin in Danmark. That was the reason why I visited this website. I was impressed by the person of Leigh Ann and her memory, that keeps alive. The coin will soon travel on in the Netherlands. Greetings from Henk (scincus on geocaching.com)

Colorado Cacher [ cacher1858@aol.com ] said at 16:16 on 05 May 2007:

I found the biking4cache coin today and have very much enjoyed learning about Leigh Ann. Leigh Ann seems to have the same fun, confident, spiritual outlook on life that I have.  I can see in her that theroy of "live life for every moment you have and confide in it, because if you do not, you will not have a life to confide in." Thank you Leigh Ann. 

The Creator not only gave humans complete,
unchallengeable control over the power of thought,
but with this gift came the means of processing thought power and directing it to any desired end.
~~~~~~~~Napoleon Hill~~~~~~~~

Ian (Havoc23) [ carcosa23@yahoo.com ] said at 19:38 on 26 April 2007:

Leigh Ann continues to pop up in unexpected ways...this time it was while reading Diana Paxton's "The Golden Hills of Westria", in which there are there are excerpts from her songs "Black Swan Rising" and "To the West"...
I can see why the pagan world of post-technology California in the stories would have charmed her, as it does me.

I still can't quite grasp that she's not with us. I'm proud that I was the friend she asked how to join the OTO, look where it took her!         A group of us Illuminati held a memorial for her at the last Burning Man, and her BIMC Colors were passed on with ceremony and Illuminati wine - I now wear her OTO lamen pin on my own vest with pride...

Leigh Ann was like the female version of who I might have chosen to be, I felt a kinship through our many weirdnesses in common - I envied her seeming facility to grasp life by the scruff of its neck and give it a passionate kiss, after giving it a hearty shake for good measure.

Not sure about the price of rice, but I hoist a sake' in her memory - Slainte!

 

 

Jim Burr [ jimburr@angrynerds.com ] said at 23:24 on 22 March 2007:

Leigh Ann was one of my sponsors for my first degree initiation at Thelema Lodge.  I attended Mass infrequently, but always with great delight when Leigh Ann served as Priestess. To me, she became Nuit, and for one kiss I would give all. Eventualy, that kiss occurred in her kitchen, at a Mardi Gras party where I inherited the frog in the cake. In ordinary time, that kiss must have lasted at least ten minutes before Leigh Ann exclaimed "I've been wanting to do that for a long time!" I was very happy to oblige! As fate would have it, we drifted our separate ways soon after and I became increasingly involved with my dentist, who is now my wife. It's only today that I learned that Leigh Ann's home was earlier that of Berkeley's first female dentist. Everything connects. For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union. My sincere condolences go out to Caitlin and Elton.
Suzanne [ losbozos2002@yahoo.com ] said at 08:58 on 10 March 2007:

Although I didn't know Leigh Ann, reading about her on this and her own web site tells me she was a diverse and interesting woman. Unfortunetly, her obituary and other condolences failed to mention her other brother, Darren. As with the rest of her family & friends, he grieves her untimely death. Shalom.

David West, traditional musician, Michigan [ dhw@thedance.net ] said at 12:35 on 15 January 2007:

I ran into Leigh Ann at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School; at the end-of-camp concert at Cabrillo College, I was about 20 feet behind her (in the hundred-strong fiddle section ;-)  when she sang Mo Ghille Mear, mentioned by Greg below.  She did it amazingly well.  I asked her afterwards if she'd had classical voice training; she said she hadn't.  Then, of course, we all went our separate ways, and I only found out yesterday that she had died.  I dug through my junk^H^H^H^Harchives, and found that her rendition was in fact on the Official VOM Concert Tape, 1995, side B, about 3/4 of the way into that side.  It was as good as I had remembered it.   It's a song about a Hero, and she does a heroic job with it, in Scots Gaelic, no less.  If you could get the permission of the other soloists (almost certainly Abby Newton, cello, and Arthur Cormac, vocals; the tape is undocumented), you could put that track up here; there must be dozens of copies in the Bay area - everyone who had been at the camp was sent one.

Slan agus beannacht, Siobhan.

Kathryn Smith from New Hampshire [ aishabintjamil@Yahoo.com ] said at 20:59 on 18 November 2006:

I can't honestly say I knew Leigh Ann personally, but her music has meant a lot too me over the years. She had so much talent. I first discovered her when I picked up a copy of "Homebrew" at some convention - I've completely forgotten now which one. I loved it. I still have it, and play the copy I've transferred to CD often. 

I did meet her briefly a couple of times at conventions - either Etheracon or Esotericon, I think, although it might have been a Darkover con too. I remember one at which there was a ritual to celebrate Imbolc, where she came in with a crown of lit candles on her head. Something slipped, and a bit of her hair caught fire. Everyone there was terrified, but she didn't look a bit worried. Just calmly reached up, smothered the flames with something, and went right one. It really impressed me.

I hope that her music will stay available. It's a wonderful legacy, and as long as she's still touching people through it, she won't be gone or forgotten.

Hail and farewell. 

Geocacher in Massachusetts said at 12:50 on 09 November 2006:

I picked up the Biking for Cache Geocoin today with the photo of Leigh Ann playing the violin.  It's a beautiful warm fall day.  I felt like maybe she joined me in the hike.  ..
Kris Norvig [ kris@norvig.com ] said at 19:26 on 04 September 2006:

I only met Leigh Ann a couple of times, at the Valley of the Moon aka "VOM"  (San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers) camp in Boulder Creek in 2003.   Some people come and go in your life, and they are lost in the relentless stream of time, never to be recalled.   However, Leigh Ann made a huge impresson on me.   When I left the camp, I noted next to her name on the camp roster, "Funny!  GREAT voice!  Rides a motorcycle."    I was very saddened to hear of her passing.   She was truly "larger than life" presence.   I remember that she sang at a jam at VOM and she blew everyone away.  Now she sings with the angels, and they ROCK just a little more than they did before.   She will be missed by many.   
F.O. said at 04:48 on 26 August 2006:

I've been away from the Bay Area for about six years, and I *just* found out today in a phone conversation with someone from back home.

I missed her for a couple of years. I guess I'll continue to miss her for a long time to come.

Nicole-Dorothee [ corvus.cantans@web.de ] said at 06:34 on 16 August 2006:

The first time I met Leigh Ann was - two nights ago, browsing the web for pirate songs and coming across this beautiful , powerful voice with the band ANNWN, their refreshing arrangements and stunning compositions. I immediately felt drawn to this voice and , following links and information for hours, found out about the interests and knowledge she had to share. I felt I had to let her know how impressed I was, wrote an e-mail to the elfhill account, but got a failure notice back;  yet, I wanted to make a first contact - so I was looking her up at Google, her gorgeous voice filling my dimmed lit chamber with song - when I discovered a  memorial page and , thunderstruck, fell into a grief as if I had known her as a friend: There was so much I would have liked to share with her, concerning singing, music, spirituality, much we seemed to have in common - and now it was too late...I deeply regret not to have known her during her earthbound existence...now she knows, anyway...I read these pages about her personality, about her music projects - and start to understand what a colourful and meaningful memory Leigh Ann has left to peolpe to think about: Don't dream it, be it.

Thanks for having met you at last - even if it's too late here, Leigh Ann...

Blessings and strength for your beloved ones who have to deal with this sudden parting...

 

Nic, Berlin, Germany 

Adellind le Quintain [ SmartAleq@Gmail.com ] said at 00:08 on 10 August 2006:

I ran away to Oregon ten years ago and haven't seen hide nor hair of anyone from West Kingdom in almost that long--I just found out today what happened to Siobhan when I stopped by the Elf Hill homepage and, while downloading all the MP3s I could get my hands on, also sent an email to Elton...

Oh Siobhan, you great and lovely woman, you giant force of nature, you crazy bitchy broad--you will be so missed by so many.  I remember standing on what had been a rainy field as she first sang "To The West" to the assembled populace--I can't recall which Crown event it was, but the sun broke through and highlighted her as that amazing voice rang out like a tocsin.  I had tears running down my face by the time she was done and I was by no means the only one.  To this day I get a hitch in my breath when I hear that song, and one of my fondest memories of Siobhan was singing it as backup for her at a bardic circle.  

Rest you easy, lady, I wish I could have heard you  sing in person just once more. 

Pat McG [ pat@hayseed.net ] said at 11:14 on 31 July 2006:

I remember the first time I met Leigh Ann, and it was her birthday that weekend. We were at an SCA Arts & Sciences Tourney, way up north somewhere (It had huge Doug firs and other pines.), and late Saturday night many of us were sitting around the campfire. The autocrat had declared that no un-period music or bardic things should happen at the campfire. It got very late -- and at some point LA looked at her watch, said, "Heck with this, it's my birthday, and it's after midnight  and I'll sing anything I darn well want!"  *

And she launched into Summertime. You can hear it here. (it's an MP3)

Happy Birthday, Leigh Ann.


* OK, she did say something different, and we all know it. But I've bowdlerized it to preserve the anonymity and sensitive feelings of the person she said it to. ;-)

 

 

(Yes, computer, it's a short story, but that's really all I have to say.) (Honest.)

Muriel Strand [ auntym@earthlink.net ] said at 16:53 on 20 July 2006:

I was shocked to hear of her death shortly after the fact. I posted the following to a small pagan list, and so I am reposting my reminiscences here too...

i actually first met leigh ann way back in about 1985 or so.  in those days she was rather frumpier than lately.  her boyfriend david oster was a hacker in the ed dept at cal, along with my then boyfriend phil, a mac nut.

he told me once he was going to write some software to help people navigate the official political system of congress and so forth. i have no idea what happened to him - i'm sure he's still hacking tho.

just about the time i went to grad school, leigh ann put together a class on paganism. i had been looking for something since i had moved back to berkeley from san jose, and this seemed to have some potential. in san jose, i used to go to a 'study' group which i found out about thru drawing down the moon and alison harlow, and it was a very sociable and relaxing sort of group. well, leigh ann's class was nothing like - she was full of information and lectured on about all kinds of facts about pantheons and so forth. there may have even been a test. unfortunately, altho i'm sure i could have learned a lot, i was already immersed in grad school and just didn't have the time or energy.

after that i used to see her from time to time at festivals and so on.  i'm not sure she remembered who i was or that we had known each other back then. she did seem to have rather metamorphisized from her former persona into someone rather striking.

muriel

Maria Hardy Benjamin [ thebenjamins5@comcast.net ] said at 23:51 on 15 July 2006:

I am deeply saddened to hear about Leigh Ann.  We attended Holy Names High School together and I was very fond of her.  Leigh Ann stood out in ways that most of us dared not and I can firmly say that her high school classmates embraced her for her uniqueness and courage to be herself.  She was bold and silly and wonderful.  After all these years, she is still someone I think about fondly and I was so pleased to spend time with her at a reunion a few years ago. 

In 1979, Leigh Ann wrote and performed our graduation song, "Dreams, Dreams, Don't Let Go".  I can still see her playing her guitar and singing her heart out.  I think we all knew that night that Leigh Ann Hussey was destined for special things.  My condolences to Colin and Mr. Hussey and Leigh Ann's family and friends.  Her spirit will live on in all of our memories. 

Mark Schmieder [ mark@moonlife.com ] said at 19:22 on 06 July 2006:

Leigh Ann was the first musician (along with Elton Wildermuth) that I worked with after moving to the SF Bay Area in late 2001. Although my tenure with Annwn was very brief, it remains one of the high points of my musical career, and we attended each other's gigs for many years afterwards.

Leigh Ann quite simply is one of the most talented musicians and richest personalities of anyone I have come across in my many years making music, and I can think of only two other projects I have been in where I still remember every nuance, every note, and even every facial expression for every song :-).

I just learned of the accident today through my "day job" co-worker "Larry the O" (who produced a couple of Annwn's albums), and am still in deep shock. I take solace in the suddenness of her death, and that she did not have a long drawn-out suffering. And I am confident that she is still with us in spirit. She touched many people and will be sorely missed.

Ruthanne [ Ruthanne7@aol.com ] said at 01:54 on 29 June 2006:

Leigh Ann deaconed for me a number of times.  She was great to work with; willful and romantic.

I remember her enthusiasm at my 3rd dgree!  More passion!

When I watched her play music I was blown away... she was truly a master.

Leigh Ann is dead. Long live Leigh Anne!

 

<Note to LA>  You made a fuss, didn't you!

Greg Hines [ gregory_a_hines@yahoo.com ] said at 20:12 on 06 June 2006:

As I look back on my life I find that every significant event of that 50 odd years happened during my time with Leigh Ann.

I first "met" her virtually in an internet chat room on IRC. All the usual nic's I used had already been taken so for some reason I'll never know I chose Bacchus. Naturally Leigh Ann would chat with someone using that nic. At almost the same John Schmidt (who I'd known for a number of years) was looking to get together a "band" and he chose the two of us to be in it.

So many memories in so few years.

Leigh Ann singing Mo Ghile Mear at the Santa Cruz concert of the SF Scottish Fiddlers and totally stealing the show. All the great fiddle camp jams with her trading licks with the fiddle greats that were the teachers there. The two weeks we spent in Ireland. Searching out the "real" St Brigits Well and not the tourist one most see. Seeing the Cliffs of Mohr from a sensible range as we both were uncomfortable with heights. All those amazing Annwn gigs (btw thanks Elton for putting up with my dubious musical skills for that time. It meant a lot to me) and the infamous Matty Groves Players. The back yard luau. The Iron Chef victory re-enactment at Charles of Nob Hill and the subsequent amazing dinners by Chef Ron Segal. The Hawaiian vacation and drinking frou frou drinks on the lanai of the ritziest hotel in Waikiki as the sun set in the Pacific.  The fun filled wetLeather gathers. The Six Cat crawling into bed with us on a Saturday morning St. Patrick's day to have her kittens. Being nudged awake at 3:00am and asked if I knew any pirate-esque place names that rhymed with something or other. Suggesting the most unlikely musical medleys and knowing that Leigh Ann would make them seem natural. The birthday stout tasting, The birthday glamour photo shoot on a Harley. The Halloweens spent in the Captain's Cabin of The Hawaiian Chieftain playing music for the folks on tour of the ship. The Trial of Captain Siobhan and the crazy mad race to the airport. The birthday sail on The Hawaiian Chieftain and her firing the cannon at Sausalito. And there is so much more.

I don't know what gods smiled on me that I should have been blessed with the time I had with Leigh Ann but blessed I was and my heart goes out to those who were closest to her as their loss is so much more immediate than mine.

Pat McGregor [ pat@hayseed.net ] said at 16:54 on 06 June 2006:

Another story, sparked (who knows why ;-) ) by Colin's story. One Saturday night at an event -- had to be after 1999 -- Siobhan was doing her "stop everywhere and sing for a drink" thing. I connected with her in the tent of the Black Company (I think that was what it was called. Malcolm MacPherson and Thomas Logan and some others were major folks in it). She was fiddling for Malcolm -- I don't know what the song was, either. What I remember was watching her play in the lamplight, and for the first time focusing on her hands. 

I confess to be entranced by hands. Suddenly I was  fascinated and entranced by her hands. They were moving almost faster than the eye could follow, rings flashing in the light, I fell in love with her hands that night, and began to love her as well as being astonished and awed by her knowledge in all things.

I followed her and Greg  from location to location. She drank as well as playing and singing, and got faster,  fancier, and bawdier. We were discussing a mutual boyfriend while we walked around the eric, in bawdier and bawdier detail. We laughed and stumbled over rough spots and bumps and at one point she sat down hard, laughing at herself, never endangering her fiddle. We kept trying to shush each other and giggling loudly. We ended up at the BC, where she went and sat by the fire, taking her place singing. I was too shy to move in beyond the edges of the shadow. She still gleamed more brightly than the lanterns and the fire.

 

Colin Hussey [ ceh@colinhussey.com ] said at 12:55 on 03 June 2006:

some additional random thoughts:

 She did an outstanding job as Bottom in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream".  She had a natural feel for text as an actor.

I also know that I would not have completed my Eagle Scout project (a series of concerts for elderly residents at a community center) without her help.

She was a superb tarot reader with a lot of integrity.  If the cards didn't feel right when first dealt, she'd have them reshuffled and re-dealt, rather than trying to force sense into the first deal.

She was baptized Presbyterian, attended a Catholic high school, had a brief fling with Nichiren Buddhism through her first boyfriend, moved through Neopaganism, then Gnosticism, and she somehow managed to reconcile all these diverse theological traditions to develop her own unique take on faith. 

Her productions  were unforgettable.  There was the time she managed to make a religious ritual in the style of a Broadway-type musical.  The opening chorus, "Business as Usual" makes a fine audition piece.  I used it in a 42nd Street Moon audition, and the Artistic Director, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Broadway tunes, asked who wrote it.  His jaw dropped when I replied, "My sister."

Colin Hussey [ ceh@colinhussey.com ] said at 11:40 on 03 June 2006:

some thoughts on my sister

 

“You may not call me Leigh (nobody but my family calls me that, much to my annoyance).  You may, however, call me Leigh Ann.  (Persnickety, ain’t I?)” –from a letter to her agent in 1986.

 

In the wake of my sister’s sudden passing, I received a bunch of her writing from when she was married during the ‘80s, and I had no idea that she was that annoyed with her immediate blood’s neglecting to string both her first & second names together.  That’s families for you.  We may think we know our closest kin the best, but oftentimes, we don’t.  In retrospect, it makes perfect sense that she’d prefer to answer to an iambic, rather than a monosyllabic name.  Siobhan, the name she gave in some of her circles, has a similar syllable count and scansion as Leigh Ann.  They come close to rhyming, too.  All of this would bear little significance without the context of her creative background.

 

Leigh Ann—or Leigh as I, my brother, mom & dad tended to call her (Dad also nicknamed her “Rincus the Dincus” or Rinc, for short.  As him about it.  I can’t remember how that came about)—was one of the greatest influences on me artistically, politically and theologically.  The house in which she lived for most of her life was where we grew up, and we had access to an enormous number of books and LPs.   My sister became a voracious reader (my focus tended on illustrations), and we both wore down the grooves on several of our parents’ records.  In high school, she read the original King James Bible, cover to cover, for the sheer challenge of doing so.

 

I followed her into music but never kept up.  I may have been stuck with the perfect pitch, but I would never be as proficient in my couple of instruments, as she was in the fourteen-some-odd she learned to play.  Though she started on the violin—that only lasted a couple of days—she quickly went to the viola, with its darker tone which was more pleasing to her ear.  The viola became her ticket into youth and school orchestras.

 

She would eventually occupy the principal’s chair in nearly every orchestra she played.  Some of my happiest childhood and early adulthood moments were when we played together in the same band.  She had instincts and leadership conductors and fellow musicians could count on.  At least while the music played.  When it didn’t the politics of orchestras could be starkly similar to the politics of the playground or family or any other sizeable group of primates, for that matter.  And she had no patience for that crap. 

 

Her childhood fury at the little shits at school—not to mention derelict authority, clueless in how to manage crazy kids—was, in many cases, perfectly justified.  The tough part is letting go of it.  It’s a tad easier to harness the rage, however, which is what she did, as best she could.  If there’s a consistent through-line in her body of work, as well as her personality, it’s a fierce directness.  She had no time for dissembling and beating around the bush.  When she saw a preview of Billy Budd, a show in which I was acting, the director, Andrea Gordon encouraged feedback afterwards.  I didn’t get to hear the conversation Andrea had with my sister—I was probably getting out of costume at the time—but afterwards, Andrea said to me her, “Your sister is not for the faint of heart.”

 

It’s that impatience, that directness that I love about her writing.  With a lot of fantasy stories, I have to wade through a bunch of florid backstory filler, and wonder when, just when I’d get to some action and some decent conversations, even.  In sharp contrast is her short story, The Lover of Lord Eithras, which was published in Fantasy Book, back in ’86.  The very first sentence, brings the reader right smack-dab into an ancient sword school session, where the protagonist, an impetuous young warrior prince-in-training, wonders to himself why he has to waste time with this sword silliness.  He eventually gets into it with his instructor, and we get Leigh Ann’s brand of fly-on-the-wall dialogue, managing to make it just classical enough, so we know we’re not in modern times.  A playwright friend of mine read Eithras and told me the dialogue wrote itself—an impressive feat in a genre such as fantasy.

 

In this lively narrative, Leigh Ann also manages to weave in the backstory and add a unique hitch:  Eithras winds up with a sword that transforms into a woman at sundown.

She would eventually follow it with a story of how the woman, Molnya, came to have this curse of automatically transforming into a sword every dawn, and a third dealing with how she eventually overcomes this spell.  Each of them opens with an active flesh and blood scene.  It’s interesting how these were written at a time when graphic novels were gaining popularity. It is writing that has a similar immediacy.  And, as I recall, she did read her fair share of comic books, growing up, as I did.

 

When we were small, we functioned primarily as one another’s punching bags, but as my sister and I got into the arts, a lasting bond was forged.  However, it wasn’t that tight.  We drifted into different circles, only interacting creatively from time to time in our adult lives.  She never made any of her artistic ventures her meal ticket, instead settling for a job as a security guard, while I’ve been stumbling and bumbling along as a freelancer in search of a big break.  At some point, we were supposed to have a powwow on how we could help each other creatively beyond my acting in a ritual play of hers, but we never got around to it.  She was always too busy with her various projects to even talk to me for more than a minute, and so I mostly left her alone.  I now wish I had bugged her a bit more, but I’ll never know to what extent that would have helped matters.  I do know, given the substantial body of work she’s left behind, she deserved better than a relying on a mundane security job for income.

 

It’s funny how she managed to cram more life in her 44 years than many people do with double the span, and it still wasn’t enough.  I miss her greatly and am left to wonder what might have been.

Catie Helm-Clark [ no1home@onewest.net ] said at 13:58 on 30 May 2006:

The word that stands out in my mind to describe Leigh Ann is "unforgettable."

It's about 11 PM MDT.  I just got home from Cynagua Coronet (it's a long drive from Qunicy to Idaho Falls) where I found out about the accident. At first Master Ed asked me if I knew Siobhan garbled-unpronoucable-gaelic-name who had just died; I thought he was talking about someone else since the name was not one I recognised.  There are really too many Siobhans in the SCA to keep track of.  It wasn't until I was over at the BC talking with Eilis and Emma that I realised who Ed must have been talking about.  Eilis and Emma gave me the details.  Emma said she was going to learn geocaching for her bit in meeting the challenge posed at Mists Investiture, to learn something new in honor of Siobhan/Leigh Ann.  I found that quite charming and very appropos.

I've been pondering what I might do to meet the challenge.  Perhaps I could try learning tact...and even now I can hear Siobhan laughing at that.  I met Leigh Ann as Siobhan and I will always think of her as Siobhan.  It's probably an SCA thing...

A Siobhan story:

Windymeads and Mont d'Or held a joint event sometime in the 90s.  Windymeads did the Pas d'Armes part - which I ran, being acting marshal for Windymeads at the time.  Mont d'Or did the cooking (with one of the other Siobhans, aka Pat McGregor, running the kitchen if I'm not mistaken).  Siobhan/Leigh Ann showed up with some folks from (I assume) Annwn and there was much music, of course.  During the socializing after the feast, I was sitting at one point at the same table with Siobhan & Co.  

To understand what happened next, it helps to know that I was very proud of myself at the time.  I had been researching medieval lyrics, which are not too hard to find, and medieval tunes, which are rare.  In my researching, I found the words to the Corpus Christi carol.  Having spent some time learning the medieval modes of both church and secular tunes, I attempted to write music to the lyrics that would be true to the zeitgeist of medival music of the late English Medieval period. I had a lot of formal musical training in my mispent youth, can play many instruments (none of them medieval) and am not a bad singer with a smattering of professional experience.  In short, I know my way around music and have the music theory background to understand the structure of medieval tunes and had some faith that I could write my own tunes in the medieval style.   

So I was sitting there thinking that Siobhan was someone who might appreciate my attempt to construct a medival tune to some known medieval lyrics.  So I sang my tune for the Corpus Christi carol for the folks at the table.

Well, there was this silence which lasted at least two long minutes - but in reality was probably only a pregnant pause.  Then one of the Annwn folks (not Siobhan) said (and I swear this was while looking down a long nose at me) with something approaching polite disdain "there is real music to the Corpus Christi."  And with that, I heard for the first time, a cappella in harmony, the medieval music to the carol.  It was the put-down of a lifetime and I was on the receiving end.  Needless to say, my parade had been seriously rained upon and not too long after, I left the event and went home so I could put my bruised ego to bed.

Sometime later, I'm not sure how much later, at a West Kingdom Crown, Siobhan came hunting me down like a cruise missile locked on target.  Seriously, I felt her coming a half an eric away.  

"I want you to have this."

It was a CD of Come Away to the Hills.  Strangely enough, I had been talking about some of the music on that album with Margrethe Aastid Ravn earlier that day.  Margrethe was a big Annwn fan, you see, and was telling me I should really catch one of the group's concerts, etc. etc.  Sometime in the same time frame, I had also told Margrethe about what happened at the Windymeads/Mont d'Or event.

I told Siobhan that since they were making a go of having a band, I had been thinking of buying their latest CD anyway, on the advice of a friend (Margrethe) who said it was really good.  I wasn't going to take for free something I had already resolved to pay for.  At which point Siobhan got quite red in the face, said she really wanted me to have the CD, felt bad about what happened at the Windymeads/Mont d'Or feast, realised what I was trying to do with attempting to write music using medieval mode theory, and to shut up, quit being stubborn, and let her make things right.  There wasn't much to say after that.

I asked Margrethe at some point down the line if she had mentioned to Siobhan how I felt at the Windymeads/Mont d'Or event about the Corpus Christi carol - and she said no.

I still have that CD.  It's one of the ones I listen to at work (which means I like it a lot).  Thanks to the mp3.com website, I've heard a lot of Annwn's other music - but for whatever reason, Come Away to the Hills is the album I like best.  I didn't know about A Barroom Bransle until I found this website this morning but I've been listening to it ever since.  I know Siobhan did a lot more than play SCA and write/perform music  but I think it will be her music that will still be played and remembered long after all of us and our memories of her have quit this earth.

Catie Helm-Clark

Daniel Sanford [ dancs42@yahoo.com ] said at 23:02 on 27 May 2006:

Leigh Ann was a wonderful person, whom I knew mostly from her music.  I probably haven’t bumped into her for four years or so.  It saddened me to hear of her passing, but she was a strong sprit who will live on in many ways, through her music, through her associations and beliefs, and through her friends.

To all those whom I am known to, as well as all of Leigh Ann’s other associates or friends, my deepest condolences on her passing and highest rejoices of a life well lived, though short.

Daniel Sanford
Sabina [ sabina.magliocco@csun.edu ] said at 17:05 on 26 May 2006:

Leigh Ann once said to me, "I love being the instigator of folklore."  And judging from her memorial page, she was.  Leigh Ann instigated more folk traditions in her brief life than any folklorist could hope to document.  A kick-ass musician, master ritualist, cook, brewer, costumer and dancer, to name only a few of her skills, she often tired of traditions she had begun, and moved on to something else; but her legacy lives on in her many creations.  She was a star.

I didn't know Leigh Ann well, as she had already left NROOGD when I began my association with the Bay Area Pagan community in the mid-1990s; but I interviewed her in conjunction with a ritual she had created: NROOGD's re-enactment of a Cornish May Day custom.  In that interview, Leigh Ann said one of the most profound things about tradition that I have ever heard anyone say:

"If you do something once, well, you've done it.  If you do it twice, it's tradition. If you do it three times, it's an ancient, venerable tradition whose origins are lost in the mists of time!"

Merry meet again!

Strata / Feral [ strata@virtual.net ] said at 01:16 on 26 May 2006:

Ancient Ways 1991, hearing Daoine Sidhe play at the Meadow Building

LA & David officiating at my friends'  & housemates' wedding.

Brief intersections at Crosston, including a Memorial Day movie marathon of Brother Cadfael episodes & The Lion in Winter, plus tasting an LAH-brewed re-creation of the beer that sustained Martin Luther in captivity.

Many, many Annwn concerts, ranging from Santa Cruz ro Berkeley to the little Irish bar in SF where the regulars were dancing and singing along to 'Carlow'.  Being asked to come up on stage and drum with the band, multiple times, always chickening out (idiot!).  Being able to loan DATs to make demo CD's from.  

Being told by LA, "You're so damned cool!"  As if-- but I'll make that my challenge, to stop slacking and live up toward it.
Shannon [ smcrae2396@yahoo.com ] said at 21:40 on 25 May 2006:

Bring the burning brands to light her;
liberal libations pour.
Still her fiddle now lies beside her;
 Leigh Ann's lightning strikes no more.

I've spent only a handful of hours with her. But I've always known Leigh Ann.

I didnt' exactly meet her the first time in 1997, at The Gather. Mostly, I watched her: long braid, Celtic affectations, a wonderful sort of geeky arrogance, striding around drinking expensive whiskey from a silver cup. I wasn't sure if I liked her, but I couldn't keep my eyes off her. When Annwn started playing that evening, something happened that doesn't make any sense when I describe it. Her voice, her fiddling playing and the buzzing harmonics of the band pulled some wild energy from the lake and the trees. Something was echoing, from the forest and from the past, and I got pulled into the resonance. I kept pacing the edges of the music--unable to sit still and unable to get away. I kept running into two other people I had never met before, all of us caught in the music and precisely the same pacing pattern.

I found out much later that she and I shared the same boy that night. I blame it on her fiddle playing, especially the way she sang The Foggy Dew.

She on the edge of Martin's hot tub and me floating in it, I found out she knew the story of Suibhne Geilt and she found out I know all the words to Tam Lin. She said we were evil sisters.

She sitting on the picnic table at Barb and Jim's, competing with Havoc, both of them showing off, carelessly making blue fireballs in their palms.  It was she who wrote the Caustic Mass of the Motorcycle, and she was one of the people who inaugrated me president.

Another time, after somebody crashed somebody else's motorcycle, she went for help down a long gravel road. She told me afterwards she was afraid of riding on gravel. I had not thought that she was afraid of anything.

I played Annwn's version of The Parting Glass the day my father died. I played Come Away to the Hills  incessantly the week I spent driving up and down the Washington Coast.

She had an MFK Fisher dinner at her house. We feasted. I stayed at her house. The sheets in the spare room were crunchy with kitty litter. The next morning, which was a Sunday, she sang Tam Lin for me and read from Ecclestiastes. Leigh Ann's Sunday Morning Service. We went to the street market in Berkeley and I bought a little mermaid knife to put in my motorcycle jacket.

We were friends--warm and abstract, entirely accepting and not particularly close.We didn't need to be. We just have always known each other.

The last time I saw her was at a pagan con in San Jose, four years ago. Annwn was Nuit by then, and she told me she was channeling Leila Waddel when she played. I believed her. We didn't have much time to talk.

We hadn't spoken since then.I always thought that I'd see her again.

Leigh Ann, I will see you again.

Eleanor Oster [ eleanor@smallboxes.com ] said at 21:13 on 25 May 2006:

I was always fascinated by Leigh Ann. There is much that she and I did not have in common, but I always liked her. I would like to have thought it was mutual. I certainly envied her her tremendous talent and utter joie de vivre!

A couple of days after her death I was driving in the car and heard a Tracy Chapman song I liked. I'd heard it before, but this time it knocked me out.

If you knew that you would die today,
Saw the face of god and love,
Would you change?
Would you change?

I found myself thinking that Leigh Ann struck me as being one of those rare individuals who lived her life the way she wanted to. Would she have changed? I don't think so. 

George L. Hersh (Heggaia) [ heggaia@earthlink.net ] said at 16:21 on 25 May 2006:

I met Leigh Anne in 1981, when Ursula LeGuin referred me to supply a mountain lion mask for her production of The Plumed Water for Mythcon.  When I delivered my first-try mask to her apartment, I looked at the chaotic mass and beamed "Witches would rule the world if they could only remember where they put things."  From that auspicious beginning came a long association, my training in her coven in NROOGD witchcraft, a nearly complete collection of Hussey music recordings, and, eventually, my grandfatherly career as a Pagan psychotherapist.  More is owed to her than can be listed or repaid.  Be blessed now and next, Bright Lady!

George Hersh (Heggaia) 
MiG [ mig29@virtualcounsel.ca ] said at 15:37 on 25 May 2006:

At one of my first Wetleather parties at Martin's, back in '94-ish times, I had ridden down from Canada and the festivities were well underway when I arrived. I was a bit bewildered by the number of people and the general level of merriment. Leigh-Ann saw me and said "MiG, I am so glad to meet you!" I looked puzzled so she said, "I'm Leigh-Ann." I was smiling, trying to parse what she had said: "Leeanne?" I repeated stupidly. "Leigh-Ann, EC, the Evil Californian!" she explained helpfully. Comprehension dawning, I was flattered by such recognition from someone whose wit and wisdom I had always admired on the mailing list, but whom I had never met in person.

 Ahh, EC, I hardly knew ye, but you sang like an angel, played like the devil himself, and had a wealth of wisdom to share with us. No-one could beat Leigh-ann for Latin translations, one of my favourites being "Cogito, ergo non esculentu".  I can hardly stand to think of you gone, even though we hadn't seen each other in years.

Godspeed, my friend. May the road rise up to meet you, and the wind be always at your back.

Mike Roberts (the Tennesee Annwn fan) [ cmikeroberts@bellsouth.net ] said at 21:42 on 24 May 2006:

Pat was just starting to work on the security team at Intel and I told her about a computer/internet security seminar that the Tennessee Valley Authority  (where I worked) was  sponsoring.  As a member of the IS department, I was attending the class and she convinced Intel that it might be good training.  While there, she loaned me a tape she had brought with her, "Come Away To the Hills" by some group name Annwn.  I was hooked and I still have the tape.  I tried to get them lined up with the folks who run a little music fesival here in Chattanooga called Riverbend but we never quite got it worked out.  I was able to get them some airplay on some of the local stations, in particular the "Celtic Harvest" show on WUTC, the local college/PBS station.

If nothing else came out of it, I got to "meet" Elton and Leigh Ann through a succession of emails over the years and through news from Pat.  I always hoped to get a chance to meet them in person and hear them play.  To say I'm jealous of those that had that privilege would be an understatement.  What little bit I can say that I knew of Leigh Ann from those email discussions, especially on topics other than music, I was always impressed by her insights and her depth.  We might not have always agreed but I always felt like I had learned something as a result.

She will be greatly missed.

Pat McGregor [ pat@hayseed.net ] said at 18:58 on 24 May 2006:

I may have to write these in several steps. There are too many stories, and, as Rusty said, too many days when I'm not ready to write. 

I met Leigh Ann through Wander (Jennifer T) -- I had just moved to the Bay area from Michigan (1993) and Wander invited me to go with her to see her friends playing at the Red Rock Cafe in Mountain View. It was just LA and Elton, but they were energizing. (Wander and I sat up until 4 AM afterward talking, so it must have been energizing. That's way past my bedtime.) 

When I discovered that she was also named Siobhan, on the West Kingdom mailing list, that we both cooked, loved music, etc., we started to grow closer. At one point, when Siobhan ni Shay was Seneschal because Siobhan of Cloverdale was on the throne, and I was running Collegium, Juana put Leigh Ann (Siobhan f.)  as deputy Laurel Secretary, and little Siobhan (Mike Faul's daughter)as something, so that all the Siobhans in the kingdom would be on the staff list for at least one printing of the Page.

That year, Juana was cooking the feast for Mists Bardic, and all us Siobhans chipped in -- either we made a dish (LA made Peasen royalle, and I did something with rice), or came in to at least stir a pot for a while, so we could proclaim it "A Feast of Siobhans!" Even "little Siobhan" (who was about 4) stood on a chair to help stir.

And, as Geoff mentions, the time I put my back out on Wednesday  when I was supposed to run the Collegium feast on  Saturday, Leigh Ann reached in and took over, bless her. It was a horrorshow for her -- turned out to be a home-ec demo room instead of a real kitchen, it was in use part of the time, and I felt so terrible (long distance) when I heard about it. But it showed me that, in a pinch, she'd be willing to help move the body. (I.e., "real friends...")

She was my sister, and I will always love her. More later.

Fr. Richard [ richard@mapplebeckpalmer.com ] said at 16:53 on 24 May 2006:

Leigh Ann was one of those young ladies with whom, as I am a priest, I could tell really, really, filthy jokes at which she not only roared with laughter but capped wiith even dirtier ones:)  I can still hear her laughing now!!  May the laughing never end...... luvya gal X X X


Bill and Connie, Pat's next-door neighbors said at 16:00 on 24 May 2006:

We were so sorry to hear about this from Pat. We enjoyed her company at the various parties at Pat's, especially the Christmas party where she and her friend (Greg?) played in the garage for a couple of hours. From the other stories here, she probably didn't know she had made a memory for a new group of people that night. You are all in our prayers.
Stephen Wilcox [ laverdazoom@ev1.net ] said at 14:20 on 24 May 2006:


 long and winding ride
  fiddle blazing in the night
 songs around a fire
  and a strong voice belting out

 Very sad, but glad my life has been lucky enough to include hearing Leigh Ann make music at a few Gathers. Definitly the highlight of my first Gather. I'm richer for it, beyond words.

 Such an amazing person!

  Stephen

Betsy Brazy [ bbrazy@mindspring.com ] said at 13:17 on 24 May 2006:

I knew Leigh Ann from Sybase; we were in the same group (Wendy Hoben's). She never understood why people found her intimidating, just because she had a heavy tread, jangles that you could hear her coming, a hearty laugh, and never suffered fools AT ALL.

 Our polydactyls came from the same litter -- I think I told her that Six needed a home.

So of all the things I remember, what most sticks out is when I interviewed for the job. I met with each tech writer. Some of my interview with Leigh Ann had nothing to do with technical writing. I showed her some piecework I was working on. Then she said, "Tell me why I should (support) hiring you."  So I said, "because you like me and I make you laugh." She let out, well, a Leigh Ann laugh, and gave me her OK.

May her memory be forever blessed.

-  Betsy 

Jody Veahman, ex-member White Rats, longtime traditional musician [ noblesavage54@hotmail.com ] said at 13:11 on 24 May 2006:

It is (and was) with profound sorrow that I heard the news of Lee Ann's death. I offer all my sympathy and compassion to her nearest and dearest.

My memories of LeeAnn involve music and dancing. I remember when she used to play with Sean Folsom (the bagpiper). I met her about then--I was busking with a hammered-dulcimer player and she (bodhran in hand) approached us and asked if she could sit in. We agreed--as I recall, she had an intensity about the way she did it that made me especially notice her at that time.

Since that time, we encountered each other here and there around the Bay Area--mostly at social gatherings and/or in musical sessions. She grew in skill and never lost, indeed continued to sharpen that intensity and passionate musical style. Making music with her was like a long searching conversation--one might not always agree with what was said, but would always be sure of what it was. I always enjoyed those conversations and am deeply saddened to know that I'll never have the chance to have another one with her.

We were White Rats (morris team) together--I am happy to say that I have had the priveledge of playing music for her to dance to. It is a special feeling to see the tune made visible that way and to be there seeing the tune come through her in the dancing set it something that I'll never forget.

Hail and farewell, Lee Ann. May the earth rest lightly upon you.

Stephen Wilcox [ laverdazoom@ev1.net ] said at 12:29 on 24 May 2006:


 long and winding ride
  fiddle blazing in the night
 songs around a fire
  and a strong voice belting out

 Very sad, but glad my life has been lucky enough to include hearing Leigh Ann make music at a few Gathers. Definitly the highlight of my first Gather. I'm richer for it, beyond words.

 Such an amazing person!

  Stephen

Eric Lethe [ elethe@inlandtech.com ] said at 05:43 on 24 May 2006:

I remember Leigh Ann's humor, her laughter and her passionate fiddle. She was one of those who initiated me into the Illuminati MC. My heart goes out to Caitlin and Elton. The Brightest of Blessings to you both.
ojack [ tis me again... ] said at 00:04 on 24 May 2006:

she laughed when we stoppied on my monster... she laughed and laughed at the finale when i danced to her rendition of Elton's penguin lust... she laughed when she fiddled, and laughed when she sang... she sang "i'm built for comfort, not for speed" and then ran... ran her fiddle at warp speed so it seemd to glow... like her...  the her i am so glad to know.
jack w [ remove.ojack@mac.com ] said at 23:53 on 23 May 2006:

...she moved thru' the fair
And I watched her so swiftly move here and move there.
Then she turned away homeward with one star awake
Like a swan in the evening moves over the lake.

Last night, I did dream that my dead love come in.
So softly she entered that her feet made no din,
And she turned her head to me and this she did say:
"It will not be long, love, till our wedding day."

Jim Franklin [ jamesf@groupwbench.org ] said at 18:58 on 23 May 2006:

I was one of the hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the fringes of Leigh Ann's life, wandering in and out through the years as our paths intersected diverged. The first time we met, 1992 or 93, she wanted to buy my motorcycle, a black Yamaha 650 Maxim. I rode up to the San Francisco pub where she was playing, Plough & Stars maybe? I was a culturally naive New Yorker and it was the first time I'd heard of Celtic music. I remember being highly entertained watching someone in what passed in my mind at the time as traditional garb simultaneously dancing and running full tilt the length of the pub as Leigh Ann pumped a continuous avalanche of notes into that room. I was hooked.After her set I introduced myself and we looked at the bike. I'll never forget her huge grin as she sat on it. Then things get fuzzy. At some point she bought it. Some point later she "sold" it to a friend who I met several times but not often enough for his name to stick. Quite possibly it's John who posted earlier, but that was so long ago. I'd make as many of her shows as I could, never tiring of the enthusiasm and banter, and attended several of her house parties. I didn't see her much after Annwn disbanded but we'd run into each other at Wetleather events a few times a year. The last time we talked was an email conversation maybe last year or the year before. I had moved to Boston and was coming into town and would she like to get together. She was enthusiastically affirmative but we never managed to make it happen.  As she did with so many of its parts, Leigh Ann perfected the recipe for living the whole of life well and fully and to the best of one's abilities, and packed more into her short years than many even think possible. Jim
Polly Moller [ polly.moller@gmail.com ] said at 17:03 on 23 May 2006:

I am just a fan of Leigh Ann. 

I attended several Annwn gigs and marveled, jumped around, danced, sang, and howled.  What an inspiration they all were, but what a force of nature and a pillar of fire Leigh Ann was! 

As a fellow musician and as a fellow priestess I respected and admired the heck out of her.  I wish I had gotten to know her better than just to say hello.  I wish I had gotten up the nerve to ask if we could work together on music in some way. 

The last time I saw her was in the Gnostic Mass at PantheaCon 2006.  I didn't have an opportunity to say hello or to thank her.  But what a powerful final image to have of her now that she has gone before to the other side.

Mike Faul [ carraig@earthlink.net ] said at 16:15 on 23 May 2006:

I have always been inspired by Leigh Ann and her talent(s).

When I heard the news I couldn’t say anything. Then, I wanted to tell someone, to talk to someone, or simply sit in the same room and say nothing about Leigh Ann. I wanted to write something, anything but I was unable to put pen to paper in any form that made sense. Just a jumble of words. Then the jumble itself made sense and once I put them all together this is what happened. I do not believe I have ever written a song or a poem… until now.

Venus hangs low to our eyes,
fires drift across the skies.
Mercury enters and the Ram bows low,
summoned spirit she must go.
Between the swan and the winged horse
the sun exalts in Aries course.
Sunset falls and with its rise
Mortal friend a new disguise.

I knew Leigh Ann, but not well enough, for over fourteen years. Way less than many others, but we had a small but a special connection - my schooling in Ireland and my ability to speak Irish, make mead and beer and other sundry ‘religious’ topics and Japanese swords… She was the sneaky stealth Laurel in the SCA that managed to get one of my Japanese sword books away from me without my realizing why. Turned out she had a Tsuba made as a Laurel medallion and presented to me when I was laureled.

For the past several years our meetings were few and far between even though we live on opposite ends of the same bay. But whenever we did meet it was always with a smile, a nod ,a wicked grin or a great big hug.

Great hugger that woman.

Slan leat a cara!

PS. LAH that said that I was a paradox. St. Fionn the neo-pagan-druid.. but then again most saints were pagan. At least the tree-hugging ones.

The hidden meaning of the verse above?

On the morning of May 16th Venus was low on the horizon before dawn. But just above, between the constellations Cygnus and Pegasus something else was visible. A comet that had started breaking up was passing by the sun. Visible until this day it had been visible since May 13th http://www.phschool.com/science/planetdiary/archive06/astr2051306.html

Also on May 16th Mercury entered Aries and as we all know Mercury is the messenger of the Gods, and only fitting I thought that it would be a God that would summon her to depart … but like all things to return again in another form.

Nitnorth [ nitnorth@nithaus.org ] said at 14:47 on 23 May 2006:

Leigh Ann at Christmas, 2005:

Before Christmas, she was remarking wistfully how she hadn't had a visit from Santa Claus since she was a little kid. So Caitlin and I hatched a plan: we bought her all the silly little presents we could lay hands on (and you know how much Leigh Ann loves toys), wrapped them, and labeled them "from Santa". Then we snuck over to her house and stuck them all under the tree, managing not to wake her up.

Around 11 am she finally woke up. Comes a phone call: "He came! Santa came!"

It's been a long, long time since I heard her that happy.

(Most of those toys, things such as glow-in-the-dark lizards, are currently in geocaches. We bought ones she could do that with, since that's her hobby.)

Geoff Engel/Sean mac Aodha ui-Conghaili/Egen Brauer [ egonbrauer@ldapman.org ] said at 14:40 on 23 May 2006:

The unfairness of the world tends towards a maximum.  I *still* can't believe she's gone...she was just one of those people you assume will always be there, one of the pillars holding the earth and sky.

Memories of Leigh Ann...I remember when she stepped in at an SCA feast, after Siobhan Cook threw her back out and I drove her vanload of cooking gear and food down from the Foothills to San Jose. I remember Rusty and I doing dishes at the end, and I remember Leigh Ann's command that we should be shirtless...

I remember her promise that she'd play when I opened my brewpub, and I'm sorry beyond words that she won't be there to see it.

Rusty [ rusty@rustmon.org ] said at 08:54 on 23 May 2006:

It took me a while to really come here to write this, just becaus, as Pat says - I have good moments and bad moments. 'd like to thank john for  reminding me (by way of hearty laughter) of : BURN THAT! BUUUUUUUUUUUUUURN THAT SAXON VILLAGE DOWN!!!!!!

 (John, Vytas and I  were known as the terrible trio. John started it, at one of the many Annwn shows we went to. I'm REALLY glad to see that it lives on... :) )

 <I crossposted this on my livejournal, and I'll be adding more here>

I still...

To all of my shared friends who knew Leign Ann, I can only reach out to you and offer you my love and hugs. I cannot try to post to all of your journals, but I can send you a note here as to how much her joy and vibrancy was shared by everyone that knew her.

I can only think that God and the deities above needed a fiddler to play for them, and they picked the best person in the world to join their august company.

Damn, that woman COULD PLAY.

I think that was one of the reasons I loved hearing her so much. From the days of just her and Elton, when I would wonder at how she got her bow to move so fast, and how Elton could play so damn brillantly and make it look easy, while his eyes were getting all wide and he had that big silly grin on his face. To the days of Annwn and Nuit, and I could just never get enough of them. Yeah, I heard Phoenyx and all the rest, and I wished that W could sing with them again (like in the old D. S. days), but there was a special place in my heart for Annwn.

They were unclassifiable. They just played their hearts out in a Celtic way, and it was so cool.

When I thought of busking, I thought of them. When I read Mercedes Lackey's books about the Bedlam bard, I thought of them.

When I moved here (and here would be Minneapolis, in 2003)  and heard the Tims, as much as I thought they were cool, I loved Annwn more. I would call Pat late at night, and tell her so. I'm really glad that she didn't disown me for all those calls.

I was SO glad to see her in February, with E. and C. They all looked so happy, and I was very glad that they were able to meet my beloved and to share that day with me.

I can only post one of her songs here, for it reminded me of what I truly love, and made me miss her (and the West) all the more.

To The West
By Siobhan ni hEodhusa, AS XXVI
Published in the Crosston Tapestry, October 1994
This song was commanded by my Prince at the time I was Bard of the Mists, Brandon d'Arundel, in the year AS XVIII. After a seven-year hiatus from the Society, I completed the song at Twelfth Night, AS XXVI.

A brief word of explaination: Arthur, St. Brendan, Bran Mac Febal, and hundreds more down the ages have sought or traveled to the Land of the Ever-Living, the Otherworld, or simply the life they could not have where they already were. They all went westward to seek that land; we live in it.


The hawk soars high o'er yonder hill,
the stag bells in the glen,
the whale chants wild in waters chill,
the bear dreams in her den.
They call me to return again,
they set me on my way

chorus:
Where the twilight seals the day,
to the West, to the West,
I am summond as the dreamers come before.
With my wounds all healed away,
like the sun I will rest,
where my vision leads, along the Western shore.

I'll bless the bonny ship that brings
me leave and liberty
to wend the way of saints and kings
and souls across the sea
I'll seek the voice that sings to me
and draws me on my way

(chorus)
My eyes shall see my fortune clear,
My tongue shall rightly tell,
My heart shall hold my dreaming dear,
My hands shall build it well.
The land they sought, where now we dwell
Is ever on the way

(chorus)

Permission to copy and distribute granted, provided this notice is preserved: copyright 1992, Leigh Ann Hussey

More thoughts and scenes that play themselves in my head: (most of these are SCA related, but...)

Turkey Day feasts, and cooking a turkey in a smoker

Cool Collegium feasts - all period, all the time!

Fiddling with a broken hand

Hearing her sing in the middle of the night in the BC, and turning right back around and stopping my advance to bed.   

Rememering having an 'all access NUIT' pass and thinking it was so cool.

the Penguin Tag they gave me before I went to Minnesota (for the first time) that I still have.

 

I'm just glad that there is something like this  so we can all post and share.Thank you TONS, Elron.

 

*love and hugs*, Rusty 

Kathy [ kegill@gmail.com ] said at 00:46 on 23 May 2006:

Leigh Ann inspired me to tackle the Pony Express Ride in 2000. I'd been riiding for less than two years. I left from Seattle, she left from the Bay Area. We met up in Nebraska (I was late. John Schmidt was with her). The next day, the three of us cruised down to St. Joe, MO. Somewhere (I've been searching unsuccessfully) there are pix of us grinning like idiots with our three "Axis" Bikes (Japanese, German, Italian). She gave me a breast cancer bear (a little guy) that has ridden with me ever since.

I remember it was bloody hot! On Sunday, Leigh Ann headed northeast with the PE folks, I headed northwest to Oregon and WetLeather's Gather. Her bike gave up the ghost in or near Illinois -- Jon and Sue Diaz came to her rescue and she drove a truck back with the bike in the back.

I'll not forget the magic of her fiddle at the Gather. 

Also, it was Leigh Ann who set up the SETI account for WL and bullied the geeks into signing up. :)

She'll be missed. :-/

Marky [ marky@yvanovich.com ] said at 20:18 on 22 May 2006:

Leigh Ann (motogrrl) through the eyes of a geocacher:

Joani and I had the pleasure of getting to know Leigh Ann at some of the local geocaching events, through her online logs, and on the various geocaching forums.  We enjoyed and treasure every minute we got to spend with her.  What a delightful spirit she had and such enthusiasm. I am sorry we didn't get to know her better during the brief time our paths crossed.

Leigh Ann, we love you and miss you,
  Marky and Joani

Larissa [ btoak@baymoon.com ] said at 16:33 on 22 May 2006:

I promised I'd try to write some good moments down.

I met Leigh Ann the same night I met Caitlin, Elton, and of course, my husband Mordecai, it was my first gnostic mass at TL, december 28, 1997. It seems longer ago than that. I remember being intimidated by Leigh Ann, I remember even that first night I felt blessed and inspired by her fiddle. Pretty soon after that I started coming around regularly and someone (Sanborn?) convinced me to deacon in a mass. I remember Leigh Ann spent a really long time one evening making sure I could pronounce the saints list. Thats an early one.

Another rather notable memory is that right after Rosie was born, Caitlin and Leigh Ann came to visit. I was using my breast pump every 2 hours at this point, because of feeding issues with Rose, and Leigh Ann was fascinated. She wanted to try it out, (and I figured why not) and when she did, she was thrilled that  it was a tad painful, and at the idea that one's body could make food. That was funny and darling. That and just my general memory of how she was with both my babies, so like "I really like this thing, but I dont know what to do with it". It was adorable.

There are soooo many memories of course. Cant type it all. For me, above all the rest of it, are my visions and visions of her as priestess. I like to think that's a bit like how she must be all the time now. Its how I see her, anyway.

KG3 Kilroy Gang [ kilroy_gang@mac.com ] said at 16:17 on 22 May 2006:

A lot of folks thought we knew Motorgrrl a lot better than we did. But that was easy with her. She was so accessible, so out there, so involved, so 'there.'

I think we first met when I posted some motorcycle pictures to a cache page, and she messaged me about where they were taken. We traded stories, and soon a loose friendship was formed. She was newer, but not by much, to geocaching, and we griped about no East Bay caching events, so we put one together last Sept. 05, which was the first West of the Bay, East of the Hills I events; the second of which was yesterday, 052106, in the Berkeley Marina.

At the first event was where we first met, physically. Of course, Leigh Ann made quite a first impression, and when about ten minutes into our meeting, she introduced first her 'husband' and then her 'wife,' I knew we were onto someone unique. Not being from the conventional quarter ourselves, we had no judgements, just amusement as to how this person could keep everything going so smoothly. After all, besides geocaching, she was an accomplished musician, poet, literary scholar of sorts, polylinguist, art and architecture buff, Cal grad, Berkeley denizen, and of course motorcycle enthusiast. I'm sure I've not included most of what she accomplished or did in her brief time in this place, but she made one hell of an impression. We couldn't stop talking about her for days. Then as time wore on, and she considered her first hide, and found (or cut her teeth on) ours, we traded calls and e-mails, hints and strategies, woes and joys of geocaching. We also shared many more interests than we ever had opportunity to explore together. Mirabila dictu.

Our schedules never quite jived, one of the realities of having kids, and caring for an ailing mother, I suppose, and that made our time together limited. In hindsight, not enough time searching caches together. But not our connection.  I think we truly admired her Renaissance spirit, her passion for life and living, her commitment to everything she touched. She always took the time to post a unique and fitting cache log for every visit she made. And that made knowing her easier, and caching for us more fun.  She revealed herself with abandon. Not many of us do.

We know there are many of you out there in the geocaching community that are unique and special folks, it seems to attract truly accomplished and facsinating people to its ranks. (Okay, I'm not talking about us.)

We invite you to appreciate each other, and every moment, as I know Leigh Ann would have, and would want you to.

Cache on!

John Schmidt [ johnrschmidt@yahoo.com ] said at 14:48 on 22 May 2006:

Siobhan was an amazing woman.  Here's four quick sketches of memories:

Motorcycling was a passion she took to well.  She got me truely into it by trading two weeks of yardwork for her old bike.  I fought the blackberry vines, trimmed everything, planted roses, put in the first raised beds in the back yard, installed the stones for the motorcycle parking place, etc. and in return she gave me Elghaz, her Yamaha Seca 650.   My first bike.  Silver shaft driven; all of my bikes since then have shared those traits.   

In 1996, we endeavored to ride an Iron Butt 1000 from Berkeley to Vancouver--herself, me, and my friend Jim Adams.  A little bit about that trip made it onto her web page, along with a picture from the far end.   She introduced us to Martin and his Monster Bike, and the gang known as WetLeather (a little).  I still have a copy of her WetLeather Cookbook, with her having beaten the recipies into shape, edited them, and produced the cookbook.     On the way north, somewhere before we grabbed a hotel to sleep, we compared how we were keeping awake.  She gave us two stanzas of the epic poem she was working on about the ride. 

 Before that, for one of my birthdays, I decided to have a Vanity Band--a band that existed so that I could be the lead singer, and we would play a coffeehouse gig.  I contacted a bunch of musician friends, and Leigh Ann agreed to come and be the violinist/singer/experienced person.  We also had Greg Hines and John McCartney.  Chris Ebert came once but couldn't make it.  I played sticks and sang.  After some joking discussion, we decided the band should be called "Paying for Your Sins" with the motto "We've suffered for our art, now it's your turn."  (Leigh Ann insisted it should be "Pain for your sins").  It was fun, but it was also a lot of work, and after a recording session where Elton taped us, I dissolved the band rather than inflict us on the world.    I still have a tape somewhere, but we never did put the band t-shirts together.    As I recall, this was how Greg and Leigh Ann met in person first.

In the SCA, we had lots of contact.  Her songs there will survive forever.  I'm lucky and proud to have been a Bard of the Mists, as was she.  I worked on a few projects with her when she went on to win the Golden Poppy (Best overal achievement in Art/Science contests.)  She was always disgruntled that Laurels weren't the same as Chivalry in the SCA.   One night I told her I thought she was a Knight of Art (specifically, Bardic) and she derived some satisfaction from that.    Well, I do fear the skill she could use words with, the same way Radnor or Paul could use swords.

There's piles more.  That's enough for now.  Remember, BURN that   BURN that   BURNTHAT SAXON VILLAGE DOWN!

Lynn Gold [ figmo@rahul.net ] said at 14:17 on 22 May 2006:

I am still in shock. I awoke yesterday morning and then the "waterworks" hit -- she's really gone. Yeouch.

Saturday night was a reminder to me of all the different ways her path and mine had crossed over the years -- through computers, writing, music, fandom, filking, and food.

For some reason the stored vehicle report didn't surprise me. You can always count on bureacrats to exhibit a total lack of sensitivity.

You, Caitlin, her siblings, and her father all have my sympathy. We are all richer for having known her, and now we are poorer for having lost her way too soon.

Eric Zuckerman, ska Zebadiah ben Yitzhak [ eric__atsymbol__zuckershack__dot__org ] said at 12:24 on 22 May 2006:

I have a lot of things to say, and they are still contained in my skull.  Let me just say this, a toast from this weekend:

"To Leigh Ann, and the bazillions of people that loved her."

Slainte[*].

P.S.:  * -- LAH introduced me to this word, actually.

Gilbert deLongespee mka David Seale [ longspee@surewest.net ] said at 09:21 on 22 May 2006:

I first met Leigh Ann in September of 1991.  I was attending an SCA event in Plymouth, CA and was one of the fighters on the field that day.  The Bardic competition for the event was for the best eulogy.  LeighAnn picked one of my deaths to write about and and later that day she, Wander, and several others who were at the time known as Daoine Sidhe performed it.  They won the competition.  This is the same event that my wife and I met at.  That was how I became acquanted with her and the group.  I followed along and enjoyed watching them in their various musical incarnations.  Many is the time I have sat (or danced) at the Fox & Goose and listened to them play.

 I also share LeighAnn's passion for bikes.  I still remember that first little CB350 she had.  The first time I saw it, she had ridden it up to Fuji Park in Carson City, NV for an event.  She was so proud of her new toy.  We have swapped many stories about our bikes over the years.  These are memories I will look back fondly on.  I don't know if any of us will truely ever know just what happened last monday, but I am glad that it was quick, and I know that she went doing something she loved.

I am but one of many who will mourn her passing, but celebrate the time we got to share with her.

In Loving Memory of LeighAnn,

Gilbert

Calimac said at 04:15 on 22 May 2006:

Killed Tuesday evening when her motorcycle crashed. This was on the freeway twelve miles west of Altamont, site of another musical tragedy. This one will be remembered just as long. Here's the cold details. Leigh Ann was a supremely talented musician who worked in the electric folk realm, especially notable for her fiddling. She was also one of the most vital and interesting people I've ever known, a forceful reminder that the world is full of different folks, and of how wonderful it is that you can make friends with them.

When I first met her, she was in her bathrobe. This was at Greyhaven, the fantasy writers' house in Berkeley. It's a large house with many residents both permanent and temporary, a place where it's not at all unusual to visit and find complete strangers making themselves at home. On this occasion I was there one evening for a planning meeting for the 1984 Mythcon, when a young woman in a bathrobe wandered, yawning, into the room. She called herself Siobhan. When she found out we were planning a conference to study myth and fantasy literature and that I was its scholarly-papers coordinator, she perked up. On a subsequent visit she proudly handed me a paper on the medieval Welsh poem The Battle of the Trees, formally bylined Leigh Ann Hussey.

At Mythcon, Siobhan was lively and active. She read her paper, reciting chunks of the original in Welsh. She played the heroine of Diana Paxson's play, "The Wood Witch," whose cast featured many MythSoc stalwarts. She wrote a Mythcon report to the tune of "The Rawtenstall Annual Fair." When I remember that particular Mythcon, it's primarily her presence that comes to mind.

Over the next few years Leigh Ann dropped the "Siobhan" and poured herself into a series of interests. After Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home was published the next year, she became a devoted fan of the book and a remarkable expert in Kesh culture, particularly its music and drama: so much so that when we held Mythcon again in 1988 with Le Guin as GoH and I chaired, I appointed Leigh Ann entertainments coordinator under the title "Kesh consultant" and let her rip. Le Guin was fascinated by our plans, which resulted in one committee meeting where I handed the astonished Leigh Ann a slip of paper with a phone number on it and said, "Ursula wants you to call her."

Leigh Ann threw herself into this Mythcon as she had the previous one. With her then-husband David Oster (whom I think she had first met at that previous Mythcon) she designed Kesh-style name badges, made Kesh musical instruments and led the opening procession with them, helped Todd Barton lead the chanting of heya, and put on a production of a short play from the book, "The Plumed Water," a ritual celebrating the Calistoga geyser. On the day after the con, a number of us rented a small van and toured the Valley of the Na, the book's setting. Leigh Ann was our party's expert in all the local botany as well as Kesh lore. We finished up at the geyser and found it, luckily for us, erupting. This is not Old Faithful where you have to keep a quarter-mile away; you can go right up to this geyser and stand under the fringes of the spray. Unusually, the geyser kept on going, and Leigh Ann pulled out a copy of Always Coming Home and quickly organized another whole reading of the play. The geyser didn't stop until after we were finished.

In the next few years, as I recall, Leigh Ann's interests were mostly Wiccan. She appeared on a few "science vs. magic" convention panels arguing forcefully for a pagan view of the universe, but her most creative work in this field was musical. If Christians had hymns and carols, why shouldn't Wiccans? So she collected a lot of folksongs suitable for the purpose and started writing her own, and recorded them on tape. I have a couple of these cassettes; here's one called The Homebrewed Book of Pagan Carols, Volume 1: Winter. There were songbooks too.

Some of this stuff was really good, and soon enough Leigh Ann formed a Celtic folk band called the Daoine Sidhe, notable for their sizzling performance of "Follow Me Up to Carlow." They also did some excellent Steeleye Span covers. At one performance of "Twa Corbies," Leigh Ann joked about an alternate version, "Twa Corgies," and I remember her laughter when I suggested that the band for that version should be Steeleye Spaniel. Leigh Ann wrote many of the songs, sang them in a powerful mezzo, and played fiddle and pennywhistle with increasing mastery.

The other principal figure in the Sidhe was Elton Wildermuth (song-writer, singer, and guitarist), and he and Leigh Ann stayed together as the center of a frequently-changing cast of musicians as the Sidhe changed their name to Annwn and slowly mutated into a Celtic-influenced rock band a la Avalon Rising (in Annwn's first CD, The Lovers Enchained) and then returned part of the way and became an electric-folk band (their second, Come Away to the Hills). In those days I was going to every gig of theirs I could get to. Later on they moved slightly in a punk direction (Anarchy and Rapture) and I kind of lost interest. Then Annwn folded altogether, I never found out why, and it's been several years since I've seen Leigh Ann. The band's self-published label website is still around, but frustratingly all the CDs are apparently out of print, dammit. Too bad: Come Away to the Hills is a masterpiece of its kind. It features two of Leigh Ann's best songs: "The Red Queen," a tribute to pirate-queen Anne Bonney featuring a tricky but lively audience-participation clapping part, and "The Bard's Exhortation to the Salaryman," a beautiful paean to the love of nature from whence the album's title (and a brilliant cover photo):

Come away to the hills
Come away where the wine of life distills
To the healing of your heart's ills
Come away, come away.

May that be Leigh Ann's legacy, and may we take her advice to the healing of our hearts' ills today.

Monica Cellio [ cellio@livejournal.com ] said at 02:57 on 22 May 2006:

Baruch dayan ha-emet

I met Leigh Ann Hussey at a Darkover convention in the mid-80s (1984? 85?), at the bardic circle. (I was a newbie, so either not yet performing or doing so very timidly.) She performed one song in particular that caught my attention, "The Riding of Idath". (It was rhythmically neat to my ears -- later discovered to be in 5/4.) It sounded like it might be part of a larger story, and I worked up the nerve to ask her about it. She told me that it was based on her short story of the same name, and she told me where to find it, and I later sought it out. (Later, before I knew anything about period music, I performed that fantasy song in the SCA a few times.)

I was, at the time, tape-recording the bardic circles I went to at cons, and I learned "Idath" and another song of hers, "Uncle's Gun", from those tapes. I transcribed the lyrics by hand; I remember the following year asking her about a couple words that I couldn't quite make out on the tapes. There must have been more of a conversation, because we ended up with each others' email addresses. (This was a decade before the web and search engines; I'd never have found her on my own.)

We started corresponding about fiction and music. She sent me drafts of stories she was working on and I gave her feedback; I'm not quite sure how that happened, since I was really a nobody when it came to professional fiction, but I guess she saw value in feedback from "just plain folks" and I was happy to oblige. Somewhere in my attic is a binder with some of that correspondence; I didn't yet have a way to preserve electronic copies of email (or anything else), but I printed out the important stuff.

And then, gradually, for no particular reason other than that these things happen, we started drifting apart. The email was less frequent, and she stopped going to conventions I was at (she was on the other coast, so that's not too surprising), and I wasn't enough into cons to go to the west coast for them, and we just lost touch. I noticed a couple years ago that she was on LJ and I browsed her public entries; I think I left a comment or two, but we really didn't have the common interests any more that would prompt a long-term conversation.

This morning I read that she was in a fatal traffic accident last night, and I feel sad not just for my friends who knew her, but for myself -- even though we were barely connected, I feel a loss.
Sydney Thornton said at 02:34 on 22 May 2006:

To Pat --

She knows you loved her. She appreciated everything you did for her, and how much you cared for her success.  She regretted any hurt she gave you by not doing what you wanted her to do. She admired your strengths and loved your weaknesses because that meant she could help you. She told me you did cranky with a style she never could match. She wanted many of the things you have and knew that if she never had them, it is good to have a dream. She appreciated being in Duncan's life and she loved him just as well as she loved you.
 
I know this because she told me so in a private moment while she was fixing salad dressing at Joe and my house for the dinner we had and creating a huge mess in the kitchen so she and I could shoo everyone else out while we cleaned it up.  She was checking me out to see if I might hurt either of you and I guess I passed muster.  :) At the time, I figured I'd not survive to dessert and Elton was very kind to me during dinner because I'm sure he knew I'd just been roasted to death in my own oven.  She died doing what she loved and in the prime of her life.  She would be royally pissed if you wallowed in regrets for things undone and thanks unsaid. May the Goddess love her and keep her and may she sing to us in every beautiful sunset and sunrise and on every road not traveled that we have the courage to walk.

 

Cindy and Doug Hodkinson (Coventry, England) said at 01:10 on 22 May 2006:

Terrible news -- so sorry -- please give our condolences when appropriate -- we remember her enthusiasm when she was here with us for Cathy's wedding, and her music at Cynthia&'s wedding.Cindy & Doug

 

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