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THE BAYCITIES OBSERVER
Virginia McCullough


"Have I missed the  mark, or, like a true archer,  do I strike my mark?
Or am I a prophet of lies, a babbler from door to door?"
                                                     
Cassandra, as reported by Agamemnon

PAT CAREY, ARTIST, ACTIVIST, ACHIEVER 

 

In the fall of 1995 this author became the curator and custodian of the Mae Brussell Collection.   Mae researched, published, broadcast and taught her beloved "Brussellsprouts" for over twenty years.  She held the 1987 George Seldes Award from the Society of Journalists and was listed in The International Who's Who of Intellectuals in 1983.  Mae always said that she was able to accomplish all that she did through the support, love and help of her beloved followers and friends.

When Jeff and Tom Davis delivered the Mae Brussell Collection to my care, they gave me a long list of "Brussellsprouts" who mourned the loss of Mae's wisdom.  Each of these individuals are unique, intelligent, caring and dedicated to their own causes.   One such individual is Pat Carey, an artist and an activist who has accomplished a great deal in her lifetime.   Like Mae, Pat married shortly after attending school and had a family.  Both women found themselves divorced and raising their children on their own for several years.  The two friends could have been sisters.  In this millennium year Mae would have turned 78 years old on May 22nd; Pat Carey will be 80 years of age on December 1, 2000.

Pat was born in New York, N.Y. and traveled with her family to Illinois before settling in Los Angeles where she graduated from Hollywood High School.  She then attended art school with her sister and she married in 1943.  After her divorce Pat settled in Carmel where her sister and brother-in-law helped her raise her children.  Carmel was also the home of Mae Brussell and her children, but the two women did not meet there.  In the early 1970's Pat Carey moved to San Francisco supporting herself as a professional graphic artist.

In the city by the bay, Pat Carey became a beloved political activist.  In 1971 HUD wanted to purchase the historical Goodman Building located at 1117 Geary Street at Van Ness.  HUD wanted to tear down the building, housing an artists' collective residence, and build a 22 story office building.  Pat poured over the court house and library records and documented the history of the house where Mervyn Goodman had been born in 1903.  Her historical research was crucial to placing the Goodman Building on the National Register of Historic Buildings, thereby preserving for future generations one more precious bit of San Francisco's history.

It was during the struggle to preserve the Goodman Building that Pat first became acquainted with Mae Brussell's work.  The two women soon met and became fast friends.  Mae would often stay at Pat's home in San Francisco which was near the radio station that Mae was broadcasting from in the late 70's and early '80's.  One evening, Mae invited Pat to go to the studio with her while she taped her show.  Pat said, "It blew my mind - the depth of her knowledge and how she could just put the puzzles together so easily for everyone to see.  I sat there with my mouth open because I could not believe it."

Pat maintains her great love of art and continues to use her talents to further her activism.  Family members say of Pat Carey that she is an independent thinker who speaks for herself and is totally on her own selecting the causes she chooses to support.  One person, very close to Pat, describes her as a combination of "telephone, telegraph, teletype, and telepath" defining her ability to share information and communicate with others.  She informs everybody of her concerns by phone, by mail, and by the art work on her numerous political posters.

Sister Bernie Galven of the Religious Witness for the Homeless in San Francisco, says that,  "Pat Carey has always demonstrated a deep compassion for poor and homeless people."  At the Presidio and in Golden Gate Park, Pat  joined many other demonstrators and has been arrested, fingerprinted, and sentenced to community service for demonstrating against the arrest and abuse of the homeless.  It is ironic that a woman with the moral integrity of Pat Carey would be sentenced to community service when that is exactly what she has always done with her life.

Paul Bernardino of The Network Against War & Fascism and Emergency Times Network relates how the sight of Pat Carey stuffed on the back of Paul's motor scooter as they went from one neighborhood meeting to another would always make people smile.  Scooting around San Francisco, Pat Carey has made a name for herself as a neighborhood activist, homeless advocate, and member of Food Not Bombs.  Pat Cary was one of the many fascinating, dedicated people of San Francisco that Paul Bernardino interviewed for his twice monthly Viacom TV series, "Network Against War & Fascism" which ran from 1989 through 1992.  Currently Pat Carey is working on the Ralph Nader for President campaign.

I regret that I did not get the opportunity to meet Pat Carey until The National Conference on The Invisible Government   [AIDS, War, Genocide and State Repression held on October 19, 1996.  At that conference we both spoke about our love for and admiration of Mae Brussell.  Most recently Pat Carey donated an extensive collection of her art work to the Mae Brussell Collection where it will enjoy protection and many a posting on the world wide web.

Thank you, Pat Carey, for your many years of sensitivity and compassion.

TO SEE SOME OF PAT CAREY'S BEAUTIFUL ART, DONATED TO THE MAE BRUSSELL COLLECTION, Click 1.  Click 2.  Click 3Click 4.  Click 5. 

Virginia McCullough © 2000