Retired prison psychologist Nan Mykel passed away last week at the age of 79*, with her boots on. As reported in a recent interview, she said her workplace had expanded from a small prison to embrace the entire county of Athens, Ohio, where she had lived since 1980.
Whether it was volunteering at the local public access television channel in Athens where she produced Kaleidoscope, a weekly show, caretaking her 6-page Word Press blog or squeezing out words for the library’s poetry and writing groups, her mind remained in a frenzy, searching for new ways of looking at things.
It is reported that even on weekly trips to Gallipolis, where she took her Downs Syndrome daughter to lunch Sundays, she drove with paper and pen on the car seat beside her to capture elusive poetry ideas. (Now that she’s gone that illegal practice can be recorded).
Nan was of the old, old school, growing up in a world of mechanical typewriters. The advent of wires, cords, connectors, monitors, mice and internet passwords caught her unawares and it was with grim determination that she cautiously inched her way into the computer age. Once on its threshold, she rushed to self-publish three books, which comprise her legacy, along with the refurbished hp and other “stuff” that occupied her home office.
Rumors that she was not a good housekeeper are apparently true, as we discovered on our post-mortem visit.
Incidentally, as an aside, the germ of this obituary was conceived on the Nustep machine at Heart Works in Athens, Ohio, the day after her first and last poetry group session.
And now it can be told: her password, which is etched on her tombstone, was “hairballs”.
*She was always cagey about her age. She could have been 80.