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 In Memoriam - Ms. Janet Bode

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The family of Janet Bode
invite you
to join them
in remembering & celebrating her life

Saturday, February 26
1:00 p.m.

Village Community School
272 West 10th Street
@ Washington Street
Greenwich Village, New York City

For more information:
Linda Broessel 212-334-5242



. . . toward the end, Janet made sure to make each one of us
around her feel important to her...a real gift.

To the extent that we have any control over these things,
she did it on her own terms -- no tubes or needles or
hospitals.  She opted for palliative care, just painkillers,
at home, with the help of home care health providers,
and the love of family and friends.

When I arrived at the Greenwich Village loft on Christmas
morning, she hugged me and said, "the hell of it is that I
don't want to leave, but I really want to get out of here."

She said her "good-byes" and 3 days later, she left.

The Washington Post obituary follows below, as does a copy of the far less
interesting & less accurate one in the NY Times.  That's followed by one in
News Day, & then a much longer backgrounder with more details.  Also AP carried a
brief mention that appeared in a lot of
papers around the country.


Mariella Dearman (perhaps better known as Mrs. Fineburg to those who had her for U.S. History) has been in touch with Janet (Usas) Bode's family, and she writes: "....about the contribution to the hospice.... Make all checks out to the Janet Bode Fund. The money will go to provide home health care aid to low income families. This was Janet's wish. She knew about the fund before she died and asked that the money be used this way. I would very much like us to respect that. The money will be sent to The Jacob Perlow Hospice."

Contributions to the Janet Bode memorial fund should be made in the form of a check or money order, made out to:

The Janet Bode Fund
and mailed to:

Mariella Dearman
162 West 56th St, #901
NY, NY 10019


Mariella will deliver all of our contributions to the hospice that did so much to help Janet and her family during the last months of her life.


The Washington Post

Writer Janet Bode Dies at 56
Popular Books Focused on Teens

By Betty Medsger
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, December 31, 1999; Page B06
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WPlate/1999-12/31/061l-123199-idx.html

Janet Bode, 56, a writer raised in College Park whose 14 books about coping
with the realities of life are among the most popular written for
teenagers, died of breast cancer Dec. 30 at her home in New York.

Ms. Bode's blunt, no-nonsense writings dealt with issues that deeply affect
young people, including some sensitive topics that parents, teachers and
counselors find difficult to discuss.

In a series of more than a dozen nonfiction books directed at teenagers,
she wrote about rape and other violence, the death of parents and peers,
interracial dating, troubled love relationships, eating disorders, teenage
pregnancy, sibling problems, and learning to develop trusting relationships.

Her books included "The Voices of Rape," "Food Fight: A Guide to Eating
Disorders for Pre-Teens and Their Parents" and "Heartbreak and Roses: Real
Life Stories of Troubled Love." One Louisiana school board banned
"Heartbreak and Roses" from its libraries but recently reinstated it to settle
a lawsuit.

Ms. Bode traveled throughout the country gathering stories from teenagers,
asking them about their problems and how they solved them. Those led to a
series of books that appealed to a wide variety of young people, even the
most reluctant readers.

Since the mid-1980s, when she shifted from magazine writing to focus on
specialized books, Ms. Bode had interviewed thousands of teenagers. She
talked to them in public and private schools, libraries, poor urban
neighborhoods, rich suburban streets, rural areas, drug rehabilitation
centers, coffee shops and prisons.

She included her mailing address and e-mail address in her books and
invited teenagers to write to her. They wrote and they called, pouring out
their life experiences and suggesting topics she should pursue. Most of her
book topics were proposed by her readers.

Librarians were among the first to recognize her popularity as a writer and
discovered that the books were frequently being stolen from their collections.

"She was the Studs Terkel of American teenagers," said Linda Waddle, deputy
executive director of Young Adult Literary Services for the American
Library Association. "Janet let them tell their stories in their own
authentic voices."

Ms. Bode was born in Penn Yan, N.Y. She attended Northwestern High School,
living in College Park while her father, Carl Bode, taught at the
University of Maryland. He was also a writer, for publications that
included The Washington Post.

Janet Bode, a graduate of the University of Maryland, worked as a young
woman as a teacher in Germany, Tampa and
Guadalajara, Mexico, and as a
public relations agent for the Girl Scout council in Lawrence, Kan. She
turned increasingly to writing as therapy after 1972, the year she was
brutally attacked in a dark woods in Bowie.

Her attackers gang-raped her while threatening her with a weapon, an
experience she later described in a book for adults called "Fighting Back:
How to Cope with the Medical, Emotional, and Legal Consequences of Rape."

"Death seemed so close," she said. "I could reach out and touch it. Evil
hung stagnating in the air. That night a part of me did die -- my faith,
openness, trust. In an hour's span they altered all that, and left with
warnings of vileness if I were to tell anyone. I was supposed to exist being
thankful they spared my life."

Her books for teenagers received 26 major awards from organizations that
included the National Council for Social Studies, the American Library
Association and the New York Public Library.

Her latest book, "The Colors of Freedom: Immigrant Stories," was published
this month by Franklin Watts publishing company. Another book, on the
impact of divorce on teenagers, will be published in the
spring.

In 1991, Ms. Bode suffered another brutal attack, this time in a hotel room
near the Los Angeles airport.

She was pistol-whipped, choked and robbed, an experience she again used to
help educate the public. She was interviewed on ABC's "20/20" program,
"Larry King Live" and the "CBS Evening News" about the need for hotels to
increase safety for guests.

Within two years, most hotels established policies designed to increase
security, including a policy forbidding desk clerks to repeat guests' room
numbers aloud.

Ms. Bode's marriage to Craig Usas ended in divorce.

Survivors include her companion and collaborator, cartoonist Stan Mack of
New York; and two sisters, Carolyn Bode of Santa Monica, Calif., and
Barbara Bode of Washington.

Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company



New York Times
December 31, 1999
Janet Bode, 56; Wrote for Young Adults
http://www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/news/national/obit-j-bode.html


NEW YORK -- Janet Bode, the author of 14 nonfiction books with socially
conscious themes for young adults, died on Thursday at
her home in Manhattan. She was 56.

The cause was breast cancer, said her companion of many years, Stan Mack,
the cartoonist.

Ms. Bode's books were about interracial dating, teen-age immigrants, rape,
sibling rivalry, teen-age parents, troubled love, friendship, eating
disorders and other concerns of young people. Her literary technique, she
explained to an interviewer in 1997, was to pick a topic resonant with
meaning for teen-agers, interview hundreds of young adults across the
country and then present their comments verbatim.

Among her books were "Death Is Hard to Live With," "Voices of Rape" and
"The Colors of Freedom" (1999), a book addressed to teen-age
immigrants. Her books are not the kind usually reviewed by critics, but
their value to troubled or perplexed young adults has been recognized by
organizations like the American Library Association, which designated six
of her titles Best Books for Young Adults.

Ms. Bode was born on July 14, 1943, in Penn Yan, N.Y., the daughter of the
late Carl Bode, a professor of English and American Studies at the
University of Maryland, and the former Charlotte Watkins Smith.
[wrong...Smith was my father's second wife].

She attended schools in London in the late 1950s when her father was
cultural attache at the American Embassy there. She graduated from the
University of Maryland in 1965.

In addition to Mack, Ms. Bode is survived by two sisters, Barbara, of
Washington, and Carolyn, of Santa Monica, Calif.


Newsday:
http://www.newsday.com/obits/obit0002.htm
12/31/99

OBITUARIES Janet Bode, Wrote of Teen Angst

Janet Bode, a nonfiction writer who converted her own experiences with
violence and tragedy into moving books about teenage angst, died of breast
cancer yesterday in her Greenwich Village apartment. She was 56.

Bode's blunt, no-nonsense books delved into difficult issues confronting
teenagers rape, violence, interracial dating, pregnancy, eating disorders.

Her 14 books for teenagers earned 26 major awards, including honors from
the National Council for Social Studies, the American Library Association
and the New York Public Library.

"She's a pioneer, a brand, a household name among librarians," said Sandra
Payne, assistant coordinator of Young Adult Services at New York Public
Library.

Bode described herself in 1995 as "a combination of explorer and a private
investigator ... All of us have wonderful, wonderful stories inside us."
Bode began speaking with teenagers in the mid-1980s, when she shifted from
writing general interest magazine articles to writing books. She toured the
country, interviewing teens from all walks of life.

She included her mailing address and e-mail address in her books, inviting
teens to write her. Their correspondence provided many of the topics for
her books.

"Something wonderful always happened between Janet and the teenagers," said
cartoonist Stan Mack, her personal companion and professional collaborator
of 18 years. Mack often accompanied her on trips around the
country.

Teens "would line up to talk privately with her," he recalled.

Bode shared her stories, too. When she began writing her teen books, she
re-read the diaries that she kept at that age to remind her what it was
like to be a teenager.

As for her writing, Bode used it as a form of therapy to heal the
psychological wounds caused by a gang rape in 1972. Her attackers,
wielding a gun and a knife, were later convicted with the help of her
testimony.

Long before the school shootings of the past two years, Bode noted that
teenagers were "caught in a crossfire of social change" and "are some of
our least franchised people." She said she felt a collective anger building
among them.

"It's a particularly interesting and volatile age," she said.

She is survived by her companion Mack and two sisters, Carolyn of Santa
Monica, Calif., and Barbara of Washington, D.C.

# # #


OBITUARY MATERIAL ON JANET BODE
Contacts:

202-462-0792 Barbara Bode (sister) in Washington DC

415-771-458 Betty Medsger (friend, journalist who prepared this
information) in San Francisco .

212-242-5576 Stan Mack (companion) and Carolyn Bode (sister) in
Manhattan ( tel number at Janet and Stan's home)


JANET BODE 1943 - 1999

Janet Bode, a non-fiction writer whose books about teenagers are liked
so much that they are among the books stolen most frequently from school
and community libraries, has died of breast cancer in New York City.

She died Thursday, December 30, 1999, at home in the Greenwich
Village loft she has shared for many years with her personal companion and
professional collaborator, the cartoonist Stan Mack. She was 56.

"She was the Studs Terkel of American teenagers," said Linda Waddle,
deputy executive director of Young Adult Literary Services for the American
Library Association. "Janet let them tell their stories in their own
authentic voices."

Her 14 books for teenagers have received 26 major awards,
including ones from the National Council for Social Studies, the American
Library Association and the New York Public Library, making her one of the
most celebrated writers of such books.

Ms. Bode's blunt, no-nonsense books deal with issues that deeply
affect today's teenagers and that many adults, including parents, teachers
and counselors, find difficult to discuss with teenagers. The topics include
coping with rape and other violence, the death of parents and peers,
interracial dating, troubled love relationships, eating disorders, teenage
pregnancy, sibling problems, and learning to develop trusting relationships.

Ms. Bode survived two brutal physical attacks, experiences that
increased her awareness of the violent culture in which many
teenagers live.

She developed a journalistic approach that appeals to teenagers.
She asked them about their problems and about how they solved them.

While newspaper editors often lament that teenagers do not read
newspapers and wonder how to attract them, Ms. Bode traveled throughout the
country gathering their stories and writing books that appealed to a wide
variety of teenagers, even to what librarians call "reluctant readers,"
those who cannot read or are not interested in reading.

"She's a pioneer, a brand, a household name among librarians," said
Sandra Payne, assistant coordinator of Young Adult Services at New York
Public Library.

Nothing was more gratifying to Ms. Bode, said Mack, than hearing from
those "reluctant" readers, including a gang member who wrote from prison. A
former gang member had sent him her book Hard Time: A Real Life Look at
Juvenile Crime and Violence, telling him he ought to read it. The prisoner
wrote to thank Ms. Bode for writing a book that was meaningful to him.

Ms. Bode described herself in a speech to teenagers in 1995 as "a
combination of explorer and a private investigator. I get to leave my life
and go into yours. All of us have wonderful, wonderful stories inside us."

Thousands of teenagers have talked with her since the mid-1980's,
when she shifted from writing general interest magazine articles to writing
books for teens. She interviewed them in public and private schools, in
libraries, in poor urban neighborhoods, in rich suburban streets, in rural
areas, in drug rehabilitation centers, in coffee shops and in prisons.

She included her mailing address and e-mail address in her books and
invited teens to write to her. They wrote and they called, pouring out their
life experiences and suggesting topics she should pursue. Most of her book
topics were ones proposed by teenagers.

"Remember, I am a journalist, a writer. I am not a psychologist. I am
not a counselor," she would always tell them. Whatever her credentials,
teenagers generally related well to her.

"She was mesmerizing, the students begged me to bring her back," said
Agnes Beck, a librarian for teens at the Andrew Heiskell Library for the
Blind and Physically Handicapped in New York. She described the reaction of
a group of 100 disabled teenagers from the five New York boroughs who heard
Ms. Bode speak at the Heiskell Library. "They blabbed their hearts out to her.

“She told stories that sent shock waves through the room. They
responded with their stories. The teachers who had brought the students
were amazed. Many of these teens hadn't talked to anyone for a year."

Mack often accompanied Bode on her trips across the country.
"Something wonderful always happened between Janet and the teenagers," Mack
said. "They would line up to talk privately with her after her talks."

One of these events, he said, was especially memorable. Ms. Bode was
about to speak to a coed group of teenage prisoners in a maximum-security
section of a prison in the Northwest. They were marched into a room very
carefully, single file. Guards stood around the room.

She knew one of the prisoners had participated in the torture and
killing of her boyfriend's other girlfriend. She knew another had killed
his mother on Mother's Day while eating a burger. As usual, early in her
comments Bode told them something deeply personal about herself.

Through her books she was trying to encourage teenagers to help each
other by being willing to talk to each other about what's most
important to them. She called this "getting out the high intensity light."
She thought she could make this point best by sharing something important
from her life. She looked into the faces of the young prisoners that day
and said "There's an evil inside both of us, inside you and me."

As she said that, she removed her baseball cap, revealing a
completely bald head, the result, she explained, of treatment for the
"evil" cancer inside her. There was a communal gasp and rustling sound as
the young prisoners came to attention. They were riveted. They, too, wanted
to talk.

Ms. Bode recognized long before the school shootings of the last two
years that contemporary teenagers across all economic levels were "caught
in a crossfire of social change " and "are some of our least franchised
people." She felt a collective anger building among them, a sense that many
adults did not understand them and were not interested in them. "It's a
particularly interesting and volatile age," she said. "They're still
capable of change. I admire their passion."

The heart of each of Ms. Bode's books consists of teens telling their
own stories. The voices of experts also are included. Relevant statistics
and scientific findings are included in boxes. In more recent years, the
books included cartoon strips and other illustrations by Mack.

The books offer advice but are not preachy. They include a wide range
of voices. For example, in The Voices of Rape, her teen book that elicited
the most response from readers, the experience of rape is described through
the words of the survivor, the rapist, investigating police officer, a
mental health professional, a lawyer and a nurse.

"I want every one of my books to be a book of hope," Ms. Bode said in
a 1992 interview with the Wilson Library Bulletin. That is how teenagers
viewed them. "The Voices of Rape has helped me so tremendously," wrote a
16-year-old Kentucky young woman in a letter to Ms. Bode, "that I felt
compelled to write. It has taken away the aloneness I felt and replaced it
with the knowledge that there are people who do know how it feels."

The roots of Ms. Bode's writing, she said, could be traced to a diary and
a gang rape.

When she was 13, she received a diary as a Christmas present. She
learned that writing in the diary "helped solve problems, clarify thoughts
and organize my life, get rid of upset feelings." Later, as she started to
write about teenagers, she read the diary again to remind her of what it
felt like to be a teenager.

Ms. Bode was gang-raped, with both a gun and knife against her neck,
in dark woods outside Washington, DC, in 1972. As part of her quest for
survival after the brutal attack, she moved from the Washington area to San
Francisco, where she eventually used writing as a form of therapy, as a way
of healing the deep psychological wounds inflicted by the rape and
subsequent trial, at which she testified and the perpetrators were convicted.

"I really thought I was going to be murdered," Ms. Bode wrote in her
first book, published for adults in 1979, Fighting Back: How to Cope with
the Medical, Emotional, and Legal Consequences of Rape. "Death seemed so
close. I could reach out and touch it. Evil hung stagnating in the air.
That night a part of me did die -- my faith, openness, trust. In an hour's
span they altered all that, and left with warnings of vileness if I were to
tell anyone. I was supposed to exist being thankful they spared my life."

Writing about it helped. Formerly a teacher in Germany, Tampa and
Guadalajara and a public relations agent for Girl Scouts in Lawrence, KS,
after the rape Ms. Bode found both healing and a sense of accomplishment in
writing. While she worked as a waitress at San Francisco's Ghiradelli
Square, she wrote another book for adults, View from Another Closet:
Exploring Bisexuality in Women.

She moved to New York in 1979 and wrote articles for The Village
Voice, Glamour, Venture, New York, Savvy, Redbook, New York
Woman, Good Food and Mademoiselle magazines. Her topics ranged from
investigative reporting on an artist's rights issue to a feature article on
love at first sight. Frustrated by the quality of the editing at some of the
women's magazines, she joined other women writers in a group they
affectionately called "Women Recovering from Writing for Women's Magazines."

Ms. Bode and Mack enjoyed a collaborative relationship in which each
critiqued and enjoyed the other's work. Mack, formerly a longtime
cartoonist for The Village Voice and Ad Week and now for the New York Times
and other publications, included Ms. Bode in his comic strip, first as a
model, then as herself.

She had hilarious experiences that were good comic strip material,
such as selling a very old car to very old woman and explaining to her that
the car could be started only by using a screwdriver in the ignition. Having
never driven before, the woman did not know this was unusual. In the last
frame of the strip, as in real life, the woman called Ms. Bode late one
night and asked, "What do I do if I lose the screwdriver?"

Remarkably, the two of them managed to find humor even in breast
cancer. After her 1994 mastectomy, Bode was given all kinds of advice, some
of which she followed against her better judgment, including buying a false
breast and a wig. Here's reality that became a Mack comic strip.

One day Ms. Bode is looking all over the apartment, yelling, "Where
the hell is my breast?" She searches in the laundry basket and finds it. "I
hate this damn thing," she announces and tosses it in a garbage can. "Not
only that," she yells to Mack, "but I hate this wig. It feels like a dead
squirrel on my head. I'm not going to wear it anymore. Is that okay with
you?" In the last frame, as in real life, he answers her question with the
two of them embracing. She never wore the wig again.

Ms. Bode jokingly remarked once that she "always knew I would have a
biographer, but I had no idea it would be a cartoonist."

They traveled around the world together, he doing research for various
projects, including his 1998 book The Story of the Jews: A 4,000-Year
Adventure, told in comic strips, and Ms. Bode interviewing teens, including
in Jordan during the Intifada and in war-torn areas of Central America.

An inveterate traveler, Bode, even as a teenager was happiest "when
walking through a local market," said Mack, "in a place where we had never
been and as far as possible from the first world. She was totally content
there ... and at ticker tape parades. She loved being in the middle of
humanity."

Her last journey was a trip last summer, made as she was becoming
immobilized from the spread of cancer, to watch the solar eclipse from a
ship in the Black Sea.

Her fourteenth book for teenagers, The Colors of Freedom: Immigrant
Stories, was published this month by Franklin Watts publishing company.
Another book, on the impact of divorce on teenagers, will be published in
spring 2000.

The stories of immigrants in the recent book were gathered for Ms.
Bode as class projects of three schools and a tribe
-- a seventh grade journalism class at the Morris Middle School
on Staten, Island, NY;
-- a ninth grade class at Teacher Academy in Edinburg, TX, a
town near the Mexican-U.S. border,
-- an eleventh grade class at Vashon Island High School, near
Seattle, Washington.

The tribe is the Menominee. A thirteen year old girl and the tribal
culture leader and former Chief talk about immigrants. Their reservation
is in Wisconsin where the Bode family settled some 150 years ago.

The purpose of the book is to help students understand what it means
to be a new immigrant in the U.S. Erminia Claudio, teacher of the Staten
Island class, said that by asking her students, a very ethnically diverse
group of 32, to interview immigrant students and relatives in their own
families, Ms. Bode "helped them understand themselves." They liked the
fact, said Claudio, that Ms. Bode was not "frightened by their thoughts, as
a lot of adults are. She respected them."

In 1991, nearly 20 years after she was gang raped, Ms. Bode was
assaulted again -- pistol-whipped, choked and robbed -- this time in her
hotel room near the Los Angeles airport.

Immediately after checking in and arriving her room, the phone rang
and a male voice said, "This is the front desk." He said there was a
problem with a faucet in her bathroom and he would like to fix it before
she settled in. Soon a man carrying tools arrived. He greeted her and
seemed to be fixing something in the bathroom.

He emerged from the bathroom with a pistol, beat her with it and
stole her purse. Before leaving the room, he yanked the phones from the
wall and cut the cords. She screamed and fought back. He ran from the room,
warning her she would be killed if she reported the crime.

Angry and her face bleeding, Ms. Bode waited a few minutes and then
went to the front desk and asked that someone there call the police and get
medical help. The reaction, she would describe when she sued the hotel for
negligence, was to delay taking care of her needs and ask her to be quiet.

Over the next year, Ms. Bode described this incident on ABC's 20/20,
Larry King Live and the CBS Evening News, urging hotels to increase safety
for guests. Within two years, most hotels established policies designed to
increase security, including a policy forbidding desk clerks from saying
guests room numbers aloud, in the ways she suggested.

Ms. Bode was born July 14, 1943, in Penn Yan, NY. She grew up in
College Park, MD, and also spent some childhood years in Wisconsin,
California and England. She attended College Park Elementary School
and Northwestern High School in Maryland. A graduate of the University
of Maryland, she was a member of the Writers Guild, PEN and the
Popular Culture Association.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Margaret Lutze Bode,
a guidance counselor, in 197l, and by her father, Carl Bode, who died
in 1993.

Carl Bode, a professor at the University of Maryland, was a founder of
the American Studies Association, the author of numerous books and was
appointed the cultural attache to the Court of St. James in 1957.

She is survived by Mack and by two sisters, Carolyn of Santa Monica,
CA, and Barbara of Washington, DC.


###


Barbara Bode


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