to the undying lands." -- J. R. R. Tolkien
"So cautiously, at first, and then so high
As he spoke, my spirit climbed into the sky
I bid it to return to hear your wonderous stories..."
(This page will likely receive numerous updates over this year, as I'm sure its current content does not begin to do her justice.)
She was one of the Old Old Ones; a veritable fixture in the Fairs and Faires in the New Old World. She was lively, vibrant, always there to lend her voice and sing to the Heavens and Havens of those of us who were fortunate enough to have known her. Some knew her as Hobbit.
Over the years, I have seen her act, sing, AND run the Children's Traditional School of Arts and Crafts -- all, eventually, from her transport cart (a mode of transportation a wee bit more dignified than a straight-out wheelchair) as she became unable to walk. I remember being rather excited at seeing her on Reading Rainbow with LeVar Burton, and being able to say, "Oh, wow! We know her!"
She performed a naming ceremony for our daughter shortly after she was born, and she has always been there for the small multitude of children who have come into this world from the Young Ones, descendants of the Old Ones. Only recently, Stitch and Pooh have made their way into our house, into the arms of our little ones, courtesy of her.
I remember her birthday one year at Black Point (though I could not tell you the precise date), when 30-plus Scotsmen each brought up to her a dozen roses at the end of her performance on the stage. That was an amazing sight not to be forgotten -- the stage was festooned with roses. I don't think there was a square inch left for an exit path. Similarly, I seem to remember the Irish serenading her with a ten-part harmony rendition of "Red Is The Rose" -- a cappella, of course! I think that even misted a few of our eyes in return.
Of late, I had the honour of co-managing the Brass Rubbings booth for her at the Northern Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Casa de Fruta, near Hollister, California. That was a generosity on her part, actually, as it kept my family solvent during an economically trying time.
On Sunday, 11 April 2004, Linda Underhill passed away.
I, her family, a thousand others who knew her, and the countless thousands who knew of her through her performances, will miss her terribly. The choir of angels and fae have a beautiful addition to their cast.
Sleep sweet, Linda, and may the Westward sail be pleasant.