In Fond Remembrance

Rissa Peace Root 2009

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Nora Creeach in front, flocked by assorted nuts at Barbara's Treehouse

As many of you know, Nora Creeach, our former Editor and Publisher, was diagnosed with cancer in late 2007.  When they gave her just six months to live, she immediately made arrangements for me to take over CQMagOnline.  Nora fought and managed to outlive her doctors' predictions, but sadly she passed away in late November.  It was just a week after her husband's unexpected death. In many ways, I think it was worrying about him that kept her alive. 

I have many wonderful memories of Nora.  She was such a forthright and spirited woman.  Although she looked like a demure grandmotherly type, she was full of raucous stories.  When I got serious about belly dancing a few years ago, I wrote to Nora to ask for her belly dance story, since I knew she had been a professional dancer.  I thought I would share her response with you at this time, without editing or expurgation. 

"You asked for it :-)

I hurt my back in my early 20s and spent 14 years in a back brace when I was up and traction when in bed. My doctor told me I was going to end up in a wheel chair and I was inoperable. I had a talk with myself and decided if I was headed for life in a wheel chair I was going to have fun getting there.

I took off the brace and threw it in the top of the linen closet where it caught on a nail and hung until I had the stroke in '85, we sold the house and my son got the brace down and put it in the trash when we moved.

I signed up for belly dance lessons. Instead of causing trouble the dance strengthened muscles and pulled my back into line and I have not had any back problems since I started dancing.

First class I landed flat on my dignity in the middle of the floor and our teacher a little dark Italian looked down her nose at me and said "I didn't say rest, get up and do it again." I was so embarrassed I couldn't tell her I had fallen I got up and did it again. I danced professionally and taught belly dance until I had the stroke in 1985.

During the time from age 34 to 46 I danced, taught dancing (even subbed for my original teach) designed and make costumes. At the tender age of 46 I could spin drop to my knees and do a full backbend and put my head on the floor between my heels and then get up spinning my veil the whole time. I have never been a light weight but have been told I floated when I danced. I loved the veil work best.

I learned how to produce cable TV programs and directed and edited a 1 hour cable program on belly dance. It followed the dance from its roots in the temples to the modern cabaret dancer. There were 20 dancers no two doing the same period of the dance.

I produced 2 national seminars bringing dancers from New York and LA to teach and followed the classes with a big show (2000+ in the audience) after each.

One of the costumes I designed was for a girl that dancer with a boa. With the snake I could not use any sequins because they would cut her skin so the entire bra and belt were hand beaded in gold. The center front of the hip belt had a cobra with hood extended done in gold with a silver chest emerald eyes and a scarlet tongue extended.

She wore it to dance program in a big Las Vegas show and ended up posing in my costume with the snake on the front cover of the Sunday magazine (the one before Parade).

Unfortunately the stroke ended my dancing but I still do some of the exercises to keep me as limber as possible now. I have finally been forced into that wheelchair but I must tell you I have enjoyed every minute getting there and put it off for 30+ years.

Now aren't you sorry you asked? :-)

Noora - that was but now Nora who is"

Nora, nee Noora, was such a character.  I loved to sit and listen to her stories, especially the bawdy ones.  My favorite of which is her account of the ending of her first marriage when she was still quite young.  Apparently her husband had abandoned her for another woman, but she needed to contact him for something.  Her only choice was to call his girlfriend's home, so she did. It was late at night, and when the woman answered the phone, Nora asked for her husband. The woman denied knowing him or anyone by that name, but Nora was not to be deterred.  When the woman persisted in her feigned ignorance, Nora finally said, "well where are your manners? Turn over to the man beside you and introduce yourself.  Then put him on the phone."  For me, that story speaks volumes about Nora's personality.  I like to remember her as a force of nature. 

Nora was the driving force of CQMagOnline.  She really invested herself in each issue, soliciting articles and submissions for the Readers' Showcase.  She was a tireless worker and deserved all of the accolades she was given after each issue went live.  She was also adept at encouraging people and smoothing over ruffled feathers.  To say that Nora Creeach will be missed is an understatement, but there it is.   It is in her memory that we dedicate this issue and, in fact, the whole magazine.

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