Mendocino Music Festival Tribute (July 21, 2010)

April 11, 2010 by

A note from Allan Pollock:
Dear Friend of Juliette,
When Juliette passed away in November, Susan Waterfall and I talked to some of her children, and agreed that it would be wonderful to dedicate one of the Mendocino Music Festival’s concerts to her memory.

Last summer, Juliette told me that she did not want memorials of any kind after she was gone. I then turned to her, looked her straight in the eye, and said, “When the cat’s away, the mice will play.” I think we laughed for two minutes—she had such a great sense of humor!

Susan and I loved Juliette so much that we want to remember her in a setting that she would have appreciated—on stage, with a gorgeous orchestra, and with a performance of two glorious pieces by Brahms: the Double Concerto for violin and cello (with Burke on cello!) and the 4th Symphony. These pieces seem fitting, since Juliette’s father, Edwin Ideler, was a superb violinist and concertmaster of the St. Louis Symphony, and Juliette’s mother, Martha Washington Ideler, was an accomplished concert pianist. We want to honor Juliette and her entire family, who gave so much to the arts.

The Juliette Ideler White Memorial Concert will take place on Wednesday evening, July 21, at 8PM in the Mendocino Music Festival tent, perched on the most breath-taking headlands in the entire world.

Usually, families and friends do what they can to support an evening’s production—in this case, sponsoring Juliette’s concert for $1500. Susan Waterfall and I have each pledged $100 and Juliette’s granddaughter, Alexandra and her husband Michael, have pledged $500. If you want to help with this, please send a check (with a note on the check: “in honor of Juliette’s concert so that the office knows) for any amount—large or small—to the Mendocino Music Festival office.

And, for those who cannot contribute, please come to the concert on July 21 to remember a most wonderful, magnificent human being loved by so many people!

Thanks so much,

Allan Pollack


Celebration of Life

March 22, 2010 by

A memorial/celebration of Juliette’s life will be held at the Elk Community Center on Sunday, April 18th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

More Notes About Juliette

January 5, 2010 by

From Susan Smith:

I am a friend of Alex’s and have known Juliette for many years. She always made me feel as if I held a special and exalted place in her heart and mind, one reserved just for me. I know that this ability — to hold each of us as unique and essential — was among Juju’s many gifts. We’re all so fortunate to have basked in her light, aren’t we?

A letter from Paul Festa:

Tuesday, November 17th 2009

Dear Juliette:

Aren’t we cute? [refers to a photo on his blog: — Juliette and Paul with mushrooms] You with your chanterelles, me with my Amanita calyptroderma. I cleaned and chopped them all Sunday night when we came home and yesterday James made a year’s supply of mushroom cream sauce. I sautéed more for lunch with leftover beef and Brussels sprouts and some chicken sauce and penne pasta. Three intact caps await stuffing. Sarah Silverman said that when God gives you AIDS, make lemonAIDS, and contemplating what she would say about mushrooms – on second thought maybe I’d better not. Meanwhile, despite excellent digestion after eating these now for four days in a row, I remain creeped out by the Chronicle story people keep forwarding me, about the Lodi family that wound in a hospital waiting for new livers after harvesting Amanita phalloides last week. The story carries a picture of the offending mushrooms and they look just like these. Was it your book or one of the Websites I looked at that added that the Death Caps are delicious?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> Speaking of death, I got Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead out of the library and wouldn’t you know it, the musical tragedians (of which I am one) have not one single fucking line. But I signed on. Doing Twelfth Night two years ago was outrageously fun and this is a reunion of that cast and director.

I loved our last weekend together, being with you and your family, having you at the party, vertical or horizontal as the case may have been – it occurs to me that I might not wait until my final illness to order my bed put in the dining room. My last weekend with you was like all the rest in a crucial respect, because, odd as it might sound (to some, but not to me), despite the circumstances it was fun, and it was fun because even in dying you still know how to live, and you’ve taught that by example to me and to everyone around you. I couldn’t be sad in your presence. Back home, awake with my new insomnia, much different story. But with you I was happy, and you were so much more alive than dying, though you were and are teaching, by example, how to do that too. Like putting the bed next to the dining room table, by the window looking out on the rhododendrons and the tree whose name you taught me last visit and which I can’t remember now – some lessons stick better than others.

Fun with photos and mushrooms and granddaughters and a garden party – too much fun to want to interrupt it with sentimental declarations but I’ll risk one now. I was always happy in your presence. Twenty or thirty years of happiness, of carting my friends and boyfriends and parents and husband up the coast to share it, like showing them where the chanterelles come up. I think it was Saturday night that I dreamed I was in the forest at dusk and the place was alive with the sentient spirits of mushrooms. It wasn’t the mushrooms themselves but the spirits of them, in the redwood canopy winking light and communicating something to me that was joyous and exalted. While you’re still here to read this I have to thank you for all the joy. 

Things People Have Written About Juliette

January 5, 2010 by

There have been many beautiful notes from Juliette’s lifetime of friends and family. See below.

From Neils Harold:

Susan, I feel very grateful to have met Juliette White twelve years ago in Hungary, where together we made such beautiful music.  In subsequent years, thanks to her serendipitous visits here in Ann Arbor with her family, I was able to spend  more time with her and learn about the wide scope of her intellectual interests; she was truly a remarkable person, one of the most remarkable I will ever meet.  I cherish the three trips I made to her home in Albion.  During the first, several of her many friends were ailing, and her devotion to them was a lesson to me in how we should live.  Music was an immediate and elemental bond between us, and some of my most precious memories of her were generated by this shared spirituality.  But there were so many other points of fantastic contact–that is what amazed me most: her love of poetry, painting, her own drawing, her indefatigable curiosity about the intellectual life.  I see her living on in her remarkable family.

Tomorrow I will call Martin Donner, director of the Camerata Pannonica, and others, whose lives she profoundly touched, to tell them that Juliette died around a quarter to three on Sunday, after a prolonged illness which she valiantly endured.   In her approach to what she knew would be the last year of life, when she lived vibrantly and comprehensively–among the many other memories of her that will survive her–she was a hero.    

From Maria Alemo:

     Dear granddaughter of Juliette,
 so sad to hear about Juliette leaving. Thanks a lot for letting me know and also for all
 the written pages on the web. You must miss her a lot, but also have many wonderful memories.
 Just briefly, because you must have a lot to go through and read,:
 Juliette and I met in Brussels,she came to study the baroque cello, and me the violin, around 1977.
 She came to visit in Sweden, twice, or maybe moore.I also came to Albion once, with husband and 2 kids.
 So much pleasure and joy around her.
 She learned me a lot about living,being.
 Last time we met was in Rome, and that must have been the very hot summer 2004.
 My son Jakob met her on a concert he played chambermusic, maybe in Chicago, last year, I think.
 Last time we talked was when she just had lost her voice.
 Love her dearly,and angry at myself that I didn´t manage to get over this fall.But it´s wonderful to
 know that she had all family around. 
 She was always mentioning you, Alexandra, with a lot of love and proudness.
 Wish you all the best,and, if you ever come to Sweden,Stockholm, I would be very happy to hear from you,
 and get you a place to stay, or else what. 
  warm regards, marie alemo
From Bob Winn:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your e-mail. I have been thinking about Juliette a great deal since I heard from Marcia that she had died. I didn’t know about her illness, though I might have guessed it when you and Marcia told me about the musical event for Juliette at “our” house on the Ridge.

I am reluctant to join Facebook, so I’ll simply say a few words here and leave it to you to post them or not.

When I think of Juliette I think of how she brought a spirit of play with her wherever she went. She could be serious and playful at the same time–focused on music, for instance, but never forgetting that our playing was, in fact, our play.

I remember a time we visited Juliette in Soreze in Southwestern France. We were traveling with some German friends–good friends but uncomfortable traveling companions because of our differing styles and tastes. (We liked cafes; they made a point of avoiding them. They liked to visit every historic monument; we preferred one or two a day.) When we got to Juliette’s and sat down to a fabulous dinner, all the tension dissolved as we entered Juliette’s warm world of playful affection. Our friends were charmed and we were deeply grateful. It was one of the loveliest evenings I can recall.

Thank you Juliette, for bringing out the best in us all.

And thank you, Paul, for helping to organize this tribute.


There are other rich thoughts which will be posted anon.

Hello to all that are still processing/reading this blog.

To Continue or Not

December 18, 2009 by

Shall we send more of Juliette’s tidbits out into the ether-regions of the web? OR is anyone tuning in/out? It seems enough for now. Email if you have questions, something to post (that is too long for Facebook)… or lingering thoughts about Juliette.
Thanks for helping us along with your comments.

Mongolia Entry 3

December 12, 2009 by

Dear Ones,
Many thanks for your emails. It was also really nice to receive letters when I arrived in Pondicherry.
My niece, Barbie Dailey, has made a beautiful place for an Archives Lab and her home in the Sri
Aurobindo Ashram. Yesterday I went to the famous Auroville community… My room here overlooks the
Bay of Bengal in the Ashram’s Park Guest House. I am not often there. We are often running around on
Barbie’s moped on the crowded market streets.
From Sept 19 – 29 I was in Thikse. Oct 1-6 I lived in Kullu. I was with subsistence families. That is,
they grew their vegetables and used their milk daily, but very little. We ate so well and had lots of milk
tea. Steve Katton in Arcata made the original contact for me. I relaxed and enjoyed, knowing these
people, and they “spolied me rotten”…Between Leh (Thikse) and Manali (Kullu) I had a nightmare
journey on the treacherous Himalya road. Indian driver, very good, (had to be). Taxi-Jeep, 3 Indian
passengers and four of us foreigners. We were supposed to take 13 hours. It took 23. Five hours were
waiting for a stuck bus across the narrow road, rock cliff behind, 1000 metres down. There we waited in
the snow as people, including our Aussi, chipped away at the rock cliff. The army came to look. A truck
with a winch finally arrived. The truck got out. Then the army vehicle wouldn’t start. Meanwhile,
vehicles are double-parked on the south side and many of us were waiting on the north side to finally,
hopefully, get through. I was curled up in the back of the Jeep with altitude sickness… We finally arrived
in Manali, “Dragons Nest” Guesthouse with lush green views and mountains in the distance. We
laughed and joked about “the journey from Hadas”… Can also say Delhi is a nightmare. Sort of funny
too. As my three-wheeler to the train station in the traffic jam was slowed down for an enormous water-
buffalo pulling a flat-bed of lumber… Second class berth (A/c) was comfortable. No other foreigners
were on board.
So, here is the delux part of the trip. We’ll have a driver for visiting temples on the 15 and 16, then
goodbye in Chennai after shopping.
Goodbye India, happy to have met you. On to Australia Oct 19-Nov 7.
Mark and Nicole in Australia have email. So don’t stop please.
Love, j

More of Juliette’s 2003 Trip to Mongolia/India

December 10, 2009 by

Another entry from Juju’s emails to me.  2003
> ———————————
> Dear Z, Maybe forward this to Fi.. Wanted to tell you
> how nice it was to be with Janet Morris. and how tough
> it was at first to get around Moscow.However we got
> better & better at the Metro& the cryillic alphabet.
> I’ll definitely work on it should we go to St.
> P..Moscow was really interesting. Lots to see. We
> walked & walked and Janet was so kind as I had a tough
> time up & down stairs with 2 not one rotten knee.My
> new one’s the worst. I take Ibupropen & manage. Lucky
> Janet is so tolerant & really fun to be with. I’ve
> discovered that busines Hotels are fine if you”re with
> afriend but on your own it’s best to go to the
> guesthouses where there are other budget trvelers and
> students for company. I think that’s why I could enjoy
> Ulan Bator. It’s a dirt y city but Mumbai really has it
> beat! Moscow is well kept. With maps & patience it’s
> possible to get around. Very, very few speak
> English…We were so thrilled to go to the Bolshi
> Ballet.We got Non-visibility seats in the 3rd rank
> way to stage right onthe 1st row. Great to see the
> patternsof the great dancers. We could see the orch. &
> conductor. Janet had Binocs. They were performing
> th”Legend of Love” which had oriental roots…….. so
> the music & the coreography was slightly different &
> interesting. The stars were always in bright body
> suits. LIMBER. Janet is a very good example of the
> benefits of daily 3 mile walks. Really good shape(to
> begin with)………..I look forward to being out of
> cities, trains & planes in a few days for afew days.
> with no idea how long I’ll stay in the mountains,
> probably aweek then there’s the mountain bus trip
> south if the roads are open.That will take some time.
> uess Pete & Chris may meet at Sutherlands’…I’ll
> be in touch from Pondicherry and Barbie Dailey as she
> has email. Just have to say I did Like Mongolia,
> the Trans siberian & Russ ia. Sending
> love,noodle–
> ___________________

Juliette’s Trip Through Mongolia

December 9, 2009 by

Sent August 2003

dear friends &relations,After a month & acomputer that seems to work it ‘s time for a report. I feel as though I’ve been away much longer!

I’ve just spent two days at a ger camp “Manzhir Khiid” 40ks from Ulaa batuur(a relly polluted, ugly city)Gers are Mongolian feltcanvas covered yurts..There was such good air, wild flowers,gurgling stream bordered with fir forest. and birds. At night I had a fire in the pot bellid stove i(in the center of the ger.. Never mind that I forgot soap and only had bottled water.I took myself on a local bus.Iwas the 12th.No one spoke for the hour it took us to Zuumod, not even the 2 little childrenwho didn’t count as passengersAt Zuumod an ola man in theMongolian “del” costume led me to a short cut to the Manzhir Kid Monastery & ger camp. The Communists did in the old Monastery , it’s a ruin of thick adobe pieces of walls .A new model of brightly painted wood is now a little museum…………I walked alot & sllept alot…………. WAsn’t it lucky my right knee went out at Esterhazy?(The cushion between the knee acap & femur)It was so painfu l & I couldn’t bend my leg. Any where else, the Moscow Station, A St. Petersburg Canal, the Trans-Siberian train,the ger campcould have been tough but Martin Donner organizesw the 2 weeks in Hungay. He’s a doctor and within 24 hours he gave me a shot of Procaine. FIXED! Actually it might have been OK in Helsinki, so civilized.Highlights there were the hosts,tiny grilled fish in the market, crayfish inthe country at an “al Fresco” party in the rain under an imprvised tent,with lots of singing & booze, a pleasant suana at my some interesting sight-seeing… in ST. petersburg I found a hostel , by chance near the RR statio($21) . I checked my stuff & could walk to the old beautiful city, see the Russian Museum, Have an hour boat rideand catch the train to Mocow.There, took a taxi 15 ks from the center to a high rise complex.My luggagecarrier broke, I dragged my stuf from Buildin g to building to a $30 room.Businesas men & backpackers know about because it’s cheap for Moscow.. The next day I bought a strong carrier.So many people have them (& plaid plasic siutcases,but none in UB)it’ tough in Moscow. No Englih signs,rare, very rare Ennglish speakers. Janet Morris, who will meet me on Sept 1st here and rid back onthe wonderful!! Trans -Siberian will go back to Moscow for 6 days before I fly to India & ladakh………we’ll go to the country before leaving UB. If the Mongolian train is half as comfortable as the Chinese train Ill be happy. Siberia is lush & interesting. I was never bored. Here I have a big , light room$12 in an apartment of a 70,swet, beautiful.

So here you have it. My month “in a nutshell” ..sending lots of love to all

Epilogue One – The Dying Process

December 7, 2009 by

During Juliette’s last days, it helped us a lot to have information about dying; it reassured us to know that what was happening to Juliette was a normal part of the dying process.  For this information we turned to our hospice nurse, Arlene Case, and various books on dying, especially a self-published book called ” Dying: A Natural Process” by Denys Cope.

In the spirit of helping others who might have to care for a dying person, we are providing this overview of what we experienced during Juliette’s dying process.  We understand that this process is unique for everyone, but thought it might provide comfort if you saw your loved one experience something similar to Juliette’s experience, much of which agreed with our books on dying, and some of which didn’t.


Friday, November 20, was the day Juliette picked to stop eating and drinking.  Her loved ones were supportive, but many were worried about this decision.  However, Juliette cutting herself off from food and water was nothing like a healthy person doing the same thing.  Juliette’s body was already well into the dying process, and she had long since stopped enjoying food.  Giving up food was not a hardship for her. She decided to cut out liquids to speed up the process, which turned out to be harder.

Once Juliette decided stopped eating and drinking, she moved very quickly through the dying process.  After a couple of days, she was no longer able to get up and walk to the bathroom. Exertion often caused her to become nauseated. Her brief time with a Fentanyl patch caused her loads of nausea, so we took it off. Ativan helped control her nausea (which persisted even after removing the Fentanyl patch).

After three days of of no food or drink, she decided to drink again and thoroughly enjoyed a little water (usually in the form of ice chips) and milk.

During this time she began to talk to people who were not present, both living and dead. She was conscious of this and was concerned that she was going crazy.  As we had read to expect this, we let her know that she was fine and to go ahead and have her conversations and we would do our best to figure out when she was taking to us. We often responded, even if it was clear that she was talking to Grandtar or someone else, since it seemed to comfort her. It was almost as if she was both awake and dreaming at the same time.

Staring the night of November 26, she experienced about 18 hours of “terminal restlessness”. She wanted to sit up and leave her bed but was unable to do so. She pulled at her clothes and covers, was very uncomfortable, and thrashed around a  lot. We had read about “terminal restlessness” in the dying process book  so we were able to understand and deal with this. During this time we did help her to sit up for a half-an-hour or so, which seemed to comfort her greatly.

At the end of the period of restlessness she seemed content and proceeded to sleep, and sleep, and sleep (for about two days). During these two sleeping days, she was almost completely unresponsive, but did become more aware if a new person entered the room or stood by her bed. However, she no longer spoke.  At the start of this period, her breathing was deep and regular with lots of snoring like Juliette in her prime. After about a day, her breath became shallower and more forced, breathing with her mouth wide open. In her final hours, her breath would stop for a while then resume, sometimes for 30 seconds or more. She also demonstrated the “death rattle” for about two hours,  as she breathed through a layer of phlem that had accumulated.

At the very end (the last hour), we had expected a peaceful time with her breathe slowly leaving her– this did not happen. We had expected her pulse to increase to tell us of her imminent death– this also didn’t happen. We were taken by surprise by the amount of vocalizations… lots of softs “ahs!” concluding with a loud intense “aahhhhh” and her eyes opening wide, which hadn’t happened in a couple of days.  Finally, with her eyes closed again, her body went into mouthing small, unproductive, breaths.  After a minute of this, receiving no oxygen, she stopped moving. We checked and found no pulse.

Monday December 7

December 7, 2009 by

A version of this obituary will run in the North Coast papers: Advocate and Beacon this coming Thursday.

(It would’ve been nice to add that she entertained a steady stream of guests, lived in her one room wood-stove heated cabin, worked in her garden… the Energizer battery-driven 87 year old.) Add that to your final year, if you can!

Juliette White, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and dear friend, died peacefully on November 29, 2009 in her home, in Albion.
Juliette was born to musician parents in Kingson N.Y. in 1922 and grew up in Bronxville N.Y. Early in her life, she became an accomplished cellist with a particular interest in the viola da gamba. Blessed with wanderlust and an open, inviting character, Juliette traveled extensively in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa, twice circling the globe, making friends wherever she went.
An original member of the Symphony of the Redwoods, and cellist for The Mendocino Music Festival, Juliette was friend, mentor and role model to many younger musicians. An inspirational cook and hostess, she was a master of the impromptu dinner party.

Her endless passions for travel, nature, all of the arts, and time with family/friends, led her, in her final year to Ann Arbor, Boston Massachusets — three times, the Panama Canal on a cruise, two months in Mexico, a concert at the Frank Gehry designed Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the hummingbird migration in Arizona, St. Petersburg for two weeks to visit the Hermitage, and a 16 hour car ride with her grandson to Tuscarora, Nevada to visit a dear friend: a one year sampling of Juliette’s extraordinary and wholly lived 87 years.

A collection of decorated envelopes sent to Juliette by her many artist friends, entititled “Letters to Juliette,” was recently published. She dabbled in painting, poetry and she made and sold jewelry from materials collected during her travels.

Her sons Chris and Peter White, daughter Sophia, and her granddaughters Nina White and Alexandra Lexton-Metzner were with Juliette in her final hours. She is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.