The End of the World

©2020 Naomi Baltuck

I dedicate this story to Jamie G. Dedes, my friend and the founder and editor of the BeZine.  When she was diagnosed with a fatal lung disease, she must have felt like her world, as she knew it, had ended.  But her poetry, more than ever, hummed with truth and wisdom, each poem a love letter to the sweetness and bittersweetness of life.  Jamie built a new world, and with all her disabilities, she lived every day with more life and love and energy and purpose than any able bodied person I know.  She pulled together a global collective of poets, artists and writers dedicated to peace, sustainability, and social justice to carry on her work.  Her life was a gift she shared with us all, and her legacy timeless.



  1. scillagrace says:

    To a new beginning, and keeping family together. Today I took videos of the apartment my middle daughter will move into here in Corvallis. By next month, two of my daughters, their partners and I will all be living in the same town, with my son and his wife just an hour away. Safeguarding the family history and keeping connected is the role of the Kin Keeper, a term my sister-in-law said she heard in a Women’s Studies class. Now that I know the term, I see examples everywhere. We are Kin Keepers, and we play an important role in the community. Thank you for your model…which always looks like such fun! Love to you and your family, Priscilla

    1. Dear Priscilla, I love the term ‘kin keeper,’ an expression that I have never heard before, but it fits. I am so glad that you will be so close to so. much of your family!
      My family is more important to me than anything. I had a good model. My mom was eight years old when her father died in the midst of the Great Depression, and she and her siblings were separated while my grandmother dealt with that loss. They also lost their home, because they could no longer make house payments, and in one of the coldest winters on record, they couldn’t afford coal to heat the house, and nailed blankets over the windows to keep in what little heat they generated.
      I remember Mom sitting in her chair and telling me how we would survive if another disaster should occur and the kids would lose their houses and have to come home to shelter with her. “The house is paid for, my social security will pay for groceries, we can put Lee and Tim and the babies upstairs, Connie and Marty in the TV room, Debbie on the couch, the boys in one half of the basement, and you and Mimi can have the other half of the basement…” It honestly never occurred to me that another disaster would happen, requiring us to shelter at home for nearly a year, so far, along with my daughter and her partner, and with my son and his partner living five minutes away, a part of our social bubble. But I was prepared, thanks to my mom.
      I hope you and your family stay safe and well. Long after this pandemic is over, you will be there, in the midst of family!
      Stay safe and be well!
      Love to you and yours,

  2. marydessein says:

    My, oh my, Naomi. Thank you. Your heart, your candor touched me deeply.

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thank you for stopping by, and sharing your generous response. I hope you and your little family is staying safe and well! Best wishes for a happy holiday and a happier new year.

  3. Meg says:

    Thanks for this Naomi. I love this treasured tale. It’s a book bound in love. M

    1. Dear Meg,
      Thank you! It was my first zine. I found making it and illustrating it really helpful to the storytelling process. Stay safe and well!

  4. Roy McCarthy says:

    That’s touching and brilliant Naomi, enhanced by the sketching. You are super-talented. Hope you + family are all safe and well.

    1. Dear Roy,
      Thank you so much for your kind response. We are all safe and well, working remotely, being extremely careful and sheltering at home.
      How are you managing? What is life like in the Jersey of CoVid World? Do you have travel restrictions? Do people wear masks and shelter at home? Are you working on a new book? I was sorting through my books a few days ago, culling to make room in a full house, and found your novel. Of course, it stayed put on the shelf!
      Stay safe and well,

      1. Roy McCarthy says:

        Good, pleased to know you’re all well. After surviving 2020 in good shape Jersey’s numbers have suddenly gone through the roof. Restrictions, masks are back, travel difficult. However vaccinations started today so hopefully we’re seeing the beginning of the end.
        It’s eight books and finished for me. In my post-retirement world I’m doing some writing freelancing, memoirs and such.
        Good to hear from you Naomi, stay safe.

      2. I’m so glad to hear that you made it through. Just hold tight for a little while longer. It sounds like you’ve got it all figured out. But you never know…there might be another book in you yet! Stay well and safe. Best wishes for the New Year.

  5. Roy McCarthy says:

    Reblogged this on Back On The Rock and commented:
    Thoughts on family survival from the talented storyteller Naomi Baltuck.

    1. Dear Roy,
      Thanks so much for re-blogging The End of the World. It was my first zine ever, and was written in response to my son-in-law’s invitation to a private little “2020” art show at their home “gallery”. Wine and cheese served, formal attire requested, submissions accepted from and attended only by those in our little family bubble. We all took the challenge, and it was a fun and surprising evening. Even my husband took on the challenge and surprised us all with a piece titled “My Little World,” which, as a runner, you might appreciate. It was an enlarged map of our town, marking two different routes on the map in different colors; the six mile run he takes every morning and the three mile evening walk he and I take every night, plus three-dimensional markers at our library, the only physical location he goes to, where he picks up books in brown bags, and our home, where he has all his Zoom meetings. All the works of art were focused on our perceptions of this very strange and difficult year, and I think it was healing.
      Hope you stay well safe!

      1. Roy McCarthy says:

        What a fun yet cathartic response which you all seemed to have enjoyed. I’m a happy introvert so all this distancing has little personal impact on me though I ache for the sadness of others. Hopefully 2021 will be happier and we’ll more fully appreciate what we have.

      2. Agreed. I have my sweet bubble, and we are retired, so it’s possible for us to shelter at home, but I know there is so much suffering out there, and it breaks my heart. A new government that serves more than the thug-in-charge and his cronies will alleviate conditions. Here’s to 2021!

  6. equipsblog says:

    Wonderful tale. Glad you found the Noah’s Ark.

    1. Thank you so much! Finding that little ark was a wonderful way to get back inside the head of the little eight year old girl that I was, and to give me a better understanding of how I have been affected by my past. It was enlightening!
      I hope you are staying safe and well!

  7. slpmartin says:

    Indeed a wonderful remembrance gift to a wonderful woman.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I think of Jamie every day. She was an amazing and inspiring person.
      I haven’t had a chance to tell you how much I enjoyed your book of poetry about Aunt Bea, which I learned about on the BeZine, thanks to Jamie. I hope you are staying safe and well.

  8. Hey stranger great post! Glad you are well and still writing. Nutsfortreasure is now folsommillstudio lol Eunice Miller from NH

    1. Hi Eunice, it’s good to hear from you! I hope you are staying safe and well. Best wishes for a happier New Year!

      1. You as well Naomi ❤

  9. Great post Naomi. It is lovely to hear from you.

  10. Prior... says:

    Hi Naomi – this was a wonderful dedication to your friend with the horrible diagnosis –
    and love the way ou found the toy online – and the art and flow of this post was well done.
    enjoyed it very much

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