Ellen Lee Arendall McCracken Kingsley left us in the small hours of the morning of June 8, 2019, to be reborn into the next realm. Her spirit is carried in this realm by her six children, her thirteen grandchildren, her sixteen great-grandchildren, every dreamer, every seeker, and every rebel with a cause.
Ellen Lee was the beloved only daughter of Sadie and Jake Arendall. Born on the cusp of the Great Depression, she grew up in rural Pittsylvania County, Virginia, "running free in the great outdoors." This included: splashing in rain barrels, exploring forests, and climbing onto the most comfortable branch of the cherry tree to read her treasured books.
She lived with her parents and grandparents in an old Victorian house, which was as haunted as it was hallowed, and when she was grown, she would scare the bejesus out of her children with stories of the insistent ghosts. The Breather, the Knocker, the Lady in White. This ensured a lifetime of insomnia for each of them.
But perhaps it was the presence of these ethereal beings - who would wake her in the night, who would bring a cold wind to the landing, who would leave French coins on her dresser - that encouraged her to live in the Knowledge that what is seen by some, is not seen by all.
Mom taught us to look for the fairies. She taught us to play with them. She taught us that metaphor is the bud of the rose.
She also taught us to look around the next corner to see if there was something even more exciting there. It's true though, that from time to time, she may have just been looking for her keys. Mom often lost her car keys. In a strawberry patch in Virginia. In the Withlacoochee River in Florida. She left them under sofa cushions. And in refrigerators.
She was also known to lose the car that went with them. She once searched a parking lot for two and a half hours, towing two full grocery carts, until she finally located her yellow Subaru. She blamed the car for being too small to spot.
Ellen Lee married in Richmond, Va., and eventually moved to Virginia Beach, where she brought her natural gift of teaching into the classrooms of Old Donation Elementary, Woodstock Elementary, Louise Luxford Elementary, Kemps Landing, and Princess Anne Jr. High School. She would later teach at Clearwater High School in Clearwater, Fla.
She gave the gift of reading to countless children, allowing them mastery over words otherwise tangled by dyslexia. She gave students the power of story and belief. She put Aslan into the hearts of many open to receive him. She freed the minds of generations.
She was a longtime member of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, and a member of the Society of Friends Quaker Meeting, both in Va. Beach.
She was the mother who dashed into the surf with her children. She was the mother who waited out the afternoon shower, knowing the beach was even better after the rain.
She is survived by her two sons, Stephen and John, her four daughters, Sarah, Jude, Joellyn and Patti; and the beloved brood of grandchildren and great-grandchildren who brought immense grace and joy into her life.
Ellen Lee had an indigenous heart and a poet's veins.
She taught us of Hindu creeds and Sufi prayers, of sweat lodges and the Four Winds.
She taught us about the miracle of Consciousness.
She taught us to believe in the possibility of another possibility.
She taught us the world is a magical place and we are the magicians.