Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Impressions...........of us............

Our fingerprints don't fade from the lives we touch.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Time & Loss..........

Of all the losses, time is most irrecuperable for it cannot be redeemed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


If you've read my post for March 20th, you will know things are movin' & shakin'.  Never in my wildest dreams, nor John's either I'm sure, would I have thought the tragic story of my brother would become art.  A woman, whom I haven't yet personally met - Patricia Sahertian - came into mine & John's life (another "divine intervention") and as a result of her kind spirit, generous nature and artistic vision, John will be honored and remembered in a truly beautiful way. This, however, is not just about John but also Hart Island and its hundreds of thousands of current (and future) residents. My focus will remain on the Island - before I die, the dream will be realized.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thought for the day.............

If you don't scale the mountain, you can't view the plain.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Art of Death.........John, Hart Island & Patricia..........

Press Release

A Book About Death ~ Memento :: Willo North Gallery, Phoenix, AZ :: Show Dates: May 3 – 28, 2011
Opening Reception: May 6, 2011, 6 – 10 p.m.
Contact: Patricia Sahertian :: :: 602.218.6046 ::

Phoenix, Arizona – Artist, Patricia Sahertian, is organizing an A Book About Death ~ Memento exhibit, following the tradition started in 2009 at the Emily Harvey Foundation in New York City, which inspired a long list of international ABAD exhibitions subsequently. This show, at Willo North Gallery, owned by Kristin Shears, will not only highlight postcards from artists around the world, but will also ask the participants to include an added feature: small mementos. “Each person participating in the ABAD show has a story to share; they may have experienced a loss, or have a profoundly felt sympathy towards death. The work is very personal and the mementos extremely touching,” said Sahertian.

Sahertian’s own work turned to the topic of death when she collaborated on an artists book that expressed the plight of those buried on Hart Island – potter’s field for New York City. That work focused on the sadness behind the stories of thousands of unknown, unclaimed or indigent infants.

During her research, Patricia learned of Julie S. Lantz whose brother died in 1972 at the age of 24 and had also been buried, without the opportunity of family consent, on Hart Island. Patricia was deeply moved by the story of this Honorably Discharged Air Force Veteran, John S. Turner AF 18844546, and his sister’s efforts to have his body exhumed and brought home to Southern California. Initially Julie had been told that her brother’s remains, buried for nearly 38 years, were found, however, to her profound disappointment, a bureaucratic mistake had been made.

In addition to the long-overdue military burial Julie was trying to obtain, she wanted to include John’s personal items (his mementos) with his body. Unfortunately without John’s remains, no plot or niche could be used to bury only his things. Julie contacted the Veteran’s Administration seeking authorization to bury her brother’s items in a designated Veteran’s cemetery, but she has been rejected, citing “no remains”. She has written to Senators, Congressmen, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in Washington, D.C. and, as a final effort, to President Obama, all to no avail. Julie did receive authorization for a military ceremony at the Riverside National Cemetery in Southern California – these arrangements have yet to be finalized.

With the upcoming ABAD ~ Memento exhibition approaching, Patricia contacted Julie with the proposal that she would like to base her postcard entry for the show on John’s story. In addition, Julie agreed to loan all of her brother’s personal items to Patricia, who will display these mementos, in a special area of the gallery, telling the unique story of a long forgotten soul, an Air Force Veteran and a beloved brother.

For every story shared, there are millions more untold. The A Book About Death ~ Memento exhibit is dedicated to respectfully presenting these uniquely interpretive postcards and mementos from artists around the world.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

First, I'm found.......... then I'm not..............

Well folks, it's now my turn to speak.............from the grave. So let me ask you?  Is Hart Island the place you'd want as your final home?  Is it your intention, once you've left this earth, to never have anymore human contact?  To never have any flowers lain upon your head?  To never celebrate a holiday, your birthday?  To never have someone walk past you and recognize your existence?  I sure as hell didn't and for many, many years that is how I lived my death.  My sister, although I had long thought she had forgotten about me, knows my pain, and that of thousands of others.  She knows what it's like to be forgotten in death, not to mention in life, and she's doing her best to rectify that.............for me and so many others.  Is she out of her mind?  No!  Is she so full of herself that she thinks she can make a difference?  No!  Is she dead serious about what's doing?  Absolutely! 

I've been on this Island now for 39+ years, more years than I was when I found myself in this long forgotten place.  Here I will stay, "ashes to ashes and dust to dust", that's what I am now.  I fly around in this afterlife, along with many of my neighbors who have now become my "family", and we ask, "what the hell?".  I haven't given up hope, as my sister is quite the pistol, and if I have to wait another 39 years before I can feel at peace and actually enjoy my well earned rest, that's what I'll do.  I'll be back.

Remember, the dead do speak.................. and tell the truth - they've nothing more to lose after all.

John S. Turner
Hart Island, NYC

Monday, March 7, 2011

You gotta start moving for movement to happen..............

Well, I'm happy to report I have finally heard from Councilman James Oddo's office regarding his continuing efforts on my behalf.  Sometimes, I guess you gotta push, in a not-so-nice-way, to get results - in short, you gotta be a pain in the ass.   Hopefully, the matter of John will be looked into, and the DOC will be investigated as to their irresponsible actions. So, now I wait again. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Isn't the world wide web/internet great.....................

Through my ongoing research, I've found  a document entitled "Statement to New York City Council Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, Committee on Finance......."  submitted by Dora Schriro, Commissioner,  NYC Department of Correction, dated June 1, 2010. A cursory review does not indiate any mention of Hart Island whatsoever, i.e., costs of upkeep, etc.  Why is that?  Isn't Hart Island under their jurisdiction?  Shouldn't it be included in annual budgetary-type report(s)?  Again, just askin'.  Will review in further detail and see what it doesn't say.  
Note:  when it was known the DOC gave me and other city officials inaccurate info as to the finding of my brother's remains, Commissioner Schriro was contacted - her response was neither sufficient nor was it explanatory as to what happened and what was going to be done; the internal investigation, if they actually had one, didn't yield any satisfactory conclusion, at least not  for me and I'm guessing not for anyone else for that matter.  Gee, you'd think she would have at least personally apologized, right?   Wrong!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Did you know..............

there is another "Heart" Island in NY?  I didn't.  Through my research about my "Hart" Island, I found there exists another, of course, not to be confused.....................Heart Island, on which stands the famously known tourist attraction Boldt Castle, is "one of the 1,793 islands found in the Saint Lawrence River which forms part of the U.S.- Canada border".   Blah, blah, blah.  It was abandoned by its extremely rich owner, George Charles Boldt, shortly after the death of his beloved wife (1904), for whom he had built the castle in the first place.  Until 1977, when it was "gifted" to the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, it had lain barren and left to rot like so many other fabulous historical landmarks - can we all say Hart Island?  Fortunately for this beautiful "home", it was lovingly restored, although many rooms were left "unfinished" to give the full effect of how it looked before restoration began.  Point?  Why can't Hart Island have a new owner, a caregiver that would do just that - give care - and see the beauty, potential and historical value and begin to do something about it?  Why does the Department of Corrections even continue to have control?  They aren't really doing anything with Hart Island except giving low level inmates of Ryker's Island the task of burying and disinterring bodies that no one, other than family and friends, care about.   Don't get me wrong, the inmates perform a very important task, and they can still continue to do so til the end of time or they run out of inmates - whichever occurs first - but the New York City Department of Corrections should not have jurisdiction over something so important when they're not doing what they can to turn Hart Island into the place it is - hallowed ground and final resting place for so many...........including my brother!  Seriously, why can't these inmates be put to better and more use - start fixing some buildings, planting more flowers, building some monuments, adding some prayer/meditation benches, add some fountains?  And why the hell isn't something being done to allow family, friends, or just your general public who may be interested in visiting, easier access?  I'm just askin'.  And, how come more people aren't asking the same questions?