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Book Review:
“The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor — The Life and Times of Tony Mazzocchi” This is a fascinating book about a labor leader who has had tremendous influence on our lives, but whose name is not even known by millions of Americans. Please read my review.

 

[Image]  Hedda Garza died unexpectedly on Wednesday, August 23, 1995. This was a great shock for those who knew and loved her. This page is dedicated to her memory.

Hedda lived and worked for most of her life in New York City. She was primarily concerned with and active in political issues. Hedda began her long political life as a member of the Young Communist League on Long Island. In the mid l950s she joined the Socialist Workers Party where she became a well-known, dynamic, and charismatic activist in the New York branch of the SWP. She ran several times for public office on the SWP ticket in elections for US Senate, against Jacob Javits, and for other offices in the 1960s and ’70s.

Hedda was particularly known for her impassioned public speeches on behalf of socialism and she was especially effective in recruiting young people to socialist politics. She was also a widely known leader of the anti-Vietnam war movement in New York and very active in the movement for the legalization of abortion in New York. She remained an ardent socialist all her life. Last year she was engaged in gathering signatures for the full page advertisement that ran in the New York Times calling upon the United States to drop its blockade of Cuba.

For much of her adult life, Hedda was free-lance indexer, working for all of the major publishing houses. She was self-taught, starting work on her first book (if I remember correctly, she said it was a book of recipes) knowing nothing about the craft except what she herself wanted to see in a good index. But Hedda not only had the knack, she had an exceptional intellect, one that saw the connections between various things, and she was a very fast reader who retained what she read. Over the years, she compiled fine, detailed indexes for hundreds of books of all types and for many years of the Diabetes Journal. She was the compiler of the award-winning two-volume index to the House and Senate Watergate hearings.

In her later years, Hedda started what she had always to do — to write. The first magazine article she ever wrote was immediately published (and paid for!) in Ms. Magazine a dozen years or so ago; it was about male sexual disorders. More recently, she published an article about the Bring the Troops Home movement at the end of World War Two in a historical magazine. She also wrote numerous books for young adults.

What Hedda really wanted to do was to write fiction. She had a wonderful imagination and wrote beautifully, but like most new writers, she has had a very difficult time getting her works published. At the time of her death, two novels and two screenplays were with agents, but not yet published.

Those of us who were lucky enough to know her, go through political battles with her, and participate in the struggle to make the world a better place with her, will miss Hedda terribly. Politically, we will miss her intelligence, broad knowledge, strong principles, honesty and dedication. Personally, we will miss her warmth, humor, frankness and kindness. We will remember the hospitality she and Jim Cockcroft provided at their home in Chestertown, New York, the gourmet meals that Hedda loved to cook and serve their guests in their dining room overlooking Friends Lake and the Adirondacks, under the branches of the world’s biggest house plant (which she found in a dumpster in New York City and nurtured to truly gigantic size). Her meals were always full of things from the large garden that she and Jim kept, the cycles of which were always a part of their lives there, with planting, weeding, watering, harvesting hurriedly to beat the early mountain frosts, drying and canning. We will miss all of this, and our hearts go out to Jim, who will miss Hedda most acutely.



Contributors of text and memories to this page are:

  • James D. Cockcroft, Hedda’s longtime friend and companion.
  • Patrick Quinn, friend and comrade.
 

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Last Updated — April 06, 2013
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