Marcella the Polymath by Thomas Arnow

Marcella knew more about different subjects than anybody I could imagine. She knew England both as a tourist and as a native and understood the governments and healthcare systems of the UK and US to a depth that few experts in the field could match. She told me about the family background of Princess Di and how she entered such an incompatible marriage with Charles.

I used to contact Marcella for answers to difficult questions. At the start of the Iraq War, I asked why Tony Blair acted as Bush’s lapdog. She told me that Blair believed in the cause. She knew a great deal about agriculture, not one of my favorite subjects, but I listened when she warned that modern techniques resembled those that helped cause the American dustbowl of the 1930s, which blasted millions of acres of topsoil.

She predicted major events, though with some extra pessimism. She told me about the war in Yugoslavia well before it happened and of dire consequences in Africa when governments expelled whites and Asians who knew how to make agriculture work.

 

Tom Arnow

Present Zimbabwe and Uganda some years past are prime examples. She also foretold bloody breakups in South Africa and Russia that never came (with the exception of Chechnya), though both countries have severe problems.

Another prediction is coming to pass now in 2010, the year of her death. Perhaps she heard some news of it. When many European nations adopted the Euro, Marcella told me they were making a terrible mistake. Different countries with different economies need flexible interest and exchange rates to keep the whole system in some sort of equilibrium. I didn’t think much about it and kept hearing great news about the Euro until recently, when economic meltdowns in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain earned the politically incorrect moniker “PIIGS.”

Wealthy thrifty countries such as Germany will have to bail out poor, profligate ones such as Greece, which vexes the good German Burghers. I of course have no idea what will happen to the Eurozone but people talk of it flying apart. I wish Marcella could follow the news as it develops. Perhaps somewhere, somehow, she can.

Above: Tom Arnow, Marcella's brother. Below, .sister-in-law Maureen, nephew David and Tom.

Maureen, David and Tom Arnow. Photo by Pat Arnow

This is part of a tribute to Marcella Arnow by family and friends put together after her death Feb. 14, 2010, in Winchester, England. Her brother Tom wrote this rememberance of his multifaceted sister.

Back to Marcella Tribute Part 1

 
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