“West Marin”

From the messy desk of Amanda Eichstaedt, June 7, 2022


Van Van der Maaten’s memorial was Sunday. Community members joined together at Toby’s Feed Barn to remember Van. I knew Van, but not super well. He always had a kind word to say, and his manner was warm and welcoming. As Axel Nelson was getting the celebration of life started, David Clarkson stood up and asked anyone who had ever had anything painted by Van to stand up or raise their hand. There were very few people who did not stand or raise their hand. 

It was a lovely collection of remembrances, stories, and of course, music. I stood on the edge of the crowd, leaning up against bales of alfalfa, tearing up at the heartfelt stories, Van’s brother spoke about how important it is to process grief, and how important community is in that process. Van’s connection with his own son Nicholas, as well as many other young people that were in his life was remarkable. How lucky they were.

I looked around the barn and there were so many familiar people, some masked, others not, many that I have not seen since this pandemic started. I recognized that many of the people in attendance support KWMR, and likely many other local nonprofit organizations by donating their money, time, and expertise. 

This special group of people who moved to West Marin in the late 60s and 70s to make it their home all value community. We are beginning to lose some of these folks. They founded our nonprofit organizations, banded together to make sure their children had care, and rolled up their sleeves and participated in daily civic life. Many still do so to this day.

It is becoming more and more difficult for people to stay in West Marin, let alone to move here, unless you have the means to do so. I don’t have the answers, but am glad to know that this issue is being worked on by local organizations. 

Aren’t we lucky to have lived in a community with Van? You can say the same thing about so many of our community members. So tell those around you that you love and care about them. Life is short.

Three cheers for community!

Thank you for reading our newsletter and for your support of KWMR!

Amanda Eichstaedt
KWMR Station Manager and Executive Director


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