Carol Serling, widow of Rod Serling, faithful defender and steward of his work, passed away on January 9, 2020, at age 91.
Many years ago, Carol told her daughters that she would like this poem to be read at the time of her death…
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
by Mary Elizabeth Frye
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.
Nicholas Parisi, author of Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination:
In the years following Rod Serling’s death, his widow Carol proved herself to be a fierce protector of her husband’s legacy, a dedicated keeper of the flame. She never remarried. Carolyn Kramer Serling died on January 9, 2020. She was 91 years old.
The vast majority of posthumous Serling productions have been remarkably high quality–and Mrs. Serling deserves tremendous credit for that. Her name graces several terrific volumes of original short stories inspired by The Twilight Zone. She was instrumental in the publication of Twilight Zone: The Magazine, of which I believe Rod would have been more proud than anything else that has carried the Twilight Zone name. Her efforts helped lead to excellent remakes of Rod’s “In the Presence of Mine Enemies” and “A Storm in Summer” (for which Rod received a posthumous Emmy nomination). Her discovery of Rod’s unproduced “Where the Dead Are” (which is better than you remember) led to the production of Twilight Zone: Rod Serling’s Lost Classics. Despite being gone for more than 40 years, Rod Serling’s name is not only still relevant but legendary, with much thanks to the keeper of the flame.
Before all of this, Carolyn Kramer was Rod’s first reader and most important critic. He took her opinion seriously. And when, while they were both students at Antioch College, she suggested that he submit one of his radio scripts to the Dr. Christian contest, he took her advice. The result was a big prize and a gigantic boost to the young writer’s confidence. The rest, we can say, is history.
I never met Mrs. Serling. As soon as my book was published, I sent her a copy along with a letter explaining that I had never contacted her because the nature of my book didn’t necessitate such a conversation, and I didn’t want to bother her if it was unnecessary. The truth is, I was afraid of her. I was afraid that the fiercely protective keeper of the flame would be suspicious, and maybe discourage my work. I described my book as a love letter to Rod Serling, and said that I hoped that she would enjoy it. She responded immediately with a very gracious letter, thanking me for the “love letter” and saying she looked forward to reading it. I cherish that letter.
Rest In Peace, Mrs. Serling, and thank you.