Friday, July 28, 2006

Anne Comes to Call

Bea participates actively in visits with Barbara, our lovely new volunteer, as well as with Lisa, while I get away to Orleans and spend some time with garden-center flowers. Upon my return, I call Anne because Bea is doing so very well. Anne tells me she will pop in the shower and be right over. She arrives twenty minutes later. Bea receives this special friend, who lived in our cottage for a number of years and looked after my parents, with great pleasure. The whole time Bea remains alert, articulate and precise in her thinking, surprisingly so. Here is a bit of their conversation:

Anne: “Seems you’re up and about today?”

Bea: “Well, I don’t know about that …”

Anne: “Anna and Iris both send regards.”

Bea: “It’s especially nice to see you, dear. What’s new?”

Anne tells Bea about a new book she is illustrating.

Bea: “For children?”

Anne: “Yes. The author called me.”

Bea: “That’s wonderful. I bet you’re tired of painting houses.”

Anne: “I still live on Slough Pond in the winter.”

Bea: “Let me think about that a minute.”

Anne: “I found your book, with the photos, on the bookshelf there. You and Paul both autographed it.”

Bea: “It’s so very nice to see you. I haven’t seen you in a long time. What have you been up to?”

Anne: “I went to Canada, where I grew up ... I’ve missed you. I brought you some oysters.”

Bea: “I haven’t had oysters since Caesar was a pup. We’ll have them for dinner. I’ll feel like a pig and eat them all.”

Anne: “I brought 10. Your all-time record was 12.”

Then Anne tells Bea about the Wellfleet Oysterfest

Bea: “I want to be sure to go.”

Anne: “There were thousands of people. 10,000, last year.”

Bea: “For heaven’s sake, I had no idea it had such an impact.”

Anne: “Right after your birthday, October 4th.”

Bea: “How good of you to remember! I think I’m going to be 97.”

Anne: “When I had problems with artwork, you’d help me out with the drawings. Do them darker, you’d say, or lighter. I appreciated that.”

Bea: “I’m sort of balmy now. I’m almost 97, you know.”

Anne: “Congratulations!”

Bea: “Well, I don’t want to be 97. I want to stay alive. I know perfectly well I’m nearing the end. It’s sort of difficult to think about dying. But I had a wonderful life and a dear family …”

Anne promises to return with her latest drawings. A remarkable visit! Bea’s affection for Anne lit up her whole face. Two women of different generations, lifestyles, and backgrounds who learned to love each other deeply. Bea became a mother-surrogate for Anne for all those years Bea’s own daughter – me! – lived in Europe. I’m so glad Anne came.

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