Monday, October 17, 2011


I received a lovely card today from my friend Molly (Gorman) Dumas. Molly was my matron of honor when I married Victor. I wish that the note inside had been available yesterday, when we read aloud people's remembrances at the service. At least I have this blog to run Molly's remarks:

"I'm facing the Wasatch Mountains, taking advantage of that fleeting season between parched grass and powder, when the rugged granite is draped in a Persian rug of foliage, remembering your mom. I want to describe the sky as it dissolves from Wedgewood blue to periwinkle, with its sable-brush strokes of apricot clouds. I can't help but think that the only reason I know the color Wedgewood blue is because your mom displayed a cherished few pieces in the living room where you grew up. And Betty rarely used common names for colors, so of course I cannot call the leaves green, red, and brown; they're olive, pomegranate, and tawny.

"My mental scrapbook of your mom is rather sketchy beyond my teen years. But those years of our adolescent friendship are as vivid as the panorama before me. I mentioned to you the other night that there were long hours I spent talking to her while waiting for you to wake up the mornings of sleepovers. I'd invariably wander into the kitchen, wondering what I was going to do until noon, and she would put the kettle on, saying, "...Tea, then?" I learned to drink tea with [milk and sugar], sitting there with your mom. Funny that in my recollections, she always seemed to be peeling potatoes or fruits, yet I don't think of her as a homemaker. To me, she was a font of words, baptizing me with adjectives poured from conversations we had while stirring spoons in teacups.

"We didn't have the gossipy talks one would think. We'd commiserate about the curiosities of American life: how automobiles came to be edified; why teenagers inserted striped triangles into their bell-bottoms; why elderly women added a blue hue to their cotton-fluff hair; how on Earth did Nixon become president; and who could possibly think that Velveeta was cheese. She'd giggle, pretending to stifle her response to such silly human behavior behind fingers...

"I realize these are memories of someone who was likely younger than you and I are now, yet who seemed a great deal wiser than I think of myself at this age. I will always be grateful to your mom for taking in this long-haired hippie friend of yours. She gave each of you a gift: a command of language that was not stunted at pre-pubescence, but rich as clotted cream. And I will be ever grateful that she shared a spot of it with me."

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