Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A sad farewell

Yesterday I drove down to Connecticut for a simple memorial service for an old friend I'll call Ann. I worked with her and P. at a small newspaper; the two of them eventually fell in love and married, we all moved on to new jobs and states, but I remember that period very fondly, as do many of us who were there around the same time. P. said a few words and invited us to scatter some of her ashes below a tree around which he he had planted some impatiens and scattered pink rose petals. Since he is a writer and a good one, his eulogy was spare but brilliantly evocative of what kind of person Ann was -- irreverent, funny, tough, incredibly stylish, warm. She was not a journalist (she was in the advertising department at the paper) but certainly had the wit and attitude to be one. She also had the best and most original taste I've ever encountered. It's not so hard to have good taste if you have money to afford the best materials and fabrics, the best designers, the best shops -- but she did it on a shoestring budget. She was famous for being able to walk into a highly unpromising thrift shop and emerge with pieces costing almost nothing that she transformed into the most incredibly colorful and stylish outfits. She also had he same kind of talent for gardening, almost British in scope (though she was actually French). As another guest, herself an expert gardener, pointed out yesterday, some of the plants in Ann's beautiful garden are actually considered weeds -- plants no one else would want -- but her sense of style and flair for combining and arranging disparate items made them work as part of a beautiful whole.

Though my contact with Ann and P. in recent years has been infrequent, I often think of them as well as the rest of the crew, and I still miss those people and that place, even though the pay was lousy, the hours long and the work sometimes stressful. But this event and a seeming explosion of reconnections via LinkedIn will, I hope, mean that we can all see each other more often and try to recapture some of that fun and creativity, the bond between us and the work we were usually proud of -- well, maybe not the all those writeups about Planning and Zoning meetings...

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