115/365 Ginevra

Daughter of a wealthy Florentine banker, Ginevra de’ Benci captivated my friend Saul. I’d not heard about her until he mentioned her in an ICQ conversation years ago and encouraged me to visit her in Washington, DC. I finally did and understood why he was so entranced by her. She’s the other woman I visit whenever I can.

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Ginevra de’ Benci

 

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114/365 Joanna

Marie first told me about Joanna Hiffernan when we both lived in Pittsburgh. Marie said she first saw her in Washington, DC and couldn’t stop thinking about her. I didn’t understand until I saw Joanna myself. She’s one woman I visit whenever I can and I often introduce her to people who visit me.

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Symphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl

113/365 Alexander Rostov

I have been spending my evenings, mornings, parts of my days and sometimes the wee hours of the morning with Alexander Rostov. He’s a gentleman through and through. He’s kind, a father figure to some. He’s smart. He’s adaptable — he has to be. I don’t want it to end, but end it must. I’m 70% the way through A Gentleman in Moscow.

111/365 Ranjiv

When Juan walked to the waiting Uber the driver seemed wary until I explained the situation. He shook his head and expressed his dismay about people living in the US who don’t speak English. I complimented his English, and then said that Juan’s English was far better than my Spanish or Hindi. He smiled and said I was a good person.

110/365 Juan

“Missus, can you help?” called a voice from the dark as I walked home from Catherine‘s house. A Latino worker’d lost the keys to his truck and couldn’t find his cell phone. I called the phone, with no luck. I called him an Uber to get home to Virginia. He called to thank me this morning on his, found, cell.

108/365 V.Q.

I know V.Q. from an online forum I joined in 1998. I didn’t know her well and the only interaction I ever had was to “host” some stuffed animals she sent from Australia. We’re Facebook friends, but her completely random chatter is disconcerting. Others rarely interact with her, but she posts daily, often paranoid, ramblings about a variety of topics including spankingbdsm.

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107/365 Mrs. Jordan

I didn’t write about Cindy’s mom eleven years ago when I wrote about Cindy and her dad. My memories of Ellen are vivid, but few. She owned a bookstore in Elgin, had prematurely white hair, was a Buddhist Unitarian Universalist and vegetarian. I think of her when I smell wood smoke. She named her home in the woods “Walden Oaks.” RIP.

106/365 Catherine

I met Catherine ten years ago but it feels like I’ve known her much longer. We’re of similar age, but different backgrounds. We quickly became fast friends and it is rare that we don’t see each other regularly. The fact that she lives about seven houses east of me helps, but so do our common interests: reading, wine, talking, each other.

105/365 Jeanette

Petite, powerful, smart, beautiful, Jeanette greeted me my first day in the office with a big smile and slight drawl. As my supervisor she was an active listener and always had sage advice. Although cancer took her five years ago Outlook still suggests her name when I type “jeanette” into the address field. I’m always tempted to send her an email.
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104/365 Aunt Ginny now

Aunt Ginny developed many health issues after retirement. Rheumatoid arthritis;  mysterious infections in her arm that required heavy antibiotics and draining tubes; and finally diabetes. Despite being in constant pain she remained outwardly cheerful to me when we spoke. We’d not spoken in months when Uncle Jack called to tell me she was gone. Her leg amputation was not a success.

101/365 Tameka

Of all the caretakers Mom had during her last year, Tameka was by far the best. She was caring, smart and always took the initiative. Unfortunately care-giving is not a lucrative profession and she had two girls to feed. Last I heard from her she was going to college to become a social worker. I know she’ll make a great one.

99/365 Andrew Now

Gone is that often volatile child and in his place is a most charming, kind and generous man. He’s a feminist, an anti-racist activist, an avid supporter of LGBTQ+ persons. He loves music of all kinds (except maybe classical), dances often, laughs a lot, cries sometimes. He’s a strong empath, a reader, a loving partner. We see him often.

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Andrew now

97/365 Keith

Keith didn’t start out wanting to follow his father’s footsteps as a clergyman, but after a career in publishing he chose to attend a Lutheran seminary and landed his first ministry at Mom’s church. He’s kind and smart and helped me through the deaths of my parents. His partner (and former cop) dyes the Chicago River green on Saint Patrick’s Day.

94/365 Great Grandmother Jessie

Jessie Tyler Green Harris grew up on Highland Avenue, the daughter of a veterinarian and Scottish housewife. She married young, gave birth to my Grandpa Green, divorced the father then married Frank Harris. She posed for several photos. She was struck by a vehicle in the 1940s and perished. Mom remembered her as unhappy. The old photographs tell a different story.

93/365 Francis from Two Rivers

Found at Mom’s:

  • One note (Mom’s handwriting) containing Francis LeClair’s address in Two Rivers, WI.
  • One photo of a man sitting on a structure with “Aug. of ’54 A time to remember” written on the back. It was signed FLC.
  • One telegram from Francis LeClair to Mom on her wedding day (9-4-1954) reminding her it was not too late to change her mind.

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91/365 Richard

Like Larry, Richard was one of Mom’s former classmates. After Dad died Richard became Mom’s knight-in-shining-armor. He took her on dates, drove her to doctor appointments and  other errands. He knew about the Alzheimer’s diagnosis long before I did. He took care of her, hiding the worst of her symptoms from my brother and me until he couldn’t do it alone.

90/365 What I didn’t do

I did not see The English Beat at The Barns of Wolf Trap tonight. I did not sit in the front row. I did not dance to almost every song. I did not pose for a photo with the most energetic member of the band. I do not dance. I do not pose with band members.

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89/365 Liars in the bathroom

My three bathrooms house liars. Sure, their labels proclaim Burt’s Bees® Citrus and Ginger Hand Soap or Everyone™ Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Hand Soap but they’re deceivingly filled with cheap Softsoap® from Costco®.

A recent young guest told me she loved my Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Hand Soap. I shook my head and said, sorry, it’s a lie.

88/365 The secret in the attic

Under the smaller built-in dresser in the attic bedroom was a secret hiding place. I used it for my diaries and journals. My brother used it for his cigarettes and alcohol. Someone later used it for pornographic magazines. Mom denied knowing about the magazines and said Dad wasn’t into that sort of thing. Someone was lying.