|Commemorative Cake from Feel Good, Jean's favorite Bakery|
Jean left a year ago, but she has not been forgotten. Sunday we gathered in the backyard at Wood Street, sharing memories, and appreciating the stirrings of spring as she would have: the plum tree overhanging the potting table already sports a few of its five-petaled white blossoms. And we
|Blossoming tree, which will bear |
little yellow plums in early summer
The surviving spouse designs the gravestone, and according to Jewish tradition I had a year. Time's up. Could not do it, did not want things finalized, the necessary phrases eluded me. There was a little room for manoeuvre: Jean was a Unitarian, so the tradition does not fully apply; and Oakmont was prepared to be patient, up to a point. They'll reach that point Friday, February 28, when I go in to show them a design.
Part of the job will be easy. "Jean Mary Lewis" on one side, with "1956 - 2013" underneath; "Matt Pico" on the other, over "1950 - ". Somewhere on Jean's side, an acknowledgement of the esteem of her colleagues, "Talented Editor." Also her major personal roles, "Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend." And as space allows, emblems of a few of the things she loved intensely: a cat, a rose, musical notes, a stack of books.
One minor problem is that "Talented Editor" does not quite do the trick. If you have a better phrase that captures her career, do tell, I'm open to suggestion. But something big is
|Clockwise from left: Vivien, Tom, Lulu, and Pearl |
engrossed in a book on making silly sock creatures
"...She improved every document she read...She would take plants that wouldn’t grow, and make them thrive. She’d take in lost and sick animals, and care for them, and as much as possible she’d make them well. If her friends were in difficulty, she would try, however she could, to help make things better..."
He could have added "husband" to the list of improved entities. I was a bit like a domesticated feral who, contrary to previous experience, discovered he thrived in married life. "Thrive," that word stuck with me, so I tried using it on the cake. What do you think? Again, tell me if you think you have something better before 28th.
|Clockwise: Tom, Lulu, Pearl, Melba, Scott, Charlie, and Bob|
For the backyard crowd Sunday, life went on, and there are important successes to report. Our good friend Nick Galloro, who we turned to for help in our darkest times, is now in a relationship
|Clockwise from bottom:Oded, Pearl, |
John, Melba, Sue, Charlie
|Apricot scions on our plum tree|
(thanks John and Sue)
Others of us have faced challenging times, as the economy sputtered along, and loyal corporate citizens were rewarded with layoffs and reduced hours; and then there are those of us, such as my younger son Sam Kurtz-Pico, who have never even tasted the good life of health plans and 401Ks. If you'll forgive me for ending with a shameless plug, Sam is making important changes in his life,
|Clockwise from bottom: Oded, Vivien, |
Derek, Tara, Pearl
|Sam Kurtz-Pico, job seeker|
|And of course there were flowers:|
Bouquets courtesy of John Gergorin
and Sue Torngren