Recently we learned that our long term neighbor had passed away. She was one of the originals in the neighborhood. She was widowed by the time we moved in. She was a retired kindergarten teacher, a dosen’t at the Wadsworth Athenaeum, an avid world traveler and active with her church, Church of Christ Scientist. She was physically active and still drove her red Volvo. She was an avid reader and continually expanded her knowledge.
She was one of the most beloved individuals I have known. Whenever Tina and I took her someplace there would be someone recognizing her fondly, usually from the time she was a teacher. One time Tina and I took her to see Jim perform in a school play. A couple from Chicago were thrilled to see her as she was their son’s teacher from some twenty years earlier. This was a common occurrence.
She passed in a Church of Christ Scientist facility in Boston. A friend who had seen her hours before she passed said that she had no clue that she was near the end. She was cheerful, alert and sharp as ever. When I heard that she had passed, I came very close to making a judgement regarding her eschewing modern medicine due to her faith. How could I considering the long and active life she lived. Did I say how old she was? No, and neither would she. However, I do have a clue. Several years ago we celebrated another neighbor’s 90th birthday. She was several years older than he. She was a very private person in many ways and would not discuss her faith or private life. Because she was so private, I am not using her name in this blog.
One cannot be a neighbor for so long and not have an issue. She and I had an issue with a tree on her property that leaned over my house. She was famous for not wanting to take down trees. The dialogue went on for years. Our tree guy would say that the tree should come down. Her tree guy would say that it was OK. Other neighbors (not prompted by me) would point out the dead tree. I finally named the tree “Elvis”. When she asked why, I said that it was deader than Elvis Presley. She finally hired an arborist to take the tree down. Their equipment broke down as they started. She had the tree successfully removed a couple years later. It never fell on my house.
I will from time to time pray for those in my life that have passed. Remembering Psalm 23, I will hope that they dwell in the house of the Lord. 23 is meaningful to me because it is inscribed on the back of my parents stone in Washington. In her case the preceding lines also apply. Surely goodness and mercy followed her all the days of her life and she dwells in the house of the Lord forever.