Giving Thanks, Part 3

My friend Rachel, a good friend indeed this is a continuation of 2 previous blog entries

The years passed, each of our families grew. I think the next time we got together was in Hawaii in Hilo on the Big Island. Rachel and her family were holidaying in her cousin’s house in Hilo. We were holidaying with my mother where she lived on Maui. We all flew over to Hilo to stay with the Benders. Their sons were slightly older than our 3 but the mix was good.

A few years later we visited the Benders en famille again another time – this time in their home in Boulder Colorado. A memorable time. Jim wondered at my husband Ian’s love of hardware stores and our sons wondered at the complexity of a fort built by the Bender boys.

The years passed – letters and occasional phone calls, a visit to Gardner when we were staying with my sister Ruth in New Hampshire.

In the year 2000 our son James and Susan were married in Court Room 9, Seattle City Hall. Rachel came from Boulder to be there. I heard a gasp as I came into the court room – “There’s Jan wearing a hat!’ We snatched a few moments together over the course of those busy wedding days.

Our 50th Reunion at Middlebury in 2008 marked another meeting.

In 2010 we moved from Dublin to Seattle. Shortly after we came, Jim and Rachel came to Seattle as part of an Elder Hostel trip and they included a few days in Seattle to visit with us (and a few other old haunts).

What a joy and a blessing to have known Rachel and her family. May she Rest in Peace.

My Life History In Postcards

I came across a postcard today written on August 24. No year was given. I tried to puzzle it out. It was a postcard of the Tower of London. Addressed to my mother in Hawaii. Sent from Belfast Northern Ireland. I wrote that I was then semi-immobilized. My brother and sister-in-law had phoned from Birmingham England to give me helpful advice. A cable had arrived from my friend Lucy in Washington D.C. asking whether she should fly to Belfast or Dublin the following Tuesday to meet her husband Harry. (At that point Harry was in London and their plan was to meet up in Ireland before going to Portugal and Morocco.)

I wrote “in the meantime I have lots of loving care, plenty of books, and a TV to watch the Czech crisis”.

Following the above clues, I decided the card was written in 1968, early in my first pregnancy. I had been threatened of miscarrying (a midnight trip to the Rotunda in Dublin).

It all turned out well. Lucy joined Harry in Belfast and we had a nice visit in Belfast and Enniskillen. And our first born is now age 51.

Make A Joyful Noise ……..

Here I am up at 5 a.m. to do some writing. The 300 word biographies are due today. I finished Ian’s a couple of days ago. Mine is somewhat incomplete. The first half is o.k. but the 2nd half needs to be altered. Instead of writing about my work experience I want to write more my other interests.

Nice as life was in St. Lucia, there were lessons learned in how to keep one’s spirits up in a monotonous hot climate. When we were anticipating going to Fiji, I decided I wanted to learn to weave. In Nimble Fingers, a toy shop in Stillorgan in Dublin, I spotted a small children’s loom made by Spears. It was packaged in a small box – perfect to add to our packing for Fiji. Yes! Months later when we were finally settled in our house in Suva I unpacked that Spears box and I embarked on my weaving career. Weaving on that small loom soon lead to a wish for a bigger tableloom, which I could order from New Zealand. And months later I ordered a heavier floor loom from New Zealand. Finally I was set up to weave floor rugs. And I had sources in New Zealand for buying the necessary yarn and other supplies. I was becoming a real weaver.

The Fiji Arts Club, of which were members, had exhibitions several times a year. These were very popular events. I had joined this club partly because I attended a Tuesday morning outdoor painting group. An exhibition was coming up and for the first time they were going to include crafts. With fear and trepidation I submitted 5 rugs. Much to my surprise they sold like hot cakes! I was launched!! One person in particular was raving about my rugs. Jill was a popular artist and we became friends – a friendship which has lasted for many years. One of her paintings is hanging in our apartment here at Ida Culver.

to be continued

Her 300 Word Story Continues

Cross Country With Phil and Miriam and Rachel

It was the middle of June when they left Seattle in 1960. She can’t remember very much about this trip. Janet had a 4 door Ford which could easily accommodate a passenger. What car did Rachel have?? Rachel’s parents Miriam and Phil were wonderful companions.

They reached Yellowstone National Park and marveled at Old Faithful. Rachel knew Yellowstone well as she had worked there several summers before as a laundry girl with Lucy another mutual Middlebury friend. The foursome carried on across the plains to Minnesota where she parted company with the others. She stopped in Grand Marais Minnesota to visit with a couple whom she knew in Cambridge.(when she worked as a secretary at A. O. Wilson Structtural Steel Company). From Grand Marais she proceeded alone to Newark Ohio to visit her sister Nan and family. After a few days she headed for Boston. She had a new passenger – nephew 7 year old Bobby, Nan’s oldest son. Bobby was going to visit his grandparents in New Britain Connecticut. A brief stop to deliver Bobby and then finally home to Belmont Massachusetts. Another cross-country trip completed – her 4th in 8 months and not by air.

A Memorable Day – July 4 1978

On July 4, 1978 our family was granted membership in the American Club, Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh.  A bumper day.  Membership in the American Club opened up our world in Dhaka.  It was such a significant venue  for making new friends, the opportunity to play tennis and squash, a place to dine out, a place to swim in an outdoor pool, a place to celebrate special holidays, etc.  Open that gate and in we tumbled – and spent the next 4 1/2 years.

Postcard Memories



I said postcards could stir memories of long ago.  This card is from a dear friend I had when I was a student at Berkeley in the turbulent ’60’s.  A friend who went back to when I was growing up in Belmont Mass.  In Berkeley she was like a grandmother to me.  A lively grandmother with whom I had lunch occasionally on the terrace.  From Berkeley I went to Kenya to do the research work for my PhD thesis.  What a surprise to receive this postcard from my lively grandmother traveling the world.  I think she must have been in her 80’s – as I am now.