I broke Helen's soapdish.
It kind of bummed me out. Helen's daughter gave me the soapdish and a mug (cheesy but with an excellent quotation: "There is no true happiness but to love and be loved," George Sand) after Hel-Hel died in... what year... early 90s. Helen was born in 1916, and spent lots of time in her father's general store in Sedro Wooley. She was turned into a lifetime Democrat by hearing "Old Man" Simpson on the telephone at the general store, yelling at a minion: "I don't care how many men die, I want those trees out of there." I was working as a waitress at The Chattery (only place I ever waited tables: a totally eccentric place) when I met Helen, and for some reason we'd grrrowl at each other every time we met. With characteristic wryness, she told me at one point that if I memorised a particular poem (Helen, to me thy beauty is as the Nicaen barks of yore...) she'd give me a bottle of whisky. I did memorise the poem but I don't think I ever recited it for her. She loved music, and played the piano at the governor's mansion once (I attended). I don't remember who the governor was, but I think Helen played Brahms, got lost and had to improvise her way back: no one noticed. She didn't believe in an afterlife, which made it harder for her when she developed cancer. She'd make us sing, "The worms go in, the worms go out, the worms play pinochle on your snout, etc" -- a song I was hitherto unfamiliar with. The day Helen died the person with whom I was living and I were to've gone over to hang with her. Chris called -- I stayed home as I knew I would be freaked out, but my "person" went. I spoke at the memorial service and the anecdote got a big laugh (whatever it was). Hel-Hel was the grooviest.
posted by - 9:53 PM