Sunday, September 30, 2018

Clara's Story: Becoming a Published Writer

During the late 1950’s, I scrimped and saved enough to take one trip to Europe. We went to Paris, that I remember, and to Switzerland. Probably also to London but I'm not sure. In the postcard, I'm wearing the flowered dress, happily eating with friends I met on the trip.

But…my dream of becoming a published writer and my hope of finding a nice single Jewish guy to hang around with and possibly marry – neither was happening. That is, not until Rolland Metzger of Dixon, Illinois came along. He visited Chicago some weekends to get culture and to see if he could find a nice Jewish woman to woo and marry.

In 1960 we two Jewish singles met and started keeping company.

Rolland thought I was wonderful and amazing, talented and full of life. He believed I could do anything I wanted. He couldn’t convince me to marry him until 1967, but in 1962 he helped me to follow my dream of being a writer. 

I had discovered the Famous Writers School correspondence course, founded by Bennett Cerf, a well-known publisher/author, and other "famous" writers. I remembered taking the course, that was all. Then I found several workbooks from the course and I see the advertising flyer with this Bennett Cerf  quote,“Do you have a restless urge to write? If you do, here is an opportunity for you to take the first important step to success in writing.”

Even though many years have passed, I remember the excitement I felt when I contemplated his question and my answer, spoken quietly (to myself), a resounding Yes!

I lost my nerve until Rolland held my hand so to speak -- in reality, he sat next to me -- as I took the big step of enrolling in the course. I registered with the pseudonym Leva Missman, a very catchy name, don’t you think? I used Rolland’s Dixon address instead of mine in Chicago. I was apprehensive about attempting to be a real writer and needed the assurance that in case I failed, no one, not even the instructors, would know my real identity. I was grateful to Rolland for going along with my deception. 

 The first Famous Writers assignment was to answer the question “Why Do I Wish to Write?” The instructor returned my essay with some well-deserved critical comments. Oh boy, it sure stung to read criticism of my work. You writers out there will understand. Rolland had to hold my hand and sit by my side as I moved from being a writer-want-to-be to becoming a good, or at least a competent, writer.

The note identified with (1) includes great advice that I’ve taken to heart and reads:
“Use some contractions to provide a more conversational tone.”

Much about the course comes back when I find a folder labeled “Women’s Angle,” and I see the seven articles published in the National Informer newspaper.

Here's how it happened.

After my first essay, the pieces I wrote for Famous Writers were mostly about how women were taken advantage of at work, when shopping, by loan companies, and even at dancing schools. As I grew more confident in my writing, my instructor informed me it was time to submit my work for publication. He suggested I send one of my stories to the National Informer newspaper for their “Women’s Angle” column. The magazine’s motto was “Truthful News of All Facts of Life.” It sounded good to me. I submitted the story “How American Stores Cheat, Use and Abuse Female Shoppers,” under my own name Claire Le Brint. To my surprise, they accepted it. I hadn’t heard of the National Informer and hadn’t seen a copy, but no problem. I was to be published and paid for my work. I was ecstatic.

A check came in the mail along with a letter indicating that my story would appear in the September 23, 1962 issue. When I got a copy of that issue, I was shocked. The banner headline on the first page was RED CHINESE EAT BABIES! with the subheading in slightly smaller bold print Innocent Children Victims of Communist Prosperity. I skimmed through the paper. Most of the articles were patently false like the cover story, or super-trashy like we find today in the National Enquirer. But you better believe I was very proud of my article, which was “Truthful News of one particular Fact of Life.” I pasted the article on yellow card stock so I could keep it forever and jotted down the date and name of the publication. On the back, I wrote the headline and subheading, then I tossed that tabloid paper in the trash where it belonged.

I was appalled by the newspaper and most of the articles. Rolland and I conferred and we decided I might as well submit more articles to the Informer. The readers, we figured, needed at least some “truthful news,” if only they could recognize it. I was being paid and published, no small feat for a novice writer. Here are titles for the rest of my Informer articles.

·         Why Are Women Workers Treated Like Dopes?
·         How Dancing Schools Suck In the Suckers (wow)
·         Stupid Store Clerks Gyp Housewives
·         Housewives Ain’t As Smart as Retail Loan Sharks
·         FM Radio Becoming Lousy Just Like AM Radio??
·         How Business Places Hook Women on Free Gimmicks

So I, Claire Le Brint, had become a published writer! That was enough for me for the time being. Over the next ten years I was busy working, getting married, changing my name to Claire Metzger, moving to Dixon, getting used to Rolland, and traveling to Chicago with Rolland fairly frequently to take advantage of the city's cultural marvels.

But I will never forget the National Informer and my first big break. Can you blame me? What a story that is!

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Clara's Story: REMEMBERING

I’m 80 years old. I’ve slowed down and finally have time to look through my old scrapbooks and photo albums and the piles of stories I wrote. Some stories were published. Some were not.

I asked my husband Rolland to move the files and boxes filled with my writing into the dining room and to pull down the scrapbooks and photo albums from the closet shelf. They’re on the floor and on the dining room table -- no room for dinner but who cares? I was never much of a cook; the best I could do most nights was heat up a can of spaghetti and meat sauce or throw together some sandwiches.

The first thing I see is my Roosevelt High School graduation yearbook and I remember….
My birth name, Clara Le Brint, and my nickname “Topsy,” given to me by friends because my hair usually curled every which way.

Inscription: “Luck success & what-not to All Clara Le Brint Topsy"

Sometime after I graduated from high school, I changed my name from Clara to Claire, more American, more grown up. Today I think Clara is a romantic name, fanciful and interesting. It reminds me of my youthful dreams, which by the way did come true, just not how I could have predicted.

I used to be very busy working, writing, volunteering, helping friends, meeting new people, and traveling. But I’m not doing that anymore. I’m too old, too tired. Don’t argue with me. Wait til you turn 80, then tell me how you feel and what your life is like.

My life these days is not very exciting. I have nothing to do except sit quietly at the Dixon (Illinois) Senior Center or visit with Rolland when he’s at home. Roll is eight years my junior and still out and about with activities, hobbies, and paid work as a part-time accountant and tax-preparer.

So here I sit at home, at the table and I pick up one thing, take a look and put it down and pick up the next thing. Nothing is in order. 

I find a three-page handwritten biography titled The Life of Claire Metzger, written by a Dixon friend in 1991. I remember when we met and she asked me lots of questions about my life and wrote this story. Right away, two little white lies jump out at me – the year of my birth and my age when I met Rolland.

The world was blessed on April 5, 1933. Claire Metzger, formerly Claire LeBrint, was born in Chicago, Illinois.

…When Claire was 34, she met her husband-to-be Rolland Metzger at a Jewish Temple. They didn’t mean to meet; actually, Claire was there to meet another boy to watch a play, but she was stood up and Rolland came up to her and asked if she wanted any coffee, and they both stayed for the play. After the play, Rolland asked Claire if he could walk her home because they had found out that they actually lived on the same street and she accepted. So every time Rolland came into town they would see each other.

My dear friend and biographer (so sorry I have forgotten her name) insisted that my life story start my birth date including the year, which I told her was 1933, even though I was born in 1914. She also insisted that we include my age when I met Rolland. I fudged that one too. We met around 1960 when I was 46, not 34! I never told anyone in Dixon my age, rather I told them I felt “ageless.” My Dixon friends and admirers thought I was younger than my real age, so there was no harm done.

Whew, I’m glad the truth is finally out. I’m an old lady now so what do I care if you know my exact age. I’m still a bit confused about the age-thing and you may be too. So I had Rolland, who is a math whiz, make this chart for us.

April 5, 1914
Clara Le Brint born
After high school, I changed my name to Claire
June 14, 1922
Rolland Metzger born

March 25, 1967
Claire and Rolland marry
Claire 53 years old, Rolland almost 45
Claire writes her life story
Claire 80 years old 


Rolland’s weekday home was in Dixon, where he had a Civil Service job as a Research Psychologist at the Dixon State School/Developmental Center. Most weekends, he came to Chicago and stayed at the house he inherited from his parents. Like me, Rolland went to Jewish singles functions hoping to meet a future mate. And it happened – eventually. We got to know each other when Rolland asked to walk me home. His Chicago home was a two-story brick cottage on Roscoe Avenue in the Lakeview neighborhood and I lived a mile down the street in a “tight little career girl (studio) apartment,” as I called it in first published piece “The Painting Went Up.”

For six years, Roll repeatedly asked me to marry him and for six years, I put him off. I had been single for so long, checking out Jewish men and rejecting them as marriage material, or being rejected (or stood up!) by them. When Rolland came along, being indecisive by nature and having been on the look-out for so very long, I couldn’t make up my mind about him. Finally, in 1967, I gave in. He was too nice a guy to let go. But I was plenty nervous, and I shared some of my worries with him in a note sent ten days before we married.

Note mailed to Rolland March 14, 1967 (transcription below)

Dear Roll –
   Please never ask me to make a decision late in the eve – or night – It wearies me, and invariably I feel pressed and pressured. Probably you do too?

   So I beg you – in all things don’t set up deadlines or rushes lest good judgement give way to exasperation and error.

After we married, I never had to “make a decision late in the eve, ”  but sometimes, especially when we were planning trips (for tax conferences or to visit family out of town), he did “set up deadlines” but his good judgement  ensured there were few insurmountable errors.

Much to my surprise and delight, basking in Rolland’s love and support, I followed my life-long dream of becoming a professional writer. I became a News Correspondent for the Rockford Register Star and also had feature stories, play and book reviews published in the Dixon and Rockford papers, the Chicago Daily News, and some national magazines.

In my piece about Yasha Kaganov's painting, "I reflected. We are caught in the trap of the city, for years, for our working lifetime, but there is still hope, says the painted canvas, if we don’t forget there once was a dream."

I am forever thankful to my dear husband Rolland for helping me make my dreams come true. 

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Working Woman's Dream (The Painting Went Up)

Aunt Claire's portrait hangs on my living room wall. 
Claire was a single working woman when the painting was done, by her friend Yasha Kaganov.

Along with the painting, I framed an article written by Claire about Yasha's portrait. I don't know where or when the article was published. I often look at the painting and contemplate what she wrote about her life in the article. I invite you to join my contemplation by considering the questions Claire posed and her reflections about "our working lifetime."

Did (Yasha) see me as creature made for sunlight and open places?
What am I doing in a closed-up little office and a tight little career girl apartment?
 I reflected. We are caught in the trap of the city, for years, for our working lifetime, but there is still hope, says the painted canvas, if we don’t forget there once was a dream.

Aunt Claire was my mother's sister. Claire was born in 1914 and died at age 87 in 2001. She was single until she finally met the right man, Rolland Metzger, and consented to marry him in 1967, after a long courtship. 

Claire was 52 years old and I was 23 when she married Rolland. From then on, until she died, we were close and she was  a big part of my life.

I knew of her life with Rolland but I knew nothing of her life as a single working woman, until Claire died and I inherited the painting, along with many published and unpublished articles and stories written by Claire. Among them was the undated, unattributed newspaper article, The Painting Went Up. A better title might have been  A Working Woman's Dream. 

Claire's life is a story worth telling, with many ups and downs, or as Claire put it, "(My) life is so full of twists and turns."  

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Friday, February 9, 2018

First Prayer: Asking for Rest and Comfort

In 1995, I started to write prayers in my journal. They sometimes comforted me. Here is the first prayer I wrote, along with the journal entry that inspired its creation.

November 1995 -- My 86 year old father is staying with me, I hope temporarily.  He is sleeping in the living room of my one bedroom apartment.  My father is very depressed and is sleeping 24 to 36 hours at a time.  I need something to get me through this difficult time.  The idea comes to me that I need to pray and I write this prayer to the universe, hoping God or the universal spirits will help me.

Take it Easy Today
Spirit of the Sun and Moon –

Help me. Remind me that this is a new day.
As I open my eyes, help me to see the colors and objects I enjoy.
Remind me that Lizzie my cat and my family love me.
As I get up remind me that I can take it easy today
    I have done enough.
The trees rest in the winter,
    the leaves which have fallen become nourishment.
Let me get nourishment back from the universe today.
And give me comfort today.

I pray to be open to receiving on this day. And direction comes:

Keep trudging – if that is all you can do.

May I walk the beauty way.

Lead me to the pastures where I may rest.


Regarding the last three lines of my prayer
"Keep trudging..." is of unknown origin (the Universe?)
"May I walk..." is from a Native American chant.
"Lead me..." is a riff on the 23rd Psalm.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Let Me Introduce You to My Dear Ones, Now Departed

Some talk to the living and get wisdom. I talk with the dead and imagine the wisdom they would have imparted to me. I bring questions to them and also present them with problems and challenges I face in my life. And I gain wisdom from what I imagine to be their different perspectives.

My first imagined conversation with my parents and grandparents, Zichronam Livracha, of Blessed Memory, took place in October 1999. The subject was God and Prayer and since then we have other conversations on a wide range of topics. After my Aunt Claire LeBrint Metzger and Uncle Rolland Metzger died, I expanded the conversation to include them along with my Aunt Perle LeBrint. 

Let me introduce you to my loved ones, now dead, who participate in conversations with me, along with a few snippets of wisdom from other conversations I've had with them.

My mother, Rose LeBrint Fuchs, who died in January 1991 and my father Leonard (Len) Fuchs who died in March 1997.  

Wisdom from Rose: "On the street of by the by, one comes to the house of never."
Wisdom from Len: "This too shall pass."
Leonard and Rose, date unknown

My grandfather, Henry Fuchs, my father Len’s father. Henry was a wise and gentle man, who had strong faith in God. Henry was married to Anne Fuchs (my father’s mother) for over 50 years. When Anne died, he made a second marriage to Bea Winston.  

My grandmother Anne Fuchs, my father Len’s mother. Anne had a heart condition that severely limited her ability to function. Preparing a Sabbath meal for our family tired her out. My two sisters and Ihad to be very quiet and good when we were around Grandma Fuchs. When I was 10, Anne had a stroke that paralyzed her right side. She walked with a brace and she could not speak except in jumbled up words. Because of her health problems and to my great regret, I hardly knew her. 

Anne and Henry had only one child, my father Leonard.

Wisdom from Grandpa Henry "You are in the thick of it and that is a good thing, but it is hard. Pray to God and write to God and talk to us. We are your inner resources. We are inside you." 
Wisdom from from Grandma Anne: "I am an observer from all these years of not being able to talk. Sometimes it is good to observe and to take time to listen and to breathe." 

Anne and Henry 1955 with their granddaughters Betsy, Judy, and Sue

My step-grandmother Bea Winston Fuchs. To Bea, my sisters and me were accepted as if we were her own granddaughters. Bea and Henry were married almost 20 years. They both died in 1979, Henry in March when he was 99 years old and Bea at age 80 two months later in May.

Wisdom from Grandma Bea: "Embrace and love your family and your step-family equally. Much joy came to me and your Grandpa Henry from joining our families together." 

Grandpa and Bea 1965 (as we called them)

My grandmother Anna LeBrint, my mother Rose’s mother. Anna and my grandfather Abe had five children within eight years. She felt that having so many children was a burden. In addition to being a mother, she was a business woman, buying and selling two flats and three flats in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.

My grandfather Abraham (Abe) LeBrint, my mother Rose’s father. To quote my mother, Abe “had a love affair with America” and had a successful printing business in partnership with an American born friend.

My aunt Perle LeBrint was the youngest of Anna and Abe’s five children. She lived with and was financially dependent on her parents her entire life. Perle was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 27 in 1945. Anna watched out for Perle after the diagnosis, ensuring that her daily insulin was administered safely and correctly. Perle died in 1965, four months after Anna died.

Wisdom as told by Grandma LeBrint to her daughter Claire: "I want my children to do well, take vacations, have careers, and marry well."
Wisdom from Grandpa LeBrint: "Dare to take advantage of all the opportunities our great country offers and to step out of your comfort zone. In my life, I didn't have the nerve to follow this advice as fully as I might have, but you can do it."
Wisdom from Perle: " Mine was a comfortable safe life with no complications so it seemed. But safety and comfort are overrated. Get out there and keep taking chances. I wish I had."  

Anna LeBrint 1961, Abe LeBrint, date unknown
Perle LeBrint, date unknown

My aunt Claire LeBrint Metzger, the fourth child of Anna and Abe. Claire was a single working woman in Chicago until age 53 when she married Rolland Metzger and moved to Dixon, Illinois,.

Uncle Rolland Metzger came into my life after he married Claire in 1967.

Claire and Rolland had one house in Dixon and a second house in Chicago. I was very close to them and would sometimes drive to Dixon to visit, but frequently they came to Chicago to go to the theater, their favorite restaurant Ann Sather’s and also to join us for holiday meals at my house. Claire and Rolland survived my mother and father. Claire died in 2002; Rolland in 2005. They were like parents-contemporaries- friends to me. They had a young attitude and enjoyed keeping company with me and my husband (when I was married) and my friends.

Wisdom from Claire: "My philosophy was 'Life is full of ups and downs,' but I didn't always remember this philosophy when I was in a down period. I hope you will do better at remembering."
Wisdom from Rolland: "Put your money in Roth IRAs." and by his example: Diversify your career skills and find new ones after retirement. (He became a computer expert and tax consultant after retirement.)
 Claire and Rolland 1979

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

1966 San Francisco Working Girl Among the Hippies

Perhaps the Mamas and Papas song California Dreamin’ gave me the idea to leave Chicago and head to San Francisco, after I graduated college in March 1966. Or it might have been the taste of freedom that I got during my 1965 solo trip to an international course in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

I did no research and no pre-planning. I had some money to cover expenses for a few months, but I had no job lined up and knew no one who lived in San Francisco. I didn’t know about the hippies and flower children who were flocking to San Francisco. This wasn’t surprising. During my college years 1962 to 1966, I paid no attention to the “outside world.” In fact, I wasn’t even aware of -- and I don’t remember to this day – where I was and how I felt when JFK was assassinated (on November 22, 1963).

My parents were dismayed and worried about my going alone to a new city and they demanded that I write them weekly once I got there. In 1966, long distance telephone calls were expensive and considered a luxury so requiring that I call regularly was not an option. My mother visited me once and decided I was doing OK.

Unlike the hippies, I was a working girl, earning a living at a series of 9 to 5 jobs. I had three clerical jobs in one year; they were easy to find and easy to leave. I moved three times in that same year, from a rooming house in Pacific Height to an apartment with pot-smoking roommates in Haight Ashbury and then to a studio apartment on 7th Avenue, just south of Golden Gate Park. 

I had a wild time in my own way. But certainly not as wild as the hippies I wrote about in this January 4, 1967 letter to my parents. At the time, I had a clerical job with the American Red Cross and was making plans to find an adult profession, either in social work or as a teacher.

Hi Mom and Dad:
You asked about the hippies of San Francisco, the gypsy beatniks who abound in this city. I used to live in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, on Cole Street with a few roommates. One of the reasons I moved from there was that I didn’t like the run down condition of the neighborhood due to so many unemployed kids who crowded into apartments and hung around on the streets.

Last weekend, I spent a few hours at a festival of sorts in a long grassy strip between Haight Ashbury and the Golden Gate Park. There were some folk-rock groups and some weird musical groups playing far out instruments, and throngs of people milling around. There was a group of Hell’s Angels, and they were fascinating as were the hippies. These kids, most are in their late teens and early 20’s, are a modern day version of gypsies, with their weird dress (ranging from rags to vintage clothes from the 1920’s and earlier) and their raggedy kids, and their uninhibited ways. Many are on pot (marijuana) much of the time and LSD is widely circulated. When I lived in Haight Ashbury, I felt threatened by the hippy life style. They seem to live from day to day in a way I couldn’t stand, because I need security.

I admire their freedom though. They improve on a lot of petty things that the well-fed middle-class in the U.S. is obsessed with. In some ways, I want to be like them – to be part of that cult.

My job plans are taking form. I’ve applied for a welfare job. If it comes by next September, I’ll take that job and see what I think of “social work.” If I don’t get the welfare job, I will go to San Francisco State and work on my elementary school teaching credential.

Had a New Year’s party with Peter, who is a grad student at State, working on his master’s degree in set design. He is very creative in the use of wild unusual materials. We had a good punch and everyone got high, though no one got drunk or sick. Most of the people I invited didn’t show up, so it was mainly Peter’s drama friends. But it was fun, and I never lacked (for) someone interesting to talk to. A college classmate of mine was up from San Diego State, where he is studying biology, and he came to the party. He was very “out of it.” I think he is not used to mixing with offbeat characters. I knew no one except Peter, my college classmate and a friend from Cole Street, but I drank enough punch and I suppose I’m quite outgoing when the choice of people looks interesting.

I can’t say it enough, I’m so proud of you both and of our family, for we are all interesting people who don’t stagnate, that’s for sure.
Love, Betsy

P.S. Got your annual New Year’s letter (pictured below). I didn’t like it because at the moment I’m not “planning for a social work career,” as you indicated, and somehow the whole thing seemed braggy (sic) and very smug. We have reason to be smug about our successes, but it makes the possibility of setbacks, which always come, very hard.

How can the Fuchses fail or have rough times? Kind of inhuman picture of us.

Achievements reported in the Fuchses 1967 annual New Year's Letter:
Susan - eldest daughter: Married to a doctor, home-maker, new mother.
Betsy - planning Social Work career.
Rose - mother: back to college (at age 60), all A's so far.
Len - father: nominated to Chicago Board of Education, moved to larger office.
Judy - youngest daughter: National Merit Finalist. Freshman at Cornell (University). 
Great Grandfather Henry and charming wife Bea (step great-grand mother).

The P.S. in my letter foreshadowed my setbacks in trying to find a profession suitable for a woman college graduate in the 1960’s.  At the time, there were only two: social work and teaching.

In spring 1967, without much thought or planning, just like when I made my decision to go to San Francisco, it came to me that it was time to return home to Chicago. I was frustrated with the routine job at the American Red Cross and with my boss who gave me what I considered “make work.” I felt like I couldn’t continue working at The Red Cross and stay sane. 

I didn’t have the patience to wait until September to learn about the Welfare job.

And I missed the seasons.

And I missed my parents. 

I got a job as a recreation/social worker at Chicago State “Mental” Hospital and took teacher certification classes at night. But I didn’t have the maturity to keep the Chicago State Hospital job and couldn’t control the seventh graders in during four weeks of student teaching. So for me social work and teaching were out and instead, I took a nice safe job as an office clerk. Nothing for Mom and Dad to brag about in their next New Year’s Letter.

Eventually, with loads of on-the job training and the help and support and encouragement of great bosses and work-colleagues, I found a profession that suited me in the field of System Analysis/Information Systems. By then, my parents were retired and traveling the world and were grandparents, so they had other things to report in their New Year’s Letters and they no longer needed to report on my career. Or maybe they didn’t because they never could figure out what I did as a Systems Analyst/I.S. Support Technician. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Like a Circus Parade

January 5, 2014
Bea and I are sitting on the couch in her living room, in our pajamas, looking out of the big plate glass window at the snow coming down.  As usual she has her Android and I have my tablet and we are both on Facebook. 

She posts this picture with a comment:
“Welcome to the south suburbs winter wonderland. I saw a snow mobile going east on one of the larger roads. I'm lucky a neighbor blew out my sidewalk. Hopefully, I'll make contact with a snow removal guy tomorrow! I'm sure not going anywhere today.”

I add a comment on her Facebook timeline::
 “Sitting across from you seeing the same thing. LOL”

And we giggle.  

We share pictures and stories about the Chicago snow storm that our friends are posting on Facebook and the time goes by, and the snow keeps piling up.

But underneath our lazy amusement and Facebook fun, we worry – when will we get plowed out and we are restless – we want to take a walk in the beautiful snow.  It’s Chicago. It's winter and the snow is deep on sidewalks and streets and the temperature outside including what they call “real feel” these days is 30-40 degrees below zero.  Schools are closed. We know we must stay in.

I’m staying with Bea for a week as she recovers from major laparoscopic surgery.  Our cars are snug in her two-car garage, which is unfortunately at the end of a long driveway.  We have plenty of food, we are enjoying each other’s company, and it is very beautiful outside.  It’s only one day of snow and cold, but we are already tired of being snowbound.

January 6, 2014
Bea gets the name of a snow plow outfit and calls them.  Nope. They are not taking any new customers.  She mentions that she is recovering from very recent major surgery and they take pity on her and soon we see a big snow plow truck and three men at her house, ready to tackle the snow.

It is just like a circus parade coming down the street.  Something is happening!

Bea has recovered amazingly well and is able to be up and about, moving more slowly than usual.  We are so excited about the snow plow that we are on the move, from the front of Bea’s  house to the back, looking and snapping pictures out of the front window, the side windows along the driveway, and the back window by the garage. Back and forth, again and again we go, reporting to each other on the progress.

 “The two guys are shoveling in the back.” 

“The truck with the plow is going down the driveway.” 

“Now it is backing up!” 

“See how they are piling up the snow.”

“You can see the pavement.” 

We marvel at how coordinated the guy in the truck is with the two guys shoveling.  They each do their part; they know what they are doing and never get into each other’s way. 

Finally they are done. The driveway is clear, the sidewalks in back and front and the stairs are shoveled.  After Bea gives the guys a generous tip, we fall down on the couch and of course we post our pictures of the guys and their truck and the plow on Facebook .

Bea adds this comment with her pictures ”Found a wonderful snow removal company! What a marvelous job! Whew!”

My pictures are slightly different and I include this comment “Rescued by great team. Great relief. But still staying inside today”.

We are out of breath from the excitement of it all and we are exhausted.  We no longer have to go anywhere on this cold snowy day.  We are satisfied that we had our own version of the circus parade coming through town.

Beatrice Friend, of blessed memory, died on January 6, 2016.  She was a loving and wise friend, the sister of my heart, and this story is posted as a reminder of how full of life she was and of how many wonderful memories we made together.