a life well lived

Friday, June 20, 2014

Treasuring a "Pretty Penny" 06/02/00 (out of context)

oops!  missed this one!!

What a nice surprise to sound my "Clappy," alerting John to heave himself out of bed and come down to hoist me out of mine and put on my shoes, only to find Elsa trotting up the stairs from the living room. 
What a treat to do an a.m. posting, when I am at my freshest.

Elsa took an unscheduled day off.  Smart lass, having been up some late nights this week finishing up BA Theta Alpha's traditional gift to the Junior girls, handmade pins with stars and a note that says "Shine On! Get a good rest over the summer - you have a BIG year ahead!"  I love the pins, each is so different from the rest, but think I like the note best of all.  A nice tip of the hat that they have ARRIVED.   

Lately, Elsa has been declutterfying the place.  Realized that her inner self does not function well in clutter, although she was raised in an environment where it was, for various reason, more or less the norm.
She has been winnowing out the book shelves, which is something I balk at.  It seems sacrilege to me to get rid of a book, like cutting down a tree.  

Finally got it through my thick skull that her goal was to pass along the books we do not find useful or love.  My goodness, she is even passing along her wonderful collection of quilting books.  She appreciates quilting, but the processes are not really up her alley, so she is ushering them into the hands of people who will bring them into the fullness of their use. 

Even her gardening books will be exiting to new homes and hands, but she says she will never be the level of gardener to justify the space and energy.

This morning, we went through the bookshelves in my bedroom, looking for some best beloved books to take to the living room where we can soak in their positive energy every day (I rarely see them at the far end of my bedroom).

The ones making the downstairs trek are varied.  It had been years and years since I last set eyes on Helen Hayes' A Gathering of Hope, a slim volume of short readings, things she wrote or things she loved.  It will be just right for the living room, since it is so dear to my heart and ideal for the brief bits of reading I do these days (am looking forward to getting my cataracts replaced later this summer!!).

Ever since I first saw her picture, when she was a Broadway ingenue, I have had a sense of connection with Helen Hayes.  Elsa has a similar sense of connection with her husband, Charles MacArthur.  

About 15 years ago, the two of us headed up to Nyack, NY to glimpse their home, Pretty  Penny.  Charlie has been gone for decades and decades, but Helen was still alive when we went that first time and for several years after. 


What a wonderful village.  We felt immediately "at home" in Nyack, high above the Hudson, and have been up many times since.  The people at O'D's (O'Donough's, a wonderful neighborhood pub) would greet us, "There are those crazy people from Philadephia!"  when we came in because we came such a long way to see a house and order up their deliciious grilled chicken platter andbest-ever apple crisp, served hot with luscious vanilla ice cream.  

I have not been to Nyack for five years or so, but it is alive and well and delicious in my heart.

What lovely memories of Nyack & Helen & her Charlie, Pretty Penny & walking along the Hudson & good times at O' D's to call to mind for the rest of the day.  

Love to you all - KRL

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