My English friends Rosemary Lee and Diana Emrich came to lunch today.
Rosemary hails from Axminster, Devonshire.
Diana was born of English parents in India. She was sent from India to England when she was seven years old, and then endured some miserable years in a Boarding School for girls.
I told them that I’d invited them to lunch because I am very fond of English women. “After all“, I said, “my mother was an Englishwoman”.
To be fair, I also invited The Revd Arthur Lee, recently retired from his Rectorship at St. David’s, Englewood, FL, and the Revd Fred Emrich who was a friend and colleague in Massachusetts.
We enjoyed one of those long and laid back lunches which are the privilege for we retired folks. I served some home-made black bean and chorizo soup; followed by a cold platter which included excellent ham, soft asiago cheese, (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asiago_cheese ) beets, roasted red peppers, pickled asparagus, and asparagus hearts.
Then we had tea or coffee with a McVities milk chocolate digestive biscuit.
We lingered over lunch and chatted for three hours! It was all very lovely.
Just as we were breaking up, Rosemary told us that her first name is in fact Diana. She uses her middle name of Rosemary, but legally she is "Diana Lee".
Diana Emrich started to laugh, for her Dad was a Lee. Thus, for many years she was also known as "Diana Lee"
A bit later I checked my e-mail, only to read some sad news. My English friend Winifred Bees died at her home in Bristol, U.K. on 4th Feb 2011. She leaves her husband Tom, and their only child Lesley (who is married with one child). Winifred was a noble person - the very best of Englishwomen.
Tom Bees and I worked together for just one year (1960/61) at the Government Bookshop in Bristol. But he, Winifred and I have stayed in touch for all these fifty years. I last saw them at their home in Bristol in 2009, during my most recent visit to England.
Winifred’s death was a merciful release after her “battle” with a brain tumour.
It makes me sad to think that I will never see her again. It makes me even sadder to think that Tom is alone at his home in Brislington, Bristol after what must have been more than sixty years of marriage, companionship, friendship and tender love with his dear Winifred.
Here is a picture of Winifred with her “grand-dog” Barney. It was taken in 2008.