Thursday, April 15, 2010


It has been a remarkable week, starting with the arrival of Krissy's friend, Parker, last Saturday, this delightful person. (Please take a look at A Glorious Sunday blog post because Parker is such a gem and I just can't give enough sense of that here.)

When my daughter was brought to me in the hospital, a tiny baby, her eyes were open and I had every sense that she was looking around, saying to herself, 'Okay, I'm ready. Let's get going.' As a child, I swore that she'd talk to a doorknob if no one was around to listen. She was alive, alive, alive, running, dancing, chattering, making up stories and languages. And she still talks, a lot, but not as much as Parker who is just chock full of stories, one after another and plans.

On Wednesday morning, Krissy and I went through my jewelry and found earrings that looked like Parker that Krissy put into little cloth bags, tiny boxes and then into a basket. After that K. and I took my first walk, as in truly first walk after I'd made the decision to try a few blocks toward the Chelsea City Cafe. To my surprise and relief, I made it to a bagel and ice water. 

When I got back, Parker and I sat on the back porch, and she opened her hand-me-down presents (quite nice, often silver with amethyst, or tiny jade leaves, all lovely gifts from I don't remember where), each pair reminded her of a story, often about someone in the ashram she visits every few years to continue her studies with her swami. (Twenty-two hours, not counting layovers and the taxi ride to the tiny village, yes, I would like to see India, but no, I won't ever, just tell me more stories about the two Nomads who came into the ashram, their muscular arms showing through the wraps, bracelets covering their arms so that they displayed their level of wealth and jingled when they strode out, having decided not to wait until swami appeared, tinkling bells and smiling -- these most fully-possessed-of-themselves, beautiful pair of women she'd ever seen, she couldn't stop starring. How could a pair of earrings remind her of them as we sat on my rickety steps overlooking the straggling back yard with a few daffodils starting to fade.)

Today, Parker's last day in Boston where she has been to Memorial Drive, Harvard Square, Marblehead (see Sunday blog), Salem,The Elisabeth Stewart Gardener Museum and on the Freedom Trail, she wanted to have tea at the Chelsea Cafe, the three of us, before we went to Revere Beach to walk the dogs. (So I could photograph Krissy and Parker, both with Cherokee cheekbones. Can you tell?)

THAT'S RIGHT. WALK THE DOGS. ME. ON THE BEACH. WALKING. It was quite amazing to be there, cool ("Is it always this cold? I'm freezing," Parker says. "This is nice," I say. She shivers. The dogs run ahead, around, Bogie rolls continually on his back, managing to unhook his leash and lose it for a while.)

The walking started last night after I got an e-mail from a friend of Elsa Dorfman's who has been advising me. Her latest hint is to keep up strength training. And my response ten minutes later was to decide that I could draggle around after Krissy when she walked the dogs. And to decide that I will walk twice a day, brute force if necessary. But it wasn't. I could actually do it. Followed by lying down, but who cares. I'd walked, slowly, for an hour.

Otherwise, I would be lying here reading Suetonius, something I never imagined I'd ever get around to.

I was touched to find a very old issue of Caterpillar 3/4, cost $2.50, with Atagawa's note to Masao Kume, dated 12 June, 1927, saying

 "Whether or not this manuscript ought to be published, and of course, when it should be published or where, I leave to you.
    You know most of the people who appear in it. But if you have it published, I'd rather it didn't have an index.
    I exist now in a most unhappy happiness. But strangely, without remorse. Only that I feel very sorry for those who had me as a husband, father, son.   Goodbye. In the manuscript, consciously (underlined) at least, there is no attempt to justify myself.
   Last, I leave this manuscript to you feeling that you knew me better than anyone else.   (The skin of this cosmopolitan me stripped away)  At the fool in this manuscript, go ahead and laugh."

Akutagawa (1892 - 1927): popular genius of his time.  Voracious reader, immersed in Chinese classics, Japanese history, Western literature. Author of "Rashomon" (1915), basis for the famed film..."


  1. Delightful post. You look so much better! Akutagawa lives again along with lively Krissy, Parker, and you.

  2. Great post, great shots. So glad you're up and about with the dogs on the beach.
    And Parker.
    Oh my, I'd like to meet her, If she visits this end of the continent she's welcome.

  3. What a gem of a post. And you look glorious!

    Greetings from Kuala Lumpur.

  4. You look and sound as though you're going from strength to strength, dear Melissa - yes, yes and yes!

  5. thank you, thank you. I appreciate the encouragement!!! Very much.

  6. Cherokee cheek bones on the gorgeous Chrissy and Parker. I can see them. What a jubilant post, Melissa. Keep on walking.