Photo: A page copied from Faye’s Diary… The early 1930’s

Pages from a Journal…The Early 1930’s
Pages from a Journal…7 August 1990

Journal Entry: 7 August 1990

It’s been 27 days since Faye died. Last night, I felt as though someone stood next to my side of the bed, watching me sleep. I woke up, rather startled, and felt compelled to open the glass doors onto the upstairs porch and tiptoe outside. It was 4:20 in the morning and the ocean waves were slowly and rhythmically rolling under the house to crash against the huge slice of rock upon which our deck is built.

My senses were taking it all in…the view, the smell, the touch of salt spray on my face. I wondered if I were awake inside a dream. Then I realized with stark certainty that Faye was standing next to me. So close, I could feel her arm brush against mine. Together, we just stood there…silently…while the incredible crystal full moon danced across the San Francisco Bay.

In the distance, the ‘string of pearl’ lighting stretched in great arcs across the towers of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Once, long ago on a visit, Kay had written the most wonderful letter telling us that the panorama from our house reminded her of the sight of the Bay of Bengal in Bombay called the Queen’s necklace. The lights along the road circling the famous Bay were placed in such a way to resemble the pearls of a necklace…India’s way of honouring their sovereign Queen. In my mind, I could hear Faye saying,“A miracle of nature, of design, of human imagination made real…did you ever see anything so beautiful!

Faye whispered something else,“My old cedar trunk. There is something there I want your Mother to know. She must read it to understand my struggles yet know how very much I loved her as a child. How I loved her always. Then and now. Time is an illusion. Do you understand? The old cedar trunk. It’s there.

What tricks were these my mind played? I rationalized away the moment. Sadness. Grief. Exhaustion. Imagination run amok. Shaking my head, I walked across the deck and back into my bedroom. I stood there looking at the moonlight streaming through the open doors; a bit more sleep might correct perceptions. I drifted off until the bright light of morning filled the room with a blazing sun that only amplified my belief in what had happened. I felt a renewed energy. Peaceful. An excited anticipation.

The cedar trunk had traveled with Faye from lifetime to lifetime. From the Indian Territory of the early 1900’s (before Oklahoma became a state) to the Panhandle prairies of Texas. From Texas to Colorado. To Utah. To California. To Montana and back to California. The trunk now lives at the bottom of grey weathered stairs, out a catwalk to the little boathouse sitting on stilted piers above the Bay. A large brass bed dominates the room with its cozy red rose comforter and masses of downy pillows. At its foot stands Faye’s trunk.

I hold an almost sacred reverence for Faye’s possessions. I never think of her as my grandmother but some exotic creature who was a spirited adventurer, talented artist, savvy business woman and romantic poet. I idolized her. She was my mentor and my muse. The thought of opening her trunk and sifting through the secret and cherished keepsakes of her life is somehow daunting and mystical. I feel a trespasser. Indiana Jones about to discover important treasures which have slept unseen and untouched. Secrets revealed.

I did it…with heart pounding and emotions raw, I lifted the heavy lid. Under several layers of eclectic momentos, I found a parcel wrapped in sumptuous velvet the colour of cognac, tied with a faded pink satin ribbon. Carefully, I untied the ribbon and folded back the velvet. A large black diary revealed itself to be in perfect order. Photos, postcards and letters flowed from one page to the next. A piece of Faye’s expensive stationary caught my eye. The faded but distinctive italic print from her ancient typewriter was unmistakable. My heart skipped a beat. This is what Faye wants my mother, her daughter, to read...

Journal Entry: (Sometime in the 1930’s)
The Girl I Used To Be

She came tonight as I sat alone
The girl I used to be
She gazed at me with earnest eyes
And questioned reproachfully,
“Have you forgotten the many plans?The hopes I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame…
All the wonderful things to do
Where is the mansion of stately height
With grounds and gardens rare
The silken robes I dreamed for you,
The jewels for your hair”
As she spoke, I was very sad
I wanted her pleased with me
This slender girl from the shadowy past
The girl I used to be
Gently rising I took her hand
And guided her up the stair
Where peacefully sleeping my babies lay
Innocent, Sweet and Fair
I told her they were my only gems
Precious they are to me
My silken robe is motherhood
Of costly simplicity
My mansion of stately height is Love
The only career I know
Is serving each day in these sheltered walls
For the dear ones who come and go
As I spoke to this guest
From my shadowy past
She smiled through her tears at me
I saw that the woman
I am now
Pleased the girl
I used to be

Postscript: Faye not only raised her two daughters but she became the first woman Real Estate Broker in Boulder, Colorado. She was also an artist, writer, poet and gardener.



pattie said...

I do so LOVE this post...
I do so LOVE you my friend...
You have a great deal of Faye within you!

Leticia said...

Royce, This was beautiful to read!