Friday, October 7, 2016

Angels and Florists

Dear hearts, I've been busy, performing in the annual cemetery walk as Jennie Thompson, a social worker, dubbed locally as the Angel of the West Side, who died in 1924. The other day, during a performance, I caught a fainting student, so maybe I have earned the nickname! I get to wear a silvery gray 1920s-style dress as well as low heels while performing 12 to 15 times a day, so that might earn me a halo, too. But when I come home to rest and recover, I am still reading! And still reading memoirs.

I am in love with Patricia Hampl and must now seek out her poetry, after reading The Florist's Daughter. Her dad was a florist in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here is a random coincidence. Jennie Thompson had a kind of "flower ministry," using a particular extra donation to her charitable organization (a day nursery and settlement house) to take flowers to mothers whose children had died.

I found an excerpt from another of Hampl's memoirs in Writing Women's Lives, edited by Susan Cahill, a book I'd heard about for years but finally got hold of at the library! That is truly wonderful. And I read Graham Greene's memoir, A Sort of Life. We discussed Sunny's Nights, by Tim Sultan, this summer at my book group, sort of a memoir of a bar, like The Tender Bar, by J.R. Moehringer, which we'd enjoyed in a previous year. Very soon I'll get back to novels, starting with Kent Haruf's Our Souls at Night.


seana graham said...

Your attending the annual cemetery makes me nostalgic, even though I've never been to it. Thanks for sharing (and enacting) the story of Jennie Thompson.

Kathleen said...

Thank you, Seana!