Saturday, March 13, 2010

Elizabeth Christopher by Madama Sebastian

Bessie Christopher wasn’t rich, married or young when I met her, even though my mother said she had once been all three. My mother also said that Bessie went quiet and crazy after her husband died in the same war my dad lived through. It seemed to me that 30 years was an awful long time to be either one.

Happy with her long ago past, Bessie was reminded by widowhood and infirmity that she no longer lived in it, so she dedicated proof of better times to the walls of her home. In every room, she had photographs of good looking Teddy Christopher, her Greek restaurant entrepreneur. As a kid, I didn’t find Teddy nearly as fascinating as the garden in which he was buried…on Bessie’s wallpaper.

Bessie’s walls told that she was equally wild for her husband, flowers and the color blue. Each Mid-Atlantic summer, her front yard swayed with old fashioned posies. In the off season, the interior walls, papered with immense hydrangeas, made up for what the garden couldn’t grow. Teddy’s photographs withered black and white against generous sapphire.

It was no wonder that Teddy’s best pictures seemed coziest on Bessie’s pedestal table. Everybody had one of those tables--tall, single pillared wood and high polish, the kind of table that you would never profane with foolishness. My parents had JFK and Pope John Paul II sharing a tatted memorial doily on their pedestal table which led to a fair childhood assumption that the only people who got displayed were 1) dead and preferably 2) martyred. I had no idea how qualified he was, but in Bessie’s house, Teddy got a doily all to himself.

Bessie’s tiny home, where she had been without Teddy for so long, sat at the back of her property. All her neighbors’ homes perched at the front of theirs, making it seem like Bessie’s house was shy or too good to mingle. It wasn’t true. She liked being away from the noisy street and having a private view of the perennials first set down in the earth by the man who only ever called her Elizabeth, but Bessie and the house were as warm and welcoming as any I’d ever visited.

Her last long decades were spent alone. Bessie ambled room to room, a little more slowly each year, looking out windows that all faced the garden. She could often be found in a soft covered rocker on the back porch…thanking her beloved out loud for leaving behind the blooms of blue and wishing in her crazy quiet that he was there, so she could still have all the things she was wild about…….

23 comments:

anita said...

Oh my dears, this is evocative enough for me to feel that I knew Bessie. I can picture her surroundings. I agree with Bessie about color. When you find one you love, put it everywhere. And hydrangeas - my favorites. Bessie's homestead sounds lovely.

anita said...

P.S. I tried to learn more about you via your profile on this page, but find nothing else about the story other than your one comment on the home page. Your story would be fascinating to hear, I'm sure.

Kittie Howard said...

I'm a very visual person so love your writing as you bring me into the story as if I'm truly there. Bessie's home seems warm and inviting, even it sat back from the street. I loved the colors. Bessie seems to be a kind, loving woman with a big heart. (And, yes, I remember the pedstals with pictures of the dead...poignant in its own way.) Beautiful post!

Tuesdai Noelle said...

Hey :)

You're a very creative and intriguing writer. I felt as though I'd known Bessie and her many surroundings that made her life was it is......

Thanks for sharing :) Have a lovely day :)

Isha Shiri said...

Hello Sunshine & Baba!

Are you that writes these short-stories? They are very good! You surrounds us with the details of personality and the local environment and describes the details...I can see clearly a person.

Thank you, I'm always happy to read what you write.

Kisses to you both.

TRAVEL BUG said...

Great story!

NURA said...

hi Sunshine
nice post,,
I know Elizabeth Christopher,,coz read your article.
thank for visit in S.A.

Euroangel said...

thanks for sharing this nice story and for the visit! have a great day to both of you..

Ruby said...

nice story again here.inspiring one!

Roder Rock said...

Hi, friends!

Great story!

Peace

Valerie said...

Sweet story and you wrote it so well!

Jani said...

Thank for your visiting and welcome a again anytime.Nice site! :)
Greetings:Jani from Finland

Gary Keimig said...

interesting story and well written. Just enough to want me to know more and to read further. Almost like a mystery.
Thanks for checking on my blog and the wonderful comments.

Downright Fiction said...

Hi there,

thank you for having stopped by on our upcoming project website !

If you'd like to write for us and contribute to Downright Fiction, feel free to check out the page and send in some of your work !

Thanks again!
The Editor

Indrani said...

Beautiful touching story!
You write so well.
(Sorry for being here so late.)

Sladkoezka said...

Hello! Good day! =)

Let's Go International ! said...

Wow, :D
Follow me please and I'll be your loyal visitor :D

Val Wilcox said...

What a lovely post. You are such a gentle soul who shares special moments with us.
Thank you,
Val

Cloudia said...

Thank you-



Aloha from Hawaii my Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Darin said...

nice story u have! r u a novelist? wouldn't u try to write one?

Claudia said...

Interesting story, you're a very creative!

Jade "Purple" Brown said...

beautiful story! do you publish your writtings?

KINHA said...

Olá

O blog Amiga da Moda, gostaria de sua opinião: Qual vestido você quer
ganhar? A DUTMY irá sortear um belo vestido às seguidoras, mas antes
gostaria de saber qual o vestido preferido.
Conto com vc amiga...

BEIJO