I refer to the moominbeach on here a lot but I never explain what it is. The moominbeach is the Lake Superior beach and surrounding land that Grandberry (my grandfather) and two of his friends purchased in the 1920s. They built log cabins there and brought their families out to live during the summer. (My grandfather probably shoots lightning bolts every time I refer to the place as the moominbeach.) The beach is close enough to Sault Ste. Siberia that, even back in those days, you could commute to work. Although I’m told that Grandberry actually commuted by train from the Soo to a siding called Gladys and walked the last mile or so. Those train tracks were long gone by the time I was born, I think, but you can still walk on the old grade and I used to do that with my dad. He would point out where Gladys was but I don’t think I can recognize it now. Maybe the GG can…

That’s Radical Betty in the photooo. She’s my dad’s sister and she’s playing faarrr chief in that photoooo and she was my fave. Actually, that’s not the right word. I love all of my aunts and I didn’t *love* RB any more than the others. But I had a rather different relationship with RB and I can’t remember off-hand the African word that my “cuzzint” Uber Kayak Woman used to describe my relationship with her mother. Betty was someone I could talk to about stuff that, well, I couldn’t necessarily talk to my own mother about, not that I have a bad relationship with The Commander. Heck, sometimes I could talk to Betty *about* my mother. They met in college and that’s how The Commander met my dad. They were friends and then sisters-in-law for a looonnnng time. They may not have agreed about everything but I never knew it. In my memory, they loved each other, were there for each other, and they laughed a LOT! Even on the days when there wasn’t a whole lot to laugh about. Even when I was a kid, I loved having Betty around.

Radical Betty died at the end of last summer and I have posted about that but I don’t think I have ever posted my feelings about her. And I am not going to do that tonight, at least not comprehensively. That’s partly because I haven’t totally processed them yet, not that a person is ever finished processing the feelings they have/had for a beloved friend or relative that has died. But over the weekend, when I was slugging around down on the moominbeach, it was deserted, and I didn’t think I was lonely, because I like to walk the beach alone. But I was lonely. So many times in my life, I would be walking the beach and Radical Betty would be coming along and we would meet and walk together. Not any more. Well, I am sure she is walking with me some of the time but I can’t necessarily talk to her any more.

Anyway. In the photooo, Radical Betty has her faaaarrr chief hat on. It’s too long and complicated to explain but, after many years of no road access to one end of our beach, the folks who owned land down there manned up and built a huge road over some major wetlands. And now we have neighbors down there. This photooo is from 2003 and those folks had built a beach faaarrr down there one night that was STILL SMOLDERING THE NEXT MORNING. Um, we don’t do that kind of thing on our beach. There is a forest there and we do not want a forest fire. Betty and I discovered the smoldering fire down there with no one anywhere in the vicinity and I swear, she was breathing faaarrrr out of her nostrils! We cruised back down the beach to the drywall bucket depository (whaddya mean, what’s a drywall bucket depository? Don’tcha all have one o’ those?) grabbed buckets and put that faaaarrrr completely out. Fun times? Yes. Miss you Betty!

5 Responses to “fave”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I don’t have and never had that kind of relationship with my one blood aunt or my aunts by marriage. I know you feel very fortunate about being so close to RB and still miss her.

  2. Aimee Nassoiy Says:

    Sawhira, was the description in Shona that I gave for your relationship with RB, and for mine with the Commander. The Shona, ever so polite, with formal social customs, do not go to their parents with their personal matters. . . but instead confide in their Sawhira, often a best friend to the parent, sometimes translated as ritual friend.
    I can only imagine that you could almost feel RB’s presence accompanying you on the beach. I know her love for you crosses the boundaries of this world. . . but it’s just not the same is it?
    What a wonderful photo of the fireperson pose. 2003 doesn’t seem that long ago, but then I can see the changes since my son’s high school graduation that year.
    We carry on, and we carry sweet memories with us. . .

  3. Paulette Says:

    I miss Radical Betty very much. I miss her on beach walks where she would so often tell many stories about your family, her college years, and “life.” Sometimes I look up and see her walking her elegant straight-postured walk before I catch myself in realizing it as a habit of perception. I still can hear her hearty laughter. I am sorry that I did not see you on the beach this past weekend. I did see your footprints which always make me smile. They are gone now because Lake Superior is stirring and roaring with white caps today. Hmmmm. Perhaps they are merely transformed and commingling with RB’s and all those who have come before us. There is a sweet sorrow that comes with missing people who have made a place like the moominbeach so very unique. Miss all of you beach people. Hurry back.

  4. isa Says:

    Can’t wait, can’t wait, can’t wait. Need my yearly dose of beach people.

  5. laurie Says:

    i bet you do miss her. you paint a vivid picture of her here.