We received word, last night, that Dean’s cousin, Nancy, died on Sunday night. We didn’t know she was ill, so it was a shock to us.
We’d not seen her in many years — perhaps as many as 16 — possibly more. The first time I met Nancy was during my first visit to San Francisco. We met her and some of her friends for sushi (I think I avoided sushi at that time) at a restaurant in Oakland. I don’t remember much except that Dean needed to eat a hamburger after the sushi dinner. That and we had a really good time. It seemed so different from the good times we had in Pittsburgh. More grown-up perhaps? More cosmopolitan?
We spent our last night in Northern California that trip at Nancy’s Oakland home before we went to the airport.I vaguely recall that the house wasn’t in the best of neighborhoods, but don’t remember being worried.
In 1993 we visited San Fransisco again, this time with children and my mom. Nancy was celebrating her birthday (maybe her 50th?) at a Middle Eastern restaurant complete with a bellydancer (who chose me to “dance” along with him).We sat at low tables, on cushions on the floor. It was an interesting evening — but our times with Nancy always were interesting — and much different from what we normally experienced.
Nancy belonged to the same spiritual group as the folks who wrote Laurel’s Kitchen, which was also the spiritual group that my teenage friend Cynthia belonged to. (And Nancy’s sister, Joanne, helped edit the cookbook).
What I remember mostly about Nancy was her smile. She always seemed to be smiling — and not just her mouth, but her whole face. And she was the first person I knew who wore lip liner — I think of her every time I apply it.