Jottings: A woman called Diane
On Tuesday, Jan. 25, the lunch special at the retirement residence where I live was fried chicken and waffle sandwich with bourbon honey and choice of a side. Minestrone was the daily soup offering. Chicken and waffle sandwich with bourbon honey? That sounded terrible and very inappropriate for Diane if she were going to go home that day. Something lighter. Minestrone would be good, but I would request a grilled turkey sandwich with a fruit cup side for her. But maybe she would be released on Wednesday when a mushroom Swiss cheeseburger with waffle fries was featured. Or ... maybe I should just relax and wait for when she returned home.
But that would never happen. Diane passed on Monday, Jan. 24, of a heart attack at OHSU.
We met on the plane to Paris in June 2001 as part of our Women's Wisdom Circle's goal to walk labyrinths in France. It was filled with a group of 12 lively women, a trip created by Caryn A., a Jungian therapist and the Women's Wisdom Circle's mother superior.
Over the years, Diane and I, both only children, shored each other up in our chronic loneliness on many occasions. On Thanksgiving we would first attend a movie, then enjoy turkey dinner. The annual Lake Oswego Reads program found us rounding up our free book at the library, and then hustling back and forth for one entire month, participating in the many stimulating events offered -- an annual art show, book group discussions, lectures at the library, and finally, the author's personal appearance. Diane made sure she carried her LO Reads passport, filling out each activity diligently to qualify for a grand prize at the end. She never won, but we both cherished that month so very much. This year came and went. I didn't finish the book or attend a single event.
I remember her thoughtfulness and kindness, too. With her many Swedish relatives she spearheaded them to purchase a headstone for a beloved ancestor. It was a prodigious task and at times difficult. But the good deed was performed, followed by a celebratory luncheon she hosted at Broder's Scandinavian restaurant.
Several seasons ago her cousin, Ove, visited from Sweden. She tracked hundreds of miles showing him every beautiful site that the Pacific Northwest offers. One Thanksgiving we treated ourselves to the movie, "A Man Called Ove," before our turkey dinner. I was thrilled when she taught me how to pronounce "Ove." Ooooo-vay!
Diane always carried small bags in her car filled with trail mix, a piece of fruit, water and a sweet to hand out to people at intersections who were pleading for money. A caring soul. And in 2019 she started a foundation with an endowed scholarship for a dental hygienist at Portland
Community College (Sylvania campus). She had taught dental hygiene there for 30 years. We would co-celebrate our birthdays, attend Willamette Women's Democrats' monthly programs and drive each other for medical appointments when needed. No one will take her place.
I am bereft.
Pat Perkins is a member of the Jottings Group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.
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