Dear Children of Mothers and/or Fathers (i.e., all of you),
My mother Barbara is here from Florida and has been telling me long-ago stories of Beau. This picture is of them at the Taj Mahal in 1965–shortly after I was born. And no, I’m not hidden in a car seat inside the Taj, I’m back in the Philippines with my nanny Veronica. Beau was adamant about his independence and mine from the start.
I’d say that the tactic worked. I’ve been traipsing the world myself (and sometimes by myself) ever since I left the nest. I have a great picture of when I stood in front of this very reflecting pond in 1989.
When we left the Philippines back for the States in 1967, Beau wrote a short note to his mother about me: I don’t know how Nan will like the Virginia winters. She loves the tropics so, and has never been sick a day in her life here.
Having my mother here in chilly, rainy Vermont (what happened to my love of the tropics?) this week has been like finding a buried treasure. Here’s a sampling of some things she told me about Beau that I didn’t know:
- He was Jim Croce’s doctor, which explains why the only rock song he ever played in our house was “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”
- When a farmer came to Beau’s practice in Huntsville, Alabama, wearing old overalls with no shirt underneath, Beau refused to charge him for the visit. The man said, “No, doctor, I can pay you,” and proceeded to pull a wad of hundred-dollar bills out of his center pocket.
- Beau gave his commanding officers at Clark Air Base such a hard time that they threatened to send him to some notoriously horrible outpost. Beau just said, “Great, I want to go there.”
I miss my father, but am ever-so grateful that my mom is here to replenish my memory bank. And, of course, just to be my mom–a remarkable independent person in her own right.