Today, I’ve lost my friend,
Anita wasn’t just MY friend, but a friend to many.
Margo was Anita’s lifelong friend
to the inevitable end.
Margo never married, had no children or siblings.
When she started to decline and developed dementia,
Anita did not abandon her.
She visited every week,
brought her anything she might need,
took over her finances.
When Margo died—during the height of the pandemic,
Anita took care of everything
while her own heart was breaking…
Long before that, Anita was an art teacher
and an artist. Her home was like a gallery
decorated with taste, skill
Anita was a caring, giving friend.
When the pandemic hit, we had to cease our weekly Mah Jongg game.
After we all were vaccinated but could no longer meet in a restaurant,
Anita offered her lovely home for us to gather.
By then, the weather had warmed;
We played on her patio, surrounded
by the beauty of her glorious garden,
a garden she cared for herself.
Like everything else, lovely
a reflection of Anita.
What a gracious hostess:
Table already set up with tablecloth
and the game set out.
She offered anything we needed:
Paper plates, napkins, drinks, ice…
And, oh, those holiday desserts!
An assortment of homemade cookies
and her specialty: Blueberry Pie.
She made sure to tell us,
“The crust is made with vegetable oil”
not the dreaded “high-calorie Lard!”
And “very little sugar added because
blueberries have all the flavor.”
At holiday time, it was her idea
that our group make a donation to a charity
one that provided cows for indigent families
so they’d always have milk.
Again, thinking of others.
I came to know Anita when my sister invited me
to join her poetry group, which met weekly at the Myerberg.
Mostly we read and discussed assorted poems.
Sometimes, just for fun, Sheila, our leader,
threw out ten random words like:
Broadway, purple, rectangle, trees, etc.
for us to use in an impromptu poem.
Anita always used all ten words to compose just one sentence!
The fourth Thursday of every month
our book club would meet.
Anita always had interesting thoughts
about the plot, setting, characters, etc.
We frequently read historical fiction.
Anita was a great contributor
with her wide wealth of knowledge.
She added details about paintings, antique furniture,
and other art features of a book.
When the setting was a foreign region or period times,
again, she shared her wide knowledge of those places
and eras with us.
Anita loved rich, detailed, interesting books
which made her comments valuable.
If the book was trivial or boring,
she had something to say about that too!
Anita and her friend, Barbie,
contributors to the Baltimore symphony,
attended regularly after dining together.
When Barbie was too ill to go,
Anita invited Ruthie, another music loving friend,
so the ticket wouldn’t go to waste.
Someone else could enjoy the music.
Once a month, Anita packed up her ancient van,
(a huge undertaking) with vintage purses, apparel, and jewelry.
After a good night’s rest, she arose early,
drove to a flea market in West Virginia
where she met with a friend who also sold vintage items.
They spent the whole day,
made some money and had a blast.
It was late afternoon before she came home,
unloaded everything from the van.
What energy she had!
And what fun it was for her and her friend.
Grace United Methodist church in Baltimore
held concerts one Sunday every month.
Professional musicians entertained
But everyone made donations.
Anita was always very generous.
Plus, she drove.
We’d meet at her house,
pile into her car (she had symphony music on the radio)
and she’d chauffer us.
Lucky us to be her friends.
My husband and I have Orioles season tickets.
(Don’t laugh. They’re getting better.)
Sometimes my husband couldn’t go.
I’d ask Anita, a true Orioles fan,
to go with me.
We always had a grand time
even though the Orioles didn’t.
Anita loved to talk.
If you wanted to call
to discuss something
ask a question
you better block off at least a half hour
You had to start to sign off
“Okay, Anita, so talk later” or some such thing
at least 10 or 15 minutes before you really
needed to hang up.
We all laughed about this.
When she was young, Anita was lovely.
She had long, lustrous raven hair
until the end. (She’d pull out the occasional gray stray.)
And she had the best eyebrows ever!
When last I saw Anita in the hospital,
her eyes were mostly closed
and she was not alert.
Occasionally, she’d open her eyes
and look at me
but did not see
I was with her.
I held her hand,
petted her hair,
kept up a stream of dialogue
(I learned how to do this from her)
but she did not know I was there.
Mostly, I cried.
This was not my friend, my Anita.
Now she is gone.
I tell myself it’s probably for the best.
I miss her.
Rest In Peace, Anita – January 9, 2022
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