Thursday, February 03, 2005

Frances Lide

Frances Lide
Originally uploaded by anoddeel.
I met Frances when my brand new husband and I moved into a rental house in Alexandria, Virginia. I was 29 and she was in her mid-eighties. She lived next door and she and I became good friends that year as she helped me learn about my new town. She was retired from a position on the Washington Evening Star as a reporter. She had many stories to tell that I wish I had written down.

We moved to a different house after one year, but Frances and I still saw each other, and spoke often. When we moved to Maryland we saw much less of each other, but still spoke. After a while we drifted apart, but I always remembered her. On her 91st birthday I called her house to wish her a happy birthday. She didn't know who I was and acted confused. I talked to some of her old neighbors about my concern and within a day Frances was in the hospital and within a week she had died following surgery.

I have a photo (not this one) in my office and I often look at for strength or to work out some troubles or another. Frances was the most influential person in my adult life aside from family members.


Anonymous said...

I met Frances in 1974, when I was 11. My Great Aunt, Jean Powell, had worked with her at the Star. Frances was freshly retired and took me to nearly every tourist attraction in the DC area.
I stayed in touch with her on and off for the rest of her life, visiting when I was in the area.
Frances' nickname when I met her was "Mother Birdbath", due to a Star feature she wrote. I never once called her anything but Birdbath. She was a sweetheart, and I miss her enough to google her name from time to time...

Cedar Waxwing said...

Hi Sandy -

Thank you so much for the comment. I got goosebumps when I read it.

I will upload the photo I mentioned in the entry - it has a drawing behind her that someone from the star did as a result of her nickname, "Birdbath".

Anonymous said...

Frances was my great-aunt.
Glad more people were able to enjoy her too ... I knew she loved just about everybody in her neighborhood.
Robert Gehl
Phoenix, AZ

Anonymous said...

By the way, the family called her "Too." My brother and I called her "Aunt Too."
Robert Gehl again.

Cedar Waxwing said...

Hi Robert,

I met you twice. Once at church when you were visiting your Aunt Frances and at the memorial service.

At the memorial service you handed me a tape of Frances talking about Elenor Roosevelt. I treasure that tape (and am going to transfer it to DVD soon, so I have it always).

Frances talked about you and Matthew often. She loved you very much, but you know that.

Thanks so much for the comment. Frances is rarely far from my thoughts. Tell your dad and Matthew hello.