Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Margaret's pitcher

Many years ago, before we had our new library, we had a member of the Friends of the Library who had become a 'bearing wall' of the group. Once or twice a year we had a book sale out in the garage of the place which now is the County site of the workings of the place. The garage was there because of the tall trucks that used to deliver books to shut ins in the out-lying areas of avid readers. The name of this elderly woman was Margaret Coffey.

She once told me her age and I think at the time she was in her middle seventies. I wondered how she could work so hard at her age. She could lift heavy boxes of books and she could stand on her feet for hours, sorting books for a future sale. The garage was a cold drafty place and her feet were usually in high heeled shoes. She was great to work with, for no one could say he or she was tired as long as Margaret persevered.

One day Margaret called and asked Sam and me for lunch the following week end. I said Sorry, but we have two grand daughters here from Denver. She said bring them along. She lived on the family farm which was out in the direction of Joyce. Many years earlier the family home had burned down and Margaret lived in a trailer where the house had stood. There were many buildings remaining and many of her belongings could be found in what was once the barn.

We had a delightful lunch and when we settled down with coffee and desert the children asked if they were allowed to go out to discover things. Margaret said they could, if they promised not to go into any of the buildings, for she did not know how safe they were. When the girls came back, they said, Grandma, come out and see what we saw. It was time for us to leave, so we said our Thank You. As we walked to our car, Kate said come and see what we found. It was some colorful old fashioned thing they had never seen before and they asked if they could ask Margaret if they might have it. I said, go and ask. Margaret came to investigate and at once said, Of course you may have it. It was some price given out at a county fair. My eyes spied a dirty pitcher lying on its side in the dirt on the floor. I asked if I might have that one. She said 'What on earth for?' I said It has such an unusual shape and I may use it in a painting. She said 'Take it.' And so we went home with our treasures.

The following Friends of the Library Board meeting was going to be held at Margaret's home. It was scheduled for one o'clock on a Saturday afternoon. We drove out there in two cars and when we got there, there was a note on the the door. It said 'please enter' We sat down and waited and after a few moments George Stratton, the head of the Library arrived. He sat down and said, Margaret died yesterday. Her daughter found her, sitting in her favorite chair. She was dead.

The discussion on the agenda had been, how can we help raise money for the bond issue. None of us wanted to remain. We were all too shocked and saddened by the news. So we scheduled another meeting and left. When we met later in the week I had a plan for raising money for the election. I would paint one painting each month named Margaret's Pitcher. It would be displayed in the North Light Gallery and people who saw it could bid on it and the highest bidder would get it. Many people who came across from Canada on the Ferry saw them and bid. I think only two remained in Port Angeles. Apparently enough money was raised that the names of my husband and me were put on the wall as donors. Unknown to us, until it was too late to remove them.


3rd said...

Powerful blog post. Made me cry.

Beth said...

You are a treasure! Your stories just come to life. I'm learning a lesson from you. There's magic in every experience.

Joanna said...

Wow. I love reading your stories.