This week I learned that we lost a friend.
D.J. was a customer I met at the One of a Kind Show about a decade and a half ago. On the day that we met, she picked out a necklace called the Constellation Necklace but wondered if I could make it a bit longer to sit lower than the choker style it was. She was a stylish elderly lady (in her 70's on this day back in 2002) that was not afraid of bold colours and coordinating accessories. Matchy-matchy was her thing! I said I would be away for a week following that Spring show and that I could meet up with her after I returned. We decided to meet at a coffee shop in case I had to make any further adjustments to the lengthened necklace. She asked where I was traveling to. I responded by telling her I would be visiting G. in Bermuda. When I returned, we exchanged e-mail messages and she expressed interest in seeing photos from my travels! We ended up sitting with coffee for about an hour and chatting while looking at photos. We had struck up a friendship despite our 5 decade age gap!
Following this first outing, we would meet a few times a year for a meal and chat. She was up on the latest restaurants and was always keen to try new spots. She even came to a Blue Jays game with me and some of my friends. She loved to discuss politics, arts, craft shows, her Summer road trips. She made an annual trip to Muskoka and told me of her adventures there, including catching all the cottage area craft shows and all the hot music festivals. We chatted about what we had listened to on Q in Ghomeshi's pre-scandal heyday, marvelled at Rob Ford's scandals galore. She told me how she was introduced to the Unitarian Church by Frank Lloyd Wright, recounted cheeky stories from her youth including skinny dipping at the cottage and wild motorcycle rides.
She rarely missed a show that I exhibited at and was a super supporter of my work. Over the years, I continued to lengthen necklaces and convert matching earrings to clip-on for her. I know she was an equally eager supporter of several other artisans. I am sure she would spend half of her visit to a craft show chatting with all of her vendor friends. She loved the interaction and to hear about the latest!
Until the end she was a life long learner. She had held so many interesting jobs, even in a time when I am sure there were few women in the work force, taking advantage of every course and learning opportunity. She was a woman in her 80's with as much tech knowledge as I had!
On April 21st, the same day as the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday, D. turned 90. I learned a couple days ago that she passed away the day after her 90th birthday. She was a lady that made much of an impression on me and will not soon be forgotten. Thinking about her will always remind me to stay curious, keep learning, be feisty, never fear a challenge, live with colour and beauty... and always search for adventure.
Rest in peace Ms. D.J.