Thursday, November 08, 2007

Barbara A. Quinlan 1923-2007

My friend Bobbe died this morning.

I had planned to visit her in the hospice this afternoon, but I woke up Tuesday wanting to make the trip to the Valley to see her. I talked to her daughter, and decided that Bobbe probably would last until I could get down on my regularly scheduled trip today.

It didn't happen. Sometimes you just should go with your gut reaction, and not rationalize your way out of doing the right thing.

Bobbe was twenty plus years older than me, so you may wonder why we attended plays together, went to dinner, yard-saled, and the like.

We were both writers.

I think our first link was through the Mesa Writers Club. I attended for several years, and helped members put together "chapbooks" of their work, 5 1/2- by 8 1/2-inch booklets. I charged a small fee for my work, and Bobbe was one of my customers.

We lost track of one another, then made contact through another writing group. From that time onward, I took Bobbe to meetings of one group or another, to the doctor, shopping, and of course, eating out, attending plays and musicals, and even going on picnics. I looked on her as a surrogate mother.

Then we had a falling-out. Bobbe discovered that I dedicated our time together to the concept of serving her in place of the time I had not had with my own mother, who was killed in an accident before that era arrived for us.

Bobbe was offended. Her life had been hard, raising six kids--oftentimes by herself--and working outside the home. She had not been taught, she could not grasp, the idea of serving others with joy, a concept I had learned in my home and religion. She must have thought I looked on being with her and taking her places as a chore. That was never true. But words were said and hearts were wounded, and although we finally patched things up, our relationship was never quite the same. Besides, I moved away.

By ignoring my gut feeling, I lost the chance to say goodbye to Bobbe. I still must learn to trust my first impressions. That said, I bid farewell to a good friend, a fun companion, and a true character, Bobbe Quinlan.


  1. Marsha, So sorry to hear about your friend's passing. It sounds like you're a great friend and I'm sure she knew that.

  2. You didn't lose the chance, Marsha -- she can see you from the other side and she knows the thoughts and desires of your heart. She understands now.

    What a good friend you were, even if she didn't understand at the time, but she does now.

    Thanks for this beautiful tribute.


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