Chalk it up to bad timing, I guess, but I never really got to know Linda of London as well as I might have.
The little I did get to know was but a threshold to uncharted waters. There was so much she knew about England culture and history. It was astounding. Reading one of her regular columns was a mini-history lesson. Readers may have begun thinking, "All right, what's this all about?" but would soon find themselves engrossed in a world of figgy pudding, Henry the VIII and the origins of Easter. Shakespeare? Without a doubt. Linda knew the Bard of Avon better than most.
Linda's memorial was held at the Seattle Unity Church on a sun-soaked Saturday afternoon, the kind Seattleites have been waiting for since March. Attending were many of her friends who knew her from The British Hour, from her leadership with the Somewhere in Time club, the English Speaking Union or the Seattle Opera, where she saw every opening night for years.
Seattle Unity's The Rev. Karen Lindvig presided over the memorial. This was Linda's church, where she donned her fashionable wide-brimmed and feathered hats, and Lindvig knew her and admired her dignified look Sunday mornings. Friends at the memorial paid homage to her fun-loving and dignified spirit, donning elegant feathered hats of assorted colors.
Linda's love of opera was celebrated when Laurie Geyer took the altar to sing a lovely rendition of "Un Bel Di, Vedremo" from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly." She later sang "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi." Being an opera fan myself, the singing, I found, both touching and beautiful.
Linda's fun-loving son, Andrew, said a few words about his mom, about how she was a terrible driver, but had an endless capacity for enthusiasm and optimism. He also mentioned how she once tried to fix the overheating radiator of her car by dumping oatmeal in it. It worked enough to get the family home, but the car was toast. That wasn't the first car she trashed either. She'd cracked up a couple of ambulances, too, when she served as a driver in England during World War II. It was best she stay off the road. Let somebody else take the wheel. Andrew was the last to see fair Linda, kissed her on the forehead goodnight for the last time.
When I first heard of Linda, I didn't know what to make of her. She introduced herself over the phone and was very friendly, very English. I'd never read the Queen Anne/Magnolia News before, didn't listen to The British Hour nor was I a member of the English Speaking Union. But she quickly inculcated me and I soon understood that the News had something special in Linda. That readers loved her. Several admirers thought of her as dignified and optimistic. I saw her most of all as having a tremendous sense of humor. Linda, Andrew and I had lunch one day at a restaurant along Westlake and the Monty Python-esque joking was endless. I loved it. This ol' gal could take it on the chin and give it right back. Loved that about her. She also knew I had three little girls and was quick to give me an old book of hers, "How Many Dragons Are Behind the Door?" by Virginia Kahl.
My kids still read it.
Ah, Linda, I'm gonna to miss you. I'm so glad I called you just after your 85th birthday. It was the last time we spoke, and you closed, as usual, with TTFN. Though we only knew each other for a couple of years, I'm glad our paths crossed. TTFN indeed.[[In-content Ad]]