2 thoughts on “Memorial

  1. Some Thoughts About Mary Beth Blaskey from her cousin Dave

    What is it about Mary Beth Blaskey that made her, over her 76 years, such a poignant and beloved person in the lives of everybody she knew or in whose life she offered a chance meeting?

    First and foremost, she was just about the kindest and generous person I ever knew. Her generosity took the form of constantly giving of herself to make everyone around her feel better about themselves. What a rare gift – to have people just want to be around you – all the time if possible.

    Consider her part time jobs over the last several years with the San Bernardino schools. She was usually assigned to the front desk to “greet and work with” parents/guardians whose beauteous children we so maligned by the school system. That job took a sunny disposition and a great willingness to listen to and ultimately calm down hostile, often irrational, folks.

    Consider what our grand-daughter said upon hearing of Mary Beth’s death: “Who am I going to play Simon Says with?” There just aren’t anywhere near enough adults around who always have time to entertain a child.

    Consider my road trips with her around lower California. I succeeded in getting to San Bernardino 2 or 3 times a year for a week at a time starting in 2005. MB and I took a whole lot of excursions to see the area, even venturing up to the Carmel area for a few days. For me, the most memorable of those “looking” trips included seeing many of the small colleges in the area, particularly Occidental, which both of us attended. On a trip to the Claremont colleges, we dropped in on a Pomona physics professor working in his lab who had married a girl from my Cleveland Heights neighborhood. You’ve never seen anyone as surprised as David when we just appeared at his doorstep. We also loved the Monterrey Aquarium and the old Cortez Hotel (I hope I have the name right) in San Diego where we lunched and then sat on outdoor benches just to inhale the beauty of the spot. Many, many more memories of just being together – two old pals from a common gene pool – which is much more than many of us ever get.

    So, I am bereft of my second sister. What a loss for all of us. However, in contemplating her life, it gives us the opportunity to work to become more like her – in kindness, generosity, curiosity and the “let’s do it” approach to life.

  2. When I think of Mary Beth, my mind goes to her home where we would enter and find Mary Beth sitting at her laptop at the kitchen table upon our arrival, then immediately popping up and grabbing chocolate covered nuts out of the cupboard to pour into a crystal dish for her company,
    that place on Fremontia lost in a time of tea service and tea sandwiches- a place where Mary Beth may have long ago abandoned the formality had it not been all around her -the same furniture since she was a teenager, the same décor, curtains and china.

    She would get out her favorite CD of Metallica, dump the ice cube trays in the freezer and say “shit” if she dropped an ice cube on the floor. Then laugh, ask if you wanted something to drink and bring the dish of nuts to the sitting room.

    There she would take a seat across from you, listen to your stories, laugh and make those appropriate remarks probing deeper into the story and your perspective on the experience as the good listener that she was.

    I think of her ease as the conversationalist – enjoyment of any conversation, regardless of subject and the subtle and yet powerful role she positioned for herself in order to push that conversation to full bloom. Grounding herself in a background role, she herself was not the center but more the subtle inspiration as if she planted the seeds in everyone’s head that they were the center of attention, the star, the main attraction.

    I think of the camellias and roses she cut from her garden and placed in bud vases in her home. I think of her independence and style, her taste for nice things, her modern haircuts and the fact that old age was a seeming affliction that other people far away suffered from, not her.

    But the most lasting impression of Mary Beth comes to me by way of three words that Dirck said she would say to him whenever they walked together hand in hand when he was a child. Whenever an obstacle came in their path like a tree or pole and they would have to release their grasp, she would let go and say “bread and butter.”

    Those three words to me whisper loudly of her gentleness and humor and her deep love for her sons. In that moment: a short separation from his mother deserved quick words of comfort telling him that It won’t be long and that she is there, always.