Monday, December 23, 2019

Evanston: Louise

Last Friday I received an email that Louise, my oldest friend in terms of how long I had known her, had died.  She had been seriously ill for years, so this was not entirely unexpected, but the fact came as a shock.  

I had known Louise for a half a century, ever since we worked in the same State of California office building in the late 1960s.  She was a social worker who spent most of her career on child welfare cases.

Like me, Louise was a Midwesterner, but also like me she thought  beyond the Midwest and even the United States and saw the world.  She was three months younger than I, born appropriately on Valentine’s Day for there were many men in her life.

I expect that the year she enjoyed the most was the one she spent as a Red Cross Volunteer in Vietnam at the height of that unfortunate war.  She was there under artillery fire during the Tet Offensive.

Louise knew tragedy in the early deaths of close relatives and some of the men she cared for, many of whom were in the military.

With her interest and skill in photography, I once suggested that she would have been a good war photographer.  She laughed and said as we both knew she was not the most athletic of people and would have been too slow to take cover.

Despite diabetes and congestive hearth failure, Louise continued to travel after her retirement, often grueling flights to the other side of the world, as long as she could.  She had special fondness for Asia and Africa.

Louise and I always stayed in touch.  She lived in San Diego all the time I knew her and when I was there we got together for lunch.  During the five years I was making the GANNET circumnavigation, her health declined, preventing travel, and eventually causing her to be confined to her suburban condo.  We last had lunch together there a few months ago.  She had the food delivered and I stayed two hours before she tired.  She recently mentioned in an email that was the last face to face conversation she had had.

Louise had the talent of all good photographers of seeing the moment, as she did in the above photo taken in Egypt in 2007.  

I will remember her.