Phone call from my mother just now, to tell me that she heard today that Marie had died. She was 91.
I met Marie when I was 13, when she started taking classes at my dad’s Bridge club.
Over the years, Marie and her sister kept in touch, stopping for a chat whenever I was at the club, even remembering my birthday. We didn’t see one another much while I was at University – I wasn’t at the club much at that stage – except when my mother and I catered one of the functions. Marie particularly loved a chocolate slice – which I made for Otto’s party yesterday.
Fast forward to my coming back from a year studying in Austria. Dad and I had a regular Bridge date on Mondays for a while, and Marie and her sister were regulars. We always played fast at their table, to make time for the chit-chat about what was going on in our lives. Sometimes I’d go over on other days to have my hair done at the hairdresser up the road, and I’d always pop up to show off whatever he had done that day. I was sure he gave me a discount because of it.
When Fraser learned to play Bridge, they were delighted to get to know him as well. They introduced themselves as “The Aunties” and asked him all the questions that Aunties get to ask. We almost invited them to our wedding, but we just didn’t have room on the guest list.
I haven’t played Bridge since Biggie was born, but stopped by the club regularly until dad retired at the start of last year. The Aunties were delighted to meet my daughters, and told them stories they remembered from my childhood. Biggie was always delighted to hear them – and to be admired, much as the Aunties had admired me in my teens – My parents called them the “Melissa Fan Club” for a while. Marie was – and her sister is – a warm, loyal and affectionate person, always ready with a smile.
The funeral is on Friday – I need to see whether I can rearrange the girls’ after-school pickup so I can go too.
Sadly, too, my mother followed this news up with pressure to take Biggie with me when I go to Essen. I got quite angry, actually. Tonight’s diatribe warned me that the Bigster will “never” forgive me if I do not take her, and “well you have to live with the consequences of your actions.”
I am already so conflicted about taking (or not taking) the Bigster, this is really not constructive. Ugh.