Sunday, July 31, 2005


When I was 4½ we moved to Inwood, a neighborhood at the northernmost part of Manhattan. The end of the A-train line was at the corner near our building.

The public library was in walking distance of our apartment. The children's library was on the second floor. Susan Pope was the librarian, the first friend I made for myself. (My parents and sister made friends with her too.) We saw her outside of the library too, meeting at the Cloisters or going to her apartment. Her daughter, Tina, was a few years older than me and she had a Bon Jovi poster in her bedroom.

I remember we stayed there once over New Year's Eve, after we'd moved upstate. It was the first year that I made a conscious choice not to stay up till midnight, and slept through to the next year. When you're young, it's astonishing to realize that you can do that. I don't know if it was the same visit, but I remember watching The King And I at her place, too.

Susan and my mom saw each other every year until my mom moved far away. Susan wrote to me when I was in college. Last year she came to Los Angeles to visit her sister and her niece. While she was here she came to see me. She'd had cancer for a couple of years at that point, and was tinier than I remembered. She'd stopped smoking, but I hadn't yet. We had a nice visit. She was sorry she couldn't come to my wedding, and sent a generous gift card.

A few weeks ago I was thinking that I should call her and let her know I'd quit smoking. I thought she'd be happy about it. I hadn't gotten around to it when my mom called me, worried because she couldn't reach Susan. I gave her Susan's sister's phone number. But I knew.

Susan Pope died January first of this year. She was not quite sixty.

There is a nice obituary here at The Daily Star. She is three down on the page.