She goes by Margaret now, having long ago discarded Bobbi, the nickname remembered by her college housemates. We've agreed to meet on Sunday afternoon, following Friday's detective work. Margaret lives less than half a mile from me - a fact that astonishes both of us as we compare neighborhood markets, landmarks, and bus routes. She's invited me for coffee and I arrive with a box of dark chocolates along with photos and details sent by Sonia and "Barney", one of the other Dickinson college housemates. I have no idea what to expect from our visit.
Margaret is petite, elegant, her youthful face belying her age. She looks younger than I do! I've come to "interview" her - but she seems more interested in me and what's brought me to Paris. Within moments, she's heard much of the story of my life, my two one way tickets to Paris, my blog, etc. But wait - I came to learn about YOU, I say.
She's not a starry eyed romantic about Paris as are many American women who dream of coming to live here. "I came here against my will" she says, and then goes on to recount the story of how she met her husband, their brief marriage, their three sons. It wasn't always easy . . . She also raised a daughter alone, and now, although she has 12 grandchildren, she is not really the grandmotherly type.
She is a talented sculptor though, and I am in awe of the many terra cotta sculptures that adorn her living room.
Margaret doesn't travel much these days, she's somewhat tied down by Tennessee, her diabetic cat who requires two insulin shots each day.
Our discussion moves to the computer - to my blog, and to Skype. I help download the application, and although I'm not very familiar with her Mac, we work to set up the connection via Skype with her son in Hong Kong, her daughter in Virginia, and Sonia in Colorado.
About this time, the telephone rings - it's her daughter calling from Virginia. "Is everything OK? You sound a little sad." I instantly recognize the tone of voice, the concern that every mother can sense. I take my leave, promising to follow up with photos, and with additional contact information. We'll stay in touch - we're practically neighbors! And now that they're connected, I'll leave it to Sonia to continue the college reminiscences.