Friday, August 22, 2008

Mrs. Grassley

No picture today because I never took one of Mrs. Grassley and it would be cheating to insert one of some generic English lady just for show.

I've been thinking a good deal about Mrs. Grassley recently. I met her many years ago when my first husband and I went to England, he on business and I for sightseeing. Mrs. Grassley was his colleague's wife. Knowing I worked in a college, she kindly invited me to go with her to Oxford to see the university and to meet her daughter, who was a student there. We toured the campus, enjoyed seeing the undergrads in their short black robes, visited the famous Bodleian Library, remarked on the stone steps so worn by hundreds of years' of student feet that they were swaybacked in the middle, admired the Christ Church College border garden aburst with color on that June day, and had lunch in a pub. For one who enjoyed studying and working in higher education, a day in Oxford is like a pilgrim's visit to a holy site.

After our Oxford visit, we were to meet the husbands for dinner, so we drove to Mrs. Grassley's home through the lovely English countryside. I was so jet-lagged that I fell asleep in the car, full of pub food, history and good will. When we arrived home, Mrs. Grassley put me into her daughter's room, tucked up under an afghan, for a little sleep before the guys got there and, when I awoke, gave me tea and cookies and, most of all, such kindness that I have never forgotten her.

When young Naomi was arriving from England, I remembered Mrs. Grassley and all her many kindnesses to a Yank from upstate New York. She didn't have to take me to Oxford or share her home with me - she did it out of sheer kindness and hospitality. She has remained for me a model of graciousness in the 20+ years since I knew her.

Thank you, Mrs. Grassley, wherever you are!

5 Comments:

Blogger Dagny said...

What a wonderful memory!

Friday, August 22, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

What a loving tribute to a gracious lady. You know - you're pretty gracious yourself and once I get over the "beginning of school" frenzy, I'm going to have you over for lunch at Chez Nancy. The view is nowhere as fabulous as your's but the food ain't too bad.

Friday, August 22, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Dagny, yes, one that I cherish - she was such a lovely lady!

Nancy, I'll look forward to a shared lunch and if your heavy-footed upstairs neighbor shows up, we can confront the knave together! :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008  
Blogger Anna Haight said...

What a wonderful tribute. Some people just stand out whether we formally keep in touch with them or not.

Saturday, August 23, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Anna, she certainly stands out in my memory - lovely lady!

Saturday, August 23, 2008  

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