The space that they created was a bit of magic on Capital Hill. There were French conversational parties on Tuesday evenings; and eclectic cabarets on a regular basis. They created a very special place. And they loved building their community. But they didn’t “try.” They just did it. They sought it out by introducing themselves to others and inviting them with sincerity into their lives.
And then the flood. A life change. Never showing despair, and always a smile in their eyes to share with the rest of us, Gerry started to hone his piano skills playing at retirement homes several days a week. He rode his one speed bicycle around town with his cabby hat and calf ended pants tucked into high socks. Fathia, decades younger and a flower always in her thick mane of hair, played guitar. Gerry arranged for her to get voice lessons and he started helping Fathia get gigs, and soon she was performing French songs and her own compositions around Seattle with good musicians. Gerry entertained coffee drinkers on the piano at Victrola on 15th every Saturday at 11am. Sometimes Fathia sang with him.
The two of them were lovely, beautiful, colorful people. And they loved Seattle. And they loved music, and community. When Gerry passed away 3 years ago, Fathia struggled without her supporter, her grounded champion. She continued to play her beautiful music at the Sorrento, and restaurants, festivals, retirement homes, and church.
At the service today one of her friends eloquently voiced the bravery Fathia exhibited in continuing her music career after Gerry’s death. Fathia was pure artist. She was not naturally equipped with the necessary mundane skills to book, promote, and the other million details it takes to perform and record, and which Gerry enthusiastically did so she could live unfettered in her world of natural, innocent beauty. But she learned, and not without reaching out for help. She continued to perform. I am so proud of her. The music had to be shared. Music was always so important to Fathia. It was central to her life.
Fathia was elegant and lovely and sincere and I miss her terribly. But here’s the thing…I was not present in her life the last few years. I got busy first with These Streets and then with my record, and then with my back pain, and and and…AND IT IS SO VERY IMPORTANT that we LOVE each other. Because ALL of us will shed this mortal coil. And we never know when that will happen. There are many people whom I love, and who I KNOW love me, and whom I have not seen in years. I’m thinking: let’s love each other while we are here. And let's reach out to each other when we are feeling lonely, when we are in pain.
I am listening to Edith Piaf, drinking a glass of French red wine (of course) and loving you, Fathia. And I am appreciating and loving all those in my life who have given me so much. Thank you. The cherry pie is almost ready. I smell it.
This year has been difficult. We lost my step-sister to cancer. Marion Kimes, my friend left the planet. Another friend suffered a brain aneurism (and after 5 brain surgeries is rockin it!) I likely contracted meningitis (or something horrible while visiting people regularly in the hospital) and was quite sick for 6 months. I had a bad fall resulting in 7 months of severe back pain. I’m usually not very public with personal things, but I guess I’m sharing this cause: I have SO much appreciation for LIFE, and for several people in my life. I hope the people I have regular contact with know how much I love them. And I often think, what a crazy cool person he is. Or what a really smart person she is. WOW she can reeeeaaaaally sing. Loved that show he spent 2 years creating and having two performances of…so….here it is: I THINK I NEED TO TELL PEOPLE more regularly HOW MAGICAL THEY ARE! How Weird, Special, Fantastical they are. WHILE THEY ARE ALIVE. WHILE I AM ALIVE. Cause there aint no guarantee…ever. Be well. LOVE WELL. Thank you for reading this. If you have made it this far, I think we are friends.