An Angel Gets her Wings
I sent the draft manuscript off of book # 4 yesterday midday, and the plan was to clean my house and my desk, and I have sort of, dumping all my notes for the book in a big box to save them for the editing process in February and March, but I can't do a thorough mucking out of my writing stall yet as I have an obituary to write for our dear Miss Maisie Jones, 95, who died Sunday morning early, peacefully, after basically taking a really long nap for the last year or so.
Our church, St. Michael and All Angels, is conducting the graveside service tomorrow at noon at Jones Point, and I have a rehearsal shortly to practice singing "In The Bleak Midwinter" a favorite hymn of hers, with half a dozen of the church women.
Maisie gave our small Episcopal mission its big name, as she was proper enough, and British enough, a true Anglican, that she knew that the September day we incorporated was St. Michael and All Angels day, and as she was an adored elder, even back then, we all nodded and said, "Sure, great idea!" I liked the image of angels among us, or near, and so many. Not only one but All.
I had a moment of panic wondering where I'd put the notebook with her obituary in it, especially given the shambles of my office at the moment, but I found it.
Ten years ago or so, after a big birthday party in the Chilkat Center when Maisie was feted as "The Queen of Hearts," we shared a cup of tea and she gave me these notes, and I took my own. She was a widow, and had few living family members, and they reside far from Haines, so she wanted to be sure that I knew her life story, or as much of it as a couple of pages reveal. A lot of her life was between the lines, almost a hundred years. She was a World War II veteran, a W.A.A.F - a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force of the Royal Air Force- and met her American husband in England during the war. In Haines, she sold real estate and was a champion of the arts, especially performing arts, and acted in plays, and helped found the Arts Council. She was the DJ who signed KHNS on the air for the first time, and played Pachelbel's Canon as the very first tune broadcast over the airwaves in Haines, Klukwan and Skagway, and followed it with a full day of classical music, which is probably the only time KHNS has ever played eight hours of classics in a row.
Way back for my first Chilkat Valley News obituary over 20 years ago, the subject had also left a handwritten biographical note. Then, Nedra Waterman had given it to her daughters to share with me after she died. Maisie and Nedra were both in that early St. Michael's congregation and members of the Emblem club, and I remember after Nedra's burial, Maisie saying how much comfort she felt from the old service in the Book of Common Prayer, and how reciting the ancient and familiar prayers, reading the King James version of the Twenty Third Psalm made her feel better, because it reminded her that someday she too would join her friends and family and St. Michael and all the saints and the All the angels, up in heaven. Godspeed Miss Maisie. Godspeed.