Friday, March 26, 2010

Little Women

After my second daughter was born, I began to develop what I call my Little Women Complex--a desire to have four girls like the ones in Louisa May Alcott's semi-autobiographical novel. After the third one, I began to wish that I had started out naming them Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Although I never got that fourth daughter, I frequently commented to the girls that they were similar in birth order and personality to the Little Women brood. Danielle was Meg--the oldest, sweet and beautiful. Lydia, the next, was Jo--the writer, feisty, gangly until she grew into her height. Maura, I would say, was the perfect combination of Alcott's third sister, Beth--the peacemaker, the musician, the pet of the family--and Amy, the beautiful, the brat, the impetuous youngest sister.
"I don't want to be Beth," Maura would say, "She's the one that dies."
"That's okay," I would reassure her, "You won't be like her in that respect. You'll be like Amy, who got to travel the world."

3 comments:

SLY said...

I'm speechless Erin.

Dawn Padula said...

You know, it's incredible to hear you say this about Maura. I have taught, for a few years now, the aria from Mark Adamo's operatic adaptation of LITTLE WOMEN sung by Beth's character to Jo on her death bed. It's entitled, "Have Peace, Jo." I am teaching it this semester for the first time since Maura's death, and it makes me think of Maura... her stoicism despite her desperate situation... giving comfort to those around her when it was her that was in need of it.

You're right, though, she was definitely a perfect combination of Beth and Amy. Yes, she was the musician and the family pet who, like Beth, left this world far too early. But, like Amy, she had plans to see the world, and was a fiery, contagious spirit full of life...

I wanted you to know that she lives on in Washington state, by the way. I use the program notes from hers and Adam's junior recital to teach my students here how to do them correctly. :) She remains the model of perfection. I certainly do miss her everyday.

Thank you for continuing to write your thoughts. You are wonderful.

Sue G said...

Oh, Erin. She IS flying...high...soaring over the sadness in the world, reaching heights that cancer cannot touch, bounding effortlessly through the stratosphere with her inimitable grace and style and humor.

The only tether she has now are the strings that forever connect her to all the hearts that love her...the kind of tether that allows total freedom to fly without ever really leaving what's important.