Spring on Vashon Island
Hello 'Pussy' it's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Pippi Longstocking:
The FBI director has now confirmed: Pres Obama wiretapping Trump Tower did not happen. You need to retract your claim immediately.
Should I remain in bed, leave my country or fight against the dragon?
( see also the story by Wolfgang Hampel,
' Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say ' )
Betty and Don MacDonald in Hollywood
Betty MacDonald's mother Sydney with grandchild Alison Beck
Betty MacDonald fan club fans,
come on dearest Betty MacDonald fan club fans.
There are only a few days left.
Pick Betty MacDonald's favourite flower, please and send a mail to our email-address.
It's not too difficult to answer this question.
Betty MacDonald mentioned her favourite flower in several letters and in one of her books.
Tell us Betty MacDonald's favourite flower, please.
Deadline: March 25, 2016
You can join
Thank you so much in advance for your support and interest.
If you join Betty MacDonald fan club blog as a follower during March you'll receive a very special Betty MacDonald fan club Welcome gift.
Send your email-address to our contact address, please.
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is back and his fans are delighted.
We are looking for two persons:
a wonderful friend of Betty MacDonald who was born in March and a little girl. ( see photos below )
Tell us the names please and you might be the winner of a Betty MacDonald documentary.
Betty MacDonald fan club birthday contest is really great.
Thank you so much for your interest and support.
We'll have several International Betty MacDonald fan club events in 2017.
You'll enjoy it very much.
Join us in voting for your favourite city, please.
You can see brilliant Brad Craft.
Seems I'm in this for a hot second. I remember being asked to participate one day on the street in front of the bookstore where I work. I didn't think to ask what it was for, or even so much as the name of the song or the band. Didn't want to be late coming back from lunch. Silly bugger. The very nice young woman with the green hair also featured herein happens to work at Magus Books. She mentioned she'd seen me. Told me the name of the band, and here we are.
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Monica Sone and other Betty MacDonald fan club honor members will be included in Wolfgang Hampel's new project 'Vita Magica'.
March is a very exciting month for Betty MacDonald fan club fans with several contests for example Betty MacDonald fan club birthday contest.
Don't miss Betty MacDonald fan club birthday contest, please.
Betty MacDonald fan club birthday card contest is really a great idea.
The winner who sent the best and most original birthday card will be Honor guest of the next International Betty MacDonald fan club event.
Deadline: March 24, 2017
A Betty MacDonald fan club birthday exhibit with many very special birthday cards by Betty MacDonald's family and friends.
You'll be able to see wonderful cards for Betty MacDonald with very touching messages for example by her daughter Joan MacDonald Keil or her good friend Monica Sone.
There will be a Betty MacDonald fan club birthday event DVD available.
We'll have several International Betty MacDonald fan club events in 2017.
We got very interesting new info for updated Betty MacDonald biography.
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald fan club research team are going to include all these new details and info in updated Betty MacDonald biography.
More info in Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter March.
If you'd like to join Betty MacDonald fan club you only have to press the join button on Betty MacDonald fan club blog.
New Betty MacDonald fan club fans will receive a special Betty MacDonald fan club Welcome gift during March.
Send us your email address to our contact address, please.
Wolfgang Hampel's Vita Magica February was outstanding and so was Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen
Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald fan club research team are working on an updated Betty MacDonald biography.
This very new Betty MacDonald biography includes all the results we got during a very successful Betty MacDonald fan club research which started in 1983.
You'll be able to find unique Betty MacDonald treasures in our Betty MacDonald biography.
Betty MacDonald biography includes for example interviews with Betty MacDonald, her family and friends.
We got many letters by Betty MacDonald and other family members even very important original ones.
Our goal is to publish a Betty MacDonald biography that shows all the details of Betty MacDonald's life and work but also to present her fascinating siblings.
Dear Betty MacDonald fan club fans let us know please what you are interested most in a future Betty MacDonald biography.
Do you prefer an e-book or a so called real book?
Wolfgang Hampel and Friends of Vita Magica visited Minister of Science of Baden-Württemberg, Theresia Bauer in Stuttgart.
They visited Landtag and had a great time there.
Do you have any books by Betty MacDonald and Mary Bard Jensen with funny or interesting dedications?
If so would you be so kind to share them?
Our next Betty MacDonald fan club project is a collection of these unique dedications.
If you share your dedication from your Betty MacDonald - and Mary Bard Jensen collection you might be the winner of our new Betty MacDonald fan club items.
Thank you so much in advance for your support.
Thank you so much for sending us your favourite Betty MacDonald quote.
We are so glad that our beloved Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is back.
New Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many new interviews.
Alison Bard Burnett and other Betty MacDonald fan club honor members will be included in Wolfgang Hampel's fascinating project Vita Magica.
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel interviewed Betty MacDonald's daughter Joan MacDonald Keil and her husband Jerry Keil.
This interview will be published for the first time ever.
New Betty MacDonald documentary will be very interesting with many interviews never published before.
We adore Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli
Thank you so much for sharing this witty memories with us.
Wolfgang Hampel's literary event Vita Magica is very fascinating because he is going to include Betty MacDonald, other members of the Bard family and Betty MacDonald fan club honor members.
It's simply great to read Wolfgang Hampel's new very well researched stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett, Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others.
Linde Lund and many fans from all over the world adore this funny sketch by Wolfgang Hampel very much although our German isn't the best.
I won't ever forget the way Wolfgang Hampel is shouting ' Brexit '.
Don't miss it, please.
It's simply great!
You can hear that Wolfgang Hampel got an outstandig voice.
He presented one of Linde Lund's favourite songs ' Try to remember ' like a professional singer.
Thanks a million!
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli and our 'Italian Betty MacDonald' - Betty MacDonald fan club honor member author and artist Letizia Mancino belong to the most popular Betty MacDonald fan club teams in our history.
Their many devoted fans are waiting for a new Mr. Tigerli adventure.
Letizia Mancino's magical Betty MacDonald Gallery is a special gift for Betty MacDonald fan club fans from all over the world.
Don't miss Brad Craft's 'More friends', please.
Betty MacDonald's very beautiful Vashon Island is one of my favourites.
I agree with Betty in this very witty Betty MacDonald story Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say by Wolfgang Hampel.
I can't imagine to live in a country with him as so-called elected President although there are very good reasons to remain there to fight against these brainless politics.
Don't miss these very interesting articles below, please.
My favorite is Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, a person you have probably never heard of even though he’s been in Congress since the 1980s and is currently head of the prestigious Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
I think the future dinosaur flatulence will be the behaviour of 'Pussy' and his very strange government.
Poor World! Poor America!
Don't miss these very interesting articles below, please.
The most difficult case in Mrs.Piggle-Wiggle's career
Hello 'Pussy', this is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
You took calls from foreign leaders on unsecured phone lines, without consultung the State Department. We have to change your silly behaviour with a new Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cure. I know you are the most difficult case in my career - but we have to try everything.......................
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel sent his brilliant thoughts. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang!
Hi Libi, nice to meet you. Can you feel it?
I'm the most powerful leader in the world.
Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say
Copyright 2016 by Wolfgang Hampel
All rights reserved
Betty MacDonald was sitting on her egg-shaped cloud and listened to a rather strange guy.
He said to his friends: So sorry to keep you waiting. Very complicated business! Very complicated!
Betty said: Obviously much too complicated for you old toupee!
Besides him ( by the way the First Lady's place ) his 10 year old son was bored to death and listened to this 'exciting' victory speech.
The old man could be his great-grandfather.
The boy was very tired and thought: I don't know what this old guy is talking about. Come on and finish it, please. I'd like to go to bed.
Dear 'great-grandfather' continued and praised the Democratic candidate.
He congratulated her and her family for a very strong campaign although he wanted to put her in jail.
He always called her the most corrupt person ever and repeated it over and over again in the fashion of a Tibetan prayer wheel.
She is so corrupt. She is so corrupt. Do you know how corrupt she is?
Betty MacDonald couldn't believe it when he said: She has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.
Afterwards old toupee praised his parents, wife, children, siblings and friends.
He asked the same question like a parrot all the time:
Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?
I know you are here!
Betty MacDonald answered: No Pussy they are not! They left the country.
They immigrated to Canada because they are very much afraid of the future in the U.S.A. with you as their leader like the majority of all so-called more or less normal citizens.
By the way keep your finger far away from the pussies and the Red Button, please.
I'm going to fly with my egg-shaped cloud to Canada within a minute too.
Away - away - there is nothing more to say!
Daniel Mount wrote a great article about Betty MacDonald and her garden.
We hope you'll enjoy it very much.
I adore Mount Rainier and Betty MacDonald's outstanding descriptions
Can you remember in which book you can find it?
If so let us know, please and you might be the next Betty MacDonald fan club contest winner.
I hope we'll be able to read Wolfgang Hampel's new very well researched stories about Betty MacDonald, Robert Eugene Heskett, Donald Chauncey MacDonald, Darsie Bard, Sydney Bard, Gammy, Alison Bard Burnett, Darsie Beck, Mary Bard Jensen, Clyde Reynolds Jensen, Sydney Cleveland Bard, Mary Alice Bard, Dorothea DeDe Goldsmith, Madge Baldwin, Don Woodfin, Mike Gordon, Ma and Pa Kettle, Nancy and Plum, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and others - very soon.
It' s such a pleasure to read them.
Let's go to magical Betty MacDonald's Vashon Island.
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund and Betty MacDonald fan club research team share their recent Betty MacDonald fan club research results.
Congratulations! They found the most interesting and important info for Wolfgang Hampel's oustanding Betty MacDonald biography.
I enjoy Bradley Craft's story very much.
Don't miss our Betty MacDonald fan club contests, please.
You can win a never published before Alison Bard Burnett interview by Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel.
This CD is a golden treasure because Betty MacDonald's very witty sister Alison Bard Burnett shares unique stories about Betty MacDonald, Mary Bard Jensen, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Nancy and Plum.
Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and Betty MacDonald interviews have fans in 40 countries. I'm one of their many devoted fans.
Many Betty MacDonald - and Wolfgang Hampel fans are very interested in a Wolfgang Hampel CD and DVD with his very funny poems and stories.
We are going to publish new Betty MacDonald essays on Betty MacDonald's gardens and nature in Washington State.
Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli is beloved all over the World.
We are so happy that our 'Casanova' is back.
Another rare episode (from March 21 1952) of the short-lived comedy soap opera, "The Egg and I," based on best selling book by Betty MacDonald which also became a popular film.
The series premiered on September 3, 1951, the same day as "Search for Tomorrow," and ended on August 1, 1952.
Although it did well in the ratings, it had difficulty attracting a steady sponsor. This episode features Betty Lynn (later known for her work on "The Andy Griffith Show") as Betty MacDonald, John Craven as Bob MacDonald, Doris Rich as Ma Kettle, and Frank Twedell as Pa Kettle.
Betty MacDonald fan club exhibition will be fascinating with the international book editions and letters by Betty MacDonald.
I can't wait to see the new Betty MacDonald documentary.
Enjoy a great breakfast at the bookstore with Brad and Nick, please.
you can join
Vita Magica Betty MacDonald event with Wolfgang Hampel, Thomas Bödigheimer and Friedrich von Hoheneichen
Betty MacDonald forum
Wolfgang Hampel - LinkFang ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I
Wolfgang Hampel - Academic ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - cyclopaedia.net ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - DBpedia ( English / German )
Wolfgang Hampel - people check ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Memim ( English )
Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )
Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )
Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )
Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)
Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University
Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel
Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD
Betty MacDonald fan club items
Betty MacDonald fan club items - comments
Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I
Betty MacDonald fan club groups
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund
Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Greta Larson
Betty MacDonald fan club fan Heiderose Teynor
Rita Knobel Ulrich - Islam in Germany - a very interesting ZDF ( 2nd German Television ) documentary with English subtitles
Comey Confirms F.B.I. Investigation of Russian Election Interference, Links to Trump Campaign
Comey confirms F.B.I. investigation into Russian election interference
F.B.I. director says there’s ‘no information’ to support Trump wiretapping charge
Comey revelation raises questions about Clinton email inquiry
McCarthyism? Um, no.
But unsubstantiated charges were leveled.
Nunes: ‘There was not a physical wiretap of Trump Tower’
Schiff: Collusion with Russia would be ‘most shocking betrayals of our democracy’
It's what Trump didn't say with Merkel that worries Europe: Former US ambassador to NATO
"If you were listening for U.S. support for the EU, you didn't hear it from President Trump. Europeans are worried about that," Burns said in an interview with "Power Lunch" on Friday.
"He's the first American president since Truman to be so negative about the project of building European unity. That's a problem."
During the meeting between the two world leaders on Friday, Trump pressed Merkel hard on North Atlantic Treaty commitments, a senior administration official told NBC News.
"I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel our strong support for NATO, as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense," Trump said at a joint White House press conference following the meeting.
Merkel said she was "gratified to know" how "important" Trump feels NATO is.
"It is the most successful security alliance that the world has ever seen. It has kept Europe at peace. It has helped outside of that theater as well," she told "Power Lunch."
And the U.S. can't discount the fact that Europe is critical to trade and the development of jobs in the U.S., she added.
"We cannot neglect the reality that Germany has created a lot of jobs in America and that's what President Trump says he's all about," said Sherman, now a senior counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group.
Burns, now a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, thinks the most important thing to come from the meeting is the fact that the two leaders establish some measure of familiarity and trust.
"Angela Merkel is going to be his most important partner on a variety of economic, political and strategic issues, most notably the effort to contain Vladimir Putin," he said.
— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.
But with the exception of their ability to effect profound change upon the western world, President Donald Trump and Angela Merkel have little in common.
He is flamboyant, impetuous and prone to rhetoric which sets alarm bells ringing in Berlin. She is reserved, pragmatic and lingers over decisions.
He lambasted her open door refugee policy. She opposed his travel ban.
But the relationship they strike is likely to have lasting consequences for the future of Europe - and beyond.
Down to businessMrs Merkel, who is said to have been studying Mr Trump's speeches and even an old interview with Playboy magazine, appears to have concluded that the way to the president's heart is through business.
She is taking the chief executives of BMW and Siemens and the manufacturer Schaeffer along with her.
Together they are expected to reinforce the mutual benefits of the transatlantic economic relationship. They are expected to emphasise that 810,000 people are directly employed by German companies in the US.The chancellor and chief executives will need to talk tough. President Trump has already hinted at higher import taxes for countries such as Germany that have a trade surplus over America.
What they said about each other:
- "I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals. Nobody even knows where they come from. So I think she made a catastrophic mistake, very bad mistake," Donald Trump, 16 January 2017, The Times
- "I told you @Time Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favourite. They picked person who is ruining Germany," Donald Trump tweet, 9 December 2015
- "Germany and America are bound by their values: democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position. On the basis of these values I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, close co-operation," Angela Merkel, 9 November 2016
More on Trump and Merkel:
- Merkel rejects Trump adviser euro claim
- Merkel's 'catastrophic mistake' on immigrants
- Germany shivers in icy blast from US
For talks that will last all of two hours there is a lot on the agenda.
Nato, the Middle East and international terror, for a start. Germany's defence spending is currently 1.23% of GDP, but Mrs Merkel is expected to reassure President Trump of its existing commitment to increase that gradually to Nato's 2% target.
And there's a lot to disagree on.
On climate change, German will insist on the importance of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, while Mr Trump's support for the Paris climate deal is unclear.
Germany is also seeking a unified response to Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine and a commitment to sanctions if the terms of the Minsk ceasefire agreement are not met.
Expectations in Berlin are not high. It is unlikely that the Merkel-Trump pairing will replicate the warm and trusting political alliance between the chancellor and President Obama, which survived the revelation that the Americans had listened in to Mrs Merkel's phone calls. It is also election year for the chancellor.
Merkel's 'instruction mode'Donald Trump is deeply unpopular among Germans. A recent poll for the national broadcaster found that trust in the US under his administration had fallen to a new low and was on a par with Vladimir Putin's Russia.
Angela Merkel needs to walk a diplomatic tightrope. She has to build a working relationship with Mr Trump without appearing to sacrifice her own values or disappoint those keen to cast her as the West's last defender of those democratic ideals.
She has already reminded Mr Trump of his obligation to common values and explained the Geneva Conventions to him.
Mrs Merkel has made it clear that she is still in instruction mode, stating her intention to explain to Mr Trump "that for us nationality and membership of the EU are two sides of the same coin".
Theresa May aside, Mrs Merkel is the first EU leader to meet with America's new president, who supports the UK's decision to leave the union. She will be keen to emphasise the importance she attaches to holding the fragile European project together.
This may be billed as a getting-to-know-you visit, and as Angela Merkel put it: "It's better to talk with than about someone."
But governments around the world will be watching closely for clues as to how America's relationship with Germany and with Europe is likely to evolve. And what that means for the wider world.
In the Garden: A Welcome Sign of Spring
By Charles Kidder
Betty MacDonald fan club fans,
we share a very special gift by beloved and very popular Betty MacDonald Fan Club Honor member Letizia Mancino.
We know you'll enjoy it as much as we do.
Thanks a Million, dear Letizia Mancino.
You are an outstanding writer and artist.
We are so proud and happy to have you with us.
Letizia writes: One should not underestimate Wolfgang Hampel’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty MacDonald’s friends.
We agree. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang Hampel for doing this. You founded Betty MacDonald Fan Club with four members.
Now we have members in 40 countries around the world. A dream came true.
Mary Holmes did an excellent job in translating this great story.
Thank you so much dear Mary Holmes.
We are really very grateful.
All the best to Letizia, Wolfgang and Mary and to all Betty MacDonald Fan Club fans from all over the world!
Following in Betty’s footsteps in Seattle:
or some small talk with Betty
Copyright 2011/2016 by Letizia Mancino
All rights reserved
translated by Mary Holmes
We were going to Canada in the summer. “When we are in Edmonton”, I said to Christoph Cremer, “let’s make a quick trip to Seattle”. And that’s how it happened. At Edmonton Airport we climbed into a plane and two hours later we landed in the city where Betty had lived. I was so happy to be in Seattle at last and to be able to trace Betty’s tracks!
Wolfgang Hampel had told Betty’s friends about our arrival.
They were happy to plan a small marathon through the town and it’s surroundings with us. We only had a few days free. One should not underestimate Wolfgang’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty’s friends, even though it was holiday time. E-mails flew backwards and forwards between Heidelberg and Seattle, and soon a well prepared itinerary was ready for us. Shortly before my departure Wolfgang handed me several parcels, presents for Betty MacDonald's friends. I rushed to pack the heavy gifts in my luggage but because of the extra weight had to throw out a pair of pajamas!
After we had landed we took a taxi to the Hotel in downtown Seattle. I was so curious to see everything. I turned my head in all directions like one of the hungry hens from Betty’s farm searching for food! Fortunately it was quite a short journey otherwise I would have lost my head like a loose screw!
Our hotel room was on the 22nd floor and looked directly out onto the 16-lane highway. There might have been even more than 16 but it made me too giddy to count! It was like a glimpse of hell! “And is this Seattle?” I asked myself. I was horrified! The cars racing by were enough to drive one mad. The traffic roared by day and night.
We immediately contacted Betty MacDonald's friends and let them know we had arrived and they confirmed the times when we should see them.
On the next morning I planned my first excursion tracing Betty’s tracks. I spread out the map of Seattle. “Oh dear” I realized “the Olympic Peninsula is much too far away for me to get there.”
Betty nodded to me! “Very difficult, Letizia, without a car.”
“But I so much wanted to see your chicken farm”
“My chickens are no longer there and you can admire the mountains from a distance”
But I wanted to go there. I left the hotel and walked to the waterfront where the State Ferry terminal is. Mamma mia, the streets in Seattle are so steep! I couldn’t prevent my feet from running down the hill. Why hadn’t I asked for brakes to be fixed on my shoes? I looked at the drivers. How incredibly good they must be to accelerate away from the red traffic lights. The people were walking uphill towards me as briskly as agile salmon. Good heavens, these Americans! I tried to keep my balance. The force of gravity is relentless. I grasped hold of objects where I could and staggered down.
In Canada a friend had warned me that in Seattle I would see a lot of people with crutches.
Betty laughed. “ It’s not surprising, Letizia, walking salmon don’t fall directly into the soft mouth of a bear!”
“ Betty, stop making these gruesome remarks. We are not in Firlands!”
I went further. Like a small deranged ant at the foot of a palace monster I came to a tunnel. The noise was unbearable. On the motorway, “The Alaskan Way Viaduct”, cars, busses and trucks were driving at the speed of light right over my head. They puffed out their poisonous gas into the open balconies and cultivated terraces of the luxurious sky- scrapers without a thought in the world. America! You are crazy!
“Betty, are all people in Seattle deaf? Or is it perhaps a privilege for wealthy people to be able to enjoy having cars so near to their eyes and noses to save them from boredom?”
“When the fog democratically allows everything to disappear into nothing, it makes a bit of a change, Letizia”
“ Your irony is incorrigible, Betty, but tell me, Seattle is meant to be a beautiful city, But where?”
I had at last reached the State Ferry terminal.
“No Madam, the ferry for Vashon Island doesn’t start from here,” one of the men in the ticket office tells me. ”Take a buss and go to the ferry terminal in West Seattle.”
Betty explained to me “The island lies in Puget Sound and not in Elliott Bay! It is opposite the airport. You must have seen it when you were landing!”
“Betty, when I am landing I shut my eyes and pray!”
It’s time for lunch. The weather is beautiful and warm. Who said to me that it always rains here?
“Sure to be some envious man who wanted to frighten you away from coming to Seattle. The city is really beautiful, you’ll see. Stay by the waterfront, choose the best restaurant with a view of Elliott Bay and enjoy it.”
“Thank you Betty!”
I find a table on the terrace of “Elliott’s Oyster House”. The view of the island is wonderful. It lies quietly in the sun like a green fleecy cushion on the blue water.
Betty plays with my words:
“Vashon Island is a big cushion, even bigger than Bainbridge which you see in front of your eyes, Letizia. The islands look similar. They have well kept houses and beautiful gardens”.
I relax during this introduction, “Bainbridge” you are Vashon Island, and order a mineral water.
“At one time the hotel belonging to the parents of Monica Sone stood on the waterfront.”
“Oh, of your friend Kimi!” Unfortunately I forget to ask Betty exactly where it was.
My mind wanders and I think of my mountain hike back to the hotel! “Why is there no donkey for tourists?” Betty laughs:
“I’m sure you can walk back to the hotel. “Letizia can do everything.””
“Yes, Betty, I am my own donkey!”
But I don’t remember that San Francisco is so steep. It doesn’t matter, I sit and wait. The waiter comes and brings me the menu. I almost fall off my chair!
“ What, you have geoduck on the menu! I have to try it” (I confess I hate the look of geoduck meat. Betty’s recipe with the pieces made me feel quite sick – I must try Betty’s favourite dish!)
“Proof that you love me!” said Betty enthusiastically “ Isn’t the way to the heart through the stomach?”
I order the geoduck. The waiter looks at me. He would have liked to recommend oysters.
“Geoduck no good for you!”
Had he perhaps read my deepest thoughts? Fate! Then no geoduck. “No good for me.”
“Neither geoduck nor tuberculosis in Seattle” whispered Betty in my ear!
“Oh Betty, my best friend, you take such good care of me!”
I order salmon with salad.
“Which salmon? Those that swim in water or those that run through Seattle?”
“Betty, I believe you want me to have a taste of your black humour.”
“Enjoy it then, Letizia.”
During lunch we talked about tuberculosis, and that quite spoilt our appetite.
“Have you read my book “The Plague and I”?”
“Oh Betty, I’ve started to read it twice but both times I felt so sad I had to stop again!”
“But why?” asked Betty “Nearly everybody has tuberculosis! I recovered very quickly and put on 20 pounds! There was no talk of me wasting away! What did you think of my jokes in the book?”
“Those would have been a good reason for choosing another sanitorium. I would have been afraid of becoming a victim of your humour! You would have certainly given me a nickname! You always thought up such amusing names!” Betty laughed.
“You’re right. I would have called you “Roman nose”. I would have said to Urbi and Orbi “ Early this morning “Roman nose” was brought here. She speaks broken English, doesn’t eat geoduck but she does love cats.”
“Oh Betty, I would have felt so ashamed to cough. To cough in your presence, how embarrassing! You would have talked about how I coughed, how many coughs!”
“It depends on that “how”, Letizia!”
“Please, leave Goethe quotations out of it. You have certainly learnt from the Indians how to differentiate between noises. It’s incredible how you can distinguish between so many sorts of cough! At least 10!”
”And also your descriptions of the patients and the nurses were pitiless. An artistic revenge! The smallest pimple on their face didn’t escape your notice! Amazing.”
“ I was also pitiless to myself. Don’t forget my irony against myself!”
Betty was silent. She was thinking about Kimi, the “Princess” from Japan! No, she had only written good things about her best friend, Monica Sone, in her book “The Plague and I”. A deep friendship had started in the hospital. The pearl that developed from the illness.
“Isn’t it wonderful, Betty, that an unknown seed can make its way into a mollusk in the sea and develop into a beautiful jewel?” Betty is paying attention.
“Betty, the friendship between you and Monica reminds me of Goethe’s poem “Gingo-Biloba”. You must know it?” Betty nods and I begin to recite it:
The leaf of this Eastern tree
Which has been entrusted to my garden
Offers a feast of secret significance,
For the edification of the initiate.
Is it one living thing.
That has become divided within itself?
Are these two who have chosen each other,
So that we know them as one?
The friendship with Monica is like the wonderful gingo-biloba leaf, the tree from the east. Betty was touched. There was a deep feeling of trust between us.
“Our friendship never broke up, partly because she was in distress, endangered by the deadly illness. We understood and supplemented each other. We were like one lung with two lobes, one from the east and one from the west!”
“A beautiful picture, Betty. You were like two red gingo-biloba leaves!”
Betty was sad and said ” Monica, although Japanese, before she really knew me felt she was also an American. But she was interned in America, Letizia, during the second world war. Isn’t that terrible?”
“Betty, I never knew her personally. I have only seen her on a video, but what dignity in her face, and she speaks and moves so gracefully!”
“Fate could not change her”
“Yes, Betty, like the gingo-biloba tree in Hiroshima. It was the only tree that blossomed again after the atom bomb!”
The bill came and I paid at once. In America one is urged away from the table when one has finished eating. If one wants to go on chatting one has to order something else.
“That’s why all those people gossiping at the tables are so fat!” Betty remarks. “Haven’t you seen how many massively obese people walk around in the streets of America. Like dustbins that have never been emptied!” With this typically unsentimental remark Betty ended our conversation.
Ciao! I so enjoyed the talk; the humour, the irony and the empathy. I waved to her and now I too felt like moving! I take a lovely walk along the waterfront.
Now I am back in Heidelberg and when I think about how Betty’s “Princessin” left this world on September 5th and that in August I was speaking about her with Betty in Seattle I feel very sad. The readers who knew her well (we feel that every author and hero of a book is nearer to us than our fleeting neighbours next door) yes we, who thought of her as immortal, cannot believe that even she would die after 92 years. How unforeseen and unexpected that her death should come four days after her birthday on September 1th. On September 5th I was on my way to Turkey, once again in seventh heaven, looking back on the unforgettable days in Seattle. I was flying from west to east towards the rising sun.
Is this Mr. Tigerli?