pippa’s papers and the art of forgiveness

i was extremely nervous about seeing f2fb friend #167 meg kafalas for two reasons.  i had flown into new york the day before and from there took the acela express amtrak train.  i hadn’t seen her in twenty years.  what if i didn’t recognize her?

but as the escalator wafted me up to the providence, rhode island station waiting room, i saw a diminutive woman.  sleek black hair.  bright red lipstick.  capri pants and a sweater worn with the sort of chic that only the french and my cousin meg kafalas could pull off. 

“you look exactly the same,”  i said.  well, except that she wore adorable needlepoint slippers instead of her once favorite black ribbon ferragamos.


we got in her car and she gave me a tour of providence which was a decidedly short tour because providence is a town decidedly short on real estate.  we decamped to her store pippa’s papers which sells chic stationery–it’s motto is “your own initials are enough” and you can shop there at pippaspapers.com

we had first met twenty five years ago when i found my biological father justin (f2fb friend #30) and my grandfather fritz leiber.  i was very interested in meeting every family member, so fritz gave me the address of a cousin betty who lived in chicago.  i wrote to her.  i got a call from her daughter meg. .  . . .

“hi, i’m your second cousin once removed,” she said.  “and i have some bad news.  you wrote to my mother, but she died before the letter was delivered.”

meg’s mother and father died within months of each other.  we became close but i little realized how their deaths devastated her.  to me and to others, she presented a “facebook profile picture” that was confident, cheerful and chic.  but when she was alone, she struggled.  at one point, she went away and we lost touch.  it was only because of facebook that we came together.

i apologized to her at lunch for not having been more help.  i always thought she didn’t need any.  i never saw beyond her profile picture.  and she forgave me with a generous heart.  she has become the very happy person she was meant to be.  nobody gets to jump very high if their feet haven’t hit the floor.

then we went to pick out stationery.  i have a lot of thank you notes to write–to people who have been so kind to see me, people who have encouraged me, people who have sympathized when i have faltered. 

every single day this year, i have had 1) a technical problem and 2) a geography lesson.  my technical problem is i can’t upload pictures i took of rhode island so just imagine a charming quaint little state and several pictures of meg and me.  my geography lesson?  that’s what i call it when i get lost. 

let’s see me make it from rhode island to boston and then to new york–

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