Soul of a Traveler pg 3

As she traveled across the channel on her first trip to Holland, Barbara became pals with a fine Dutch youth of 22. They became inseparable. He told her about his countr; pointed out to her, as we neared the coast, the first dykes and windmills. Throughout Holland she met and played with the Dutch youngsters in the fields.  Their play was an unconscious exchange; a seed of internationalism.  As they touched her life with beauty, so did she touch theirs. And Barbara lives today in the hearts of these friends of hers across the sea.

There was a nursery school in London; then later, a glorious two months spent at Kittiwake – a children’s school on the English south toast near Bexhill. Those two months were perhaps the climax of Barbara’s life.. The whole, glorious English countryside to romp ever; excursions to the south coast beaches; most important of all, an individual garden plot which it was her duty to tend each day.

But as always it was the people that counted most. There were sweet little refugee children from Germany and Czechoslovakia, There was an upstanding young boy from India.    There were fine little English youngsters. And among this group, Barbara, was the happy little girl from America.  While we were gone, Barbara acted as a mother to her little sister, Adrienne.

Mrs. Silcock, owner of the school, was the loveliest woman whom Barbara ever met. At Kittiwake Barbara’s spirit soared high. Again there was beauty to give and  to receive. And today Barbara is living in the hearts of these friends of hers across the sea.

Her last big trip was to Hawaii, and we can never forget the Joy of our weeks at Waikiki.  Swims three times a day in the soft semi-tropic Pacific;excursions to the pineapple fields and through the pineapple factory; grand trips around the island. Best of all, Manoa Valley, with rainbows- arcs of promise -.hanging constantly above it.  This    was her favorite spot,  But as always, her greatest    joy was the friends she met- little Hawaiian youngstets, or Chinese, or Germans, or American boys and girls.

This past Christmas we spent with Barbara in a Hollywood apartment where she was taking treatments. It was the most transcendentally beautiful Christmas which any of us has ever spent.  Too many great occasions are dulled in the belief that many more such joys are coming.    This Christmas of ours was precious beyond anything which had ever been. because it would be the last of its kind.

A window of our Hollywood apartment looked out toward a high hill to the north. Barbara often looked up at that hill and would say; “Mommy,I wish I knew what was on the other side, Can we go to the top of it someday?’

On the morning that we left to bring her home, the rain was falling hard from an overcast sky. Barbara was bundled into the car. “Mommy,” she said,”can’t we go to the too of the hill now?”

And we went.    Following steep, crooked, slippery roads we wound our way up and around, until we could look out and see what lay on the other side.

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