Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Best Friend Maggie

This weekend is devoted to my best friend Maggie who is visiting us from her home in Massachusetts.  At 88 years of age, she is one of the most interesting, well-informed, cultured people I have ever known.  She is also one of my top cheerleaders.  Maggie owns more of my paintings than anyone else, with the exception POSSIBLY of my children. 

We have been friends since she and I studied at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and worked together in the Office of the President, then Admiral John F. Hines.  It was he who nicknamed Marguerite "Maggie" years ago; he said her name was just too long.  Nowadays, the only people who call her Maggie are my family and friends. 

I finished my degree first and became a high school English teacher.  She finished a couple years later and became an English teacher too.  After teaching many years, she went on to become the librarian at Chicopee Comprehensive High School in Chicopee, Massachusetts.  She had been an Air Force wife during World War II.  An amazing woman, when I met Maggie, she was a single mother with two boys a couple years younger than I; she was working two jobs to support them and going to college at the same time! 

Maggie and I are always discussing something--literature, most often--or art, or politics, or life, or death, or religion, or poetry.  When we are together, we savor poetry the way others might savor fine wine.  You can tell in the photo above that she and I are deep into solving one of the world's problems or another.

I remember the only art class I took in college.  It was Art Appreciation, taught by Professor Gilman Randall, who also taught mathematics courses.  I think it was a required course, but perhaps not, but we both took his class.  I took the course evenings, so I could work as many hours as possible, since I was putting myself through college (with the help of several scholarships).  Maggie and I both remember Professor Randall with great fondness.  He and Jansen are responsible for much of my education in the history of art. 

(You too can own a copy of H. W. Jansen's HISTORY OF ART; I saw it on yesterday for only $149!  You'll know how ancient I am when I tell you that the price I paid for my copy was $9.95!) 

It doesn't take much to make us laugh.  The day I took these photos was shortly after I had upgraded my cellphone to a Droid.  I so much wanted to get a picture of the two of us together, but this was the best I could do.  As most people who know me well will tell you,  a technological wizard I am not.  I'm thrilled I even got one WHOLE eye in the picture frame. 

As you can see from the picture below, it wasn't for lack of trying that I didn't succeed at squeezing us both in.  But you do get a glimpse between our heads of a pastel I did several years ago when we were vacationing in Maine. The morning of our departure, a luna moth graced the doorway.  I had to stop packing up to capture the beauty of the luna before it flew off.  I think it had come to say goodbye and wish us God speed.

Yesterday, Maggie and I stopped in at Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art, so she could get her first view of "my" new gallery (ownership of which I admit to sharing with 32 other artists). She took her time enjoying each piece displayed on our main floor. We're on our way now to "do" the lower level.

Despite our age difference, we have been the best of friends for 45 years!  What a blessing she has been in my life.  I am so thankful,  in this season of Thanksgiving, for Marguerite Fay Decker--my best friend!


Jane said...

What a wonderful friendship the two of you have! You are a blessing to each other and may you both enjoy many more years of love, laughter and sharing!

Hélène GLEHEN said...


It is a friendship you must treasure. It is not given to everybody to have this kind of friendship which last since 45 years.

Your friend does not look 88 years old at all. PLease compliment her for me.

I wish you a very pleasant days with your friend Maggie.

Oh and you are very lucky to be one of the owners of this wonderful new gallery. I imagine it is very gratifying to meet all those artists...


Joan Cole said...

Thank you so much, Jane. Maggie has been a blessing in my life for years--as have YOU. She has you beat by a few years though! :-) ~Joan

Joan Cole said...

Dear Helene,

Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I have been blessed with Maggie's friendship all these many years. I am SO FORTUNATE! I just wish you lived close enough to meet her. I'm afraid Paris is a wee bit far for us to go!

And I am also so fortunate to be part of the Maple & Main Gallery. The other artists are an inspiration to me. Each has his/her own style; ALL are IMPRESSIVE! I am so honored to have my pieces hanging with theirs.

Happy painting, Helene!