Remembering Anna Jane....
Dear Laurie and Jenn,
Last week I went for a walk in Southern Massachusetts, in the Berkshire hills, not far from where Anna Jane lived. It was a hot and overcast day, but it cleared while we hiked, and I talked to my kids, Caroline (7) and Oscar (5), about Anna Jane. I explained to them what a godparent does - they are not necessarily blood relatives, but if you're lucky, a godparent will become a part of your family. In Anna Jane's case, she was present in my life from the very beginning of my life on Nantucket.
Anna Jane and I only visited every year or so, but she always remembered birthdays, anniversaries, graduation. She represented kindness, warmth and steady calm. When I was little, Anna Jane taught me to knit and sent me hand-made sweaters with my favorite colors (some of which I am keeping for my kids). As a trouble-making teenager, she spoiled me with care packages. While my wonderful mother was sending me practical items like stamps, envelopes, toothbrushes or socks, Anna Jane sent me books, sweets and silly knick knacks from Nantucket. Once she sent me a giant peanut butter cup - the size of a pie! - that temporarily made me the most popular kid in school.
She took her role as godmother seriously, even as an adult when her "duties" as a godmother had certainly expired. She offered wise advice to me on my college graduation, and again on my wedding day. The most recent visits we had were in Stockbridge, MA. I brought my kids to meet her at a playground there. True to her generous spirit, she brought gifts for them and somehow won them over within the first five minutes of meeting. She brought a calming presence that I hope I can carry on.
I'm so grateful to have Anna Jane as part of my family, and I loved her dearly for being a kind and trustworthy adult in my life. When I got married, she gave me one of Warren's paintings, which is now hanging in my bedroom. It's a welcome reminder of a loving woman who was a guiding presence through my entire life.
Sending you both light and love - Anna
Anna Stancioff, Fred Bierman, Caroline, and Oscar
Brooklyn, New York