Peter and I cultivated the seeds of our friendship of excellence that began to take root in September of 1954. We are two bodies in one soul, in the words of Aristotle. Aristotle may not move you to tears and give you soul-bumps the way he personally inspires me, but because he is my book friend, and has been since 1959, he is a formidable presence in my soul, permeating my consciousness.
On May 18, 1974, Peter and I were married, 20 years after our fateful meeting when I was thirteen and he was thirty-two. Our friendship enriched and enlightened our 60 years, 40 of them married. Our eternal commitment to remain as one soul in two bodies began in Paris on the most memorable, romantic and beautiful honeymoon imaginable. We quite literally swept each other off our feet!
Love never dies; love transcends.
I will celebrate our anniversary with awe-inspiring memories of our inseparable attraction, devotion and mutually respected sacred values. Peter is always present with me, wherever I am, whatever I am experiencing. On our forty-sixth wedding anniversary, I will honor our vows to always love each other and be one.
As the French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in the classic The Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” I have no choice but to obey my heart. In the face of overpowering mystery, you don’t dare disobey.
Now that I am physically living alone, I’m struck by how much I treasure all of Peter’s loving possessions. They are all symbols of deeper meaning. By the time he died and, in his words, “went to his reward,” I pretty well knew the stories behind the objects of his desire. “Three,” our third floor, is the sacred place that houses most of his memorabilia, making my daily meditation up the narrow steps a preparation to enter a place of reverence. Taking in the best view of the harbor, I can open my heart so wide and feel such a loving presence as I putter about, making intriguing connections about his past life and remembering all our shared experiences.
Peter’s clock collection reminds me of the writing on the Chinese wall—“It’s later than you think”—a saying that held great importance in his life. A friend’s garden here on Main Street has a sundial with the quote, “Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, Time stays, we go.”
I adore the tingling sensation that I feel as the different clocks’ chimes reverberate with a physical presence. Peter’s main thrust in life was always to live the best quality of days under all circumstances; he never believed tomorrow’s quantity will necessarily add to the integrity of the present. He was a shining example of using up every ounce of positivity for the sure moment at hand.
Peter collected bells, books, antique boxes, blue “poison” bottles (and anything blue and white), framed photographs of his mentors, friends and family, prints of artists’ paintings from exhibition catalogs and leather scrapbooks full of pictures and letters. He regularly had books bound and labeled and also collected rare leather-bound books. I’m a witness to his generosity, as he gave them away to loved ones he knew would appreciate their emotional as well as intellectual value. I am the recipient of many of my favorite authors’ first editions, some dating back to 1867, as well as beautifully bound volumes from Emerson, Thoreau, Samuel Johnson, Montaigne, Emily Dickinson, D.H. Lawrence and Cicero. I even have a beautiful leather-bound first edition of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Her epigraph touches me, as I know it made Peter grin: “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” —Charles Lamb.