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Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

Miss O'Keeffe

Miss O'Keeffe - Christine Taylor Patten, Alvaro Cardona-Hine If you live into your 90's, how and where would you like to live? If you go blind, who will take care of you? If you need help, who will you rely on? Who will you trust and who will you rely on when you cannot do for yourself the things that need to be done?This book was written by a young artist who took care of Georgia O'Keeffe for a year when Miss O'Keeffe was 96. Christine, the young artist, was hired to dress, bathe, cook for, feed, read to and otherwise care for Georgia O'Keeffe. Georgia O'Keeffe began to go blind in her 80's. She lived until she was 99. She was the 2nd of 7 children, but it seems that during the time of this book only one sister was still living.O'Keeffe, the famous woman artist who lived an independent life and loved the west Texas and New Mexico landscape, lived a very long life. But like all people, whether famous or not, at the end she had to rely on others to take care of her. She had a rotating group of caretakers over the last 10 to 15 years of her life, and there is speculation that at the end of her life she was taken advantage of by Juan Hamilton, a fellow artist who helped her and managed her affairs for the last 20 years of her life. Did Juan manipulate and take advantage of O'Keeffe? Or was he a friend who had to endure the petulant demands of an elderly and cranky woman?Christine, the author, had unhappy dealings with Juan Hamilton, but they are minimized in her book. She eventually quit her caretaking job because of Hamilton, but she tries to focus on the day to day things that brought joy and peace to her elderly patient and eventual friend. These things had to do with being with familiar and loved things, routine and regularity, quiet, regular exposure to nature in walking in her garden or sitting in the sun or feeling the breeze while sitting outside.It is a sad book, but then death is sad. O'Keeffe was moved from her beloved home in Abiquiu (AB-be-que) where she knew every nook and cranny, to a large sprawling house in Santa Fe where she was lost and confused. She was mobile and alert at Abiquiu, bedridden and confused in Santa Fe. Her last two years were spent in the Santa Fe house. It is not clear why she was moved, or who moved her, or if O'Keeffe agreed to being moved or even knew that perhaps she had signed papers allowing them to move her. Christine does not try to explain the many sad days of lawyers coming and going and confusing meetings O'Keeffe seemed to have with Hamliton. It doesn't seem that O'Keeffe did any planning for those old years. She was not taken care of by family or relatives or anyone who seemed to genuinely love her. Instead she seems to have relied on those she could hire for help. While I love her artwork and appreciate the singularity of artistic focus she had, I wonder if in her dying she had a "good death", as is spoken of in vespers prayers for the Lord to "grant us a good death".