August 18th, 2016 by Jan

We all say it at times, “I’m bad with names.”

Ken’s granddad solved this problem by calling everyone Susie, at least the girls. I’m not sure what he called the boys, but you can bet it wasn’t their name.

Piers Hayes on Bowen Island called everyone Blue before he died. He owned the coffee joint and saw everyone on island, calling everyone Blue made his job easier.

I won’t say I am bad with names, I’m not. I listen and try to learn peoples names when I meet them. I’ll repeat it back to them, try to use their name very soon after I meet them, and I have no problem asking them time and again if I do forget.

Except once and now I’m sorry.

When I first started going to the pool here in Sechelt, I arrived on my first day, at the same time as Elspeth.

She was gracious enough to show me the ropes of the locker room and auqafit class. You know, put your stuff here, get one of these things, let me introduce you to…

Meeting Elspeth on that first day was my good luck.

Elspeth also invited me to join her and some of the other women for coffee after the class. She really included me as the new kid in class. She made me feel welcome.

Now, as you read this, I imagine you are saying her name in your head. It is not a common name and I struggled learning it. I asked her many times to pronounce it again and again for me. I never got it. I never felt comfortable saying it. I was worried I would mis-pronounce Elspeth, so — I never said her name.

I talked to her, smiled with her, had coffee with her, enjoyed class with her, but I never said her name.

Elspeth died last week. She had a heart attack and died.

I never said her name.

E is for Elspeth.

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