Stephanie and Nick

Here’s an e-mail exchange between Stephanie and Nick, found in a file of Patrick’s dated 7 Jan 2013 called Stephanie e-mail 2000.doc. Patrick provided the introduction.

After our trip to California for my son’s wedding, we visited my daughter Gretchen, and her partner Nick later wrote this to Stephanie, who answered as below.  I think Alison now has that photo of Tim’s great-grandfather in Colorado which she mentions. It was always in our house, as well as the aunt who lived through being scalped by an Indian by putting her head in an icy stream to stop the bleeding, and always wore a bonnet afterward.

Anyway, I thought her response to Nick below lets you hear her voice, so to speak.

Hi Stephanie:

I just shot a note to Patrick and I thought I’d slip you one as well.  What a delight it was to meet you!!!  I’m so glad you managed to make your way up here while you were in California.  Next time you come, though, I’ll have to insist you spend a little more time…

I understand you didn’t get to see the Golden Gate by moonlight — that’s really too bad.  The view coming down the hill from Sausalito is unparalleled.  Next time you’re here I’ll make sure to supply you with maps to take you directly there…

You know, one of the things I enjoyed most about your visit was your obvious enjoyment of this place.  It was great fun to see your enthusiasm, and it even served to refresh my own appreciation.  That’s quite a trick, by the way, because I never cease to be amazed how lucky we are to live here.

Glad you made it back safe and sound.  Be sure to keep us posted on what’s happening there and start planning your next visit now!!!


Subject: Re: love from Deia to Greeley Hill, CA

Dear Nick,

What a thrill to hear from you…

I tend to belittle my big self and was therefore so joyously surprised you wrote to me…and touched to the tender center .. gush gush.

The strongest impressions of our trip were our time in Greeley Hill – I was filled with immediate wonderful nostalgia  – as if your way of living there was familiar to me – it evoked places from my own past, and I felt both in present time and in some past time/place – somewhere familiar and comfortable and magical and natural and so right and true – and the strength of nature there – the old big trees – and the smells of country and plant life, so different from here. It dredged up memories of my roots in Fernbank and the woods, of Sayler Park and the giant maples and tulip trees of my childhood –

We’ve a photo of my grandfather and his brother in Colorado in 1900 in a clearing in the woods, each holding a rifle, each with a listening/looking stance of casual invincible youth – maybe Gretchen remembers it – Well, I’ve seen such forests now – that was one of the wishes I had when we left  to come visit – to see and touch a sequoia – and I was worried when we saw the photos of the raging fires before we left and imagined the air filled with choking smoke – But America is a BIG country and now we have seen there are places where we could imagine living  Don’t worry, we won’t be moving next door just yet; we were immediately resnared in our webs of activities and quickly found the old ruts we have made here and had so easily forgotten in forging new paths in time/space “caminando, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar” (walking, there is no road, the road is made by walking)

I’ve a different way with words than you guys but i can appreciate your jargon too

love to gretchen – she’s made a real nice home – it was great so see her


 —– Original Message —–

From: Nick to Stephanie
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 10:16 AM
Subject: Re: love from Deia to Greeley Hill, CA

Hi Stephanie:

Well, it’s only taken me two weeks to write back.  Under the circs, that’s not bad, believe me.  I’ve been juggling half a dozen things even while dancing as fast as possible.  The word “busy” doesn’t cover it:

And still, I wanted to give a decent reply to your note — it was more than I bargained  for — evocative, cogent, poetic.  Even having just met you, I can tell you feel things deeply and you have a gift for expression.  Did you know that?  You’re a writer, whether you know it or not.  Your description of your grandfather and his brother in the woods of Colorado, “each with a listening/looking stance of casual invincible youth” — yeah, you’re a writer…

But you’re probably well aware of that.  I don’t know on what level, or in what facet of your character, you’re able to find reason to “belittle” yourself, but it seems completely unnecessary to me.  I’m in your thrall, as well as Patrick’s.  What an honor to have met you both! I’m glad you felt at home here, which seems to me what you were describing.

Of course, you’re an American, regardless, I suppose, of how many years you’ve been abroad.  My surmise is you and Patrick are bohemians, in that sense of people who live unconventional lives, so it’s only natural you’d be at ease with us here.  I imagine Southern California was the real foreign country.  I’d be interested in your take on that.

Say hello to Patrick for me.  Hope everything is going well for you both. Here, we continue to heave the cutlass, knee-deep in the mire of day to day survival.  But as you know, up in the hills we have a clear view of the stars…