I don’t know how my mother came to choose the little blue house at 7 Bowie Court. But in choosing it, she changed her life, and the lives of her children.
From 1957 to 1967, we lived in that house. The Copelands were next door at 5 Bowie Court. And unlike the other houses in the court, our front doors faced each other. That access and proximity facilitated a friendship between my mother and Mrs. Copeland that lasted almost 60 years, a relationship that continued and even grew in closeness after we moved across town. As I grew up, and after, they taught me what friendship meant.
Somehow, despite (or because of?) raising seven boys between them, they seemed constant companions. This included 20 plus years or so swimming in the mornings at the Rockville Pool and 35 years of Meals in Wheels (my Mom driving, Mrs. Copeland delivering).
My mother (on the left in the photo) loved to drive and Mrs. Copeland loved to explore, and they took countless trips together, usually just afternoon drives out into the country (there was country then) or up to Westminster for tea. One very special trip they both talked about for years after: down to Asheville North Carolina and over the mountains to Gatlinburg Tennessee. It was one of the things that my mother remembered longest.
Mrs. Copeland (I never could call her Ann) loved music and the arts, and had a fine soprano voice. She would frequently accompany my parents to my performances in Annapolis or elsewhere, and was well known to my performing friends. She had a discerning ear, but was effusive with her praise. When I turned to writing, she was just as supportive. And with her generous heart and love of arts and beauty, she was a continuing inspiration.
After Mom died, Mrs. Copeland would continue to call us, always apologizing for not calling sooner, asking how we were, deflecting our questions about her health, encouraging me to write, and always with the spirit and warmth and humor we had known all our lives. We have now lost a cherished presence, and a link to our past. But for me, the memory and lessons of their friendship will not fade before I do.