Remember when we first met? Oh, man. I was a young thing in my second of a string of unhappy marriages and you… you were a Force to be Reckoned With. I think in your very early 40’s, close to the age I am now. What we had in common was a love of beads, me for making them and you for making amazing works of art with them. I met you on rec.crafts.beads, back in the heyday… it was so busy back then! I stuck my head in, and you were the first to welcome me. You were almost ALWAYS the first to welcome anyone… it was what you did. And good goddamn if you weren’t both a royal bitch who would lay it on the line, HARD, and also the sweetest pussycat anyone ever had the pleasure to talk to! You did not mince words, not in the least, and you would slice through bullshit with a tongue and a wit that was sharp as knives.
There were a lot of us back then, and most of us are still here. Not on the newsgroup, which gradually dissipated in a mist of trolls and spam, as newsgroups did a few years back, but here on the planet, alive, still making and playing with the beads you loved so much.
You were such a driving force on the group… remember ESBC? Evil Sooz’s Bead Cronies… that was us! Or maybe it stood for Evil Sooz’s Bitch Cabal, I can’t remember. It could be either one, really, because we tolerated no shit. We laughed so much together, all of us, and even though we fought among ourselves, and even though you would spare no quarter when schooling a regular who rubbed you the wrong way, GOD HELP THE FOOL who dared step to any one of us. Many times it happened that someone new would come to the group and try to pull a better-than-you routine on someone they perceived to be weaker or more vulnerable than the others, and you would waste no time in verbally knocking that sucker OUT OF THE RING. People hated you! But oh, lovely Sooz, so many more of us loved you.
Your love was so evident; you never held back. If you cared about someone there was never a moment of fear, never a moment of hesitation in letting them know. You weren’t afraid of looking soft or being rejected, you just gave openly of your love, and you were happy to sing it to the world. Your dog! So much devoted tenderness to sweet Mercury. I remember walking him that time. Oh Mercury. Just around the block, baby, it’s OK if that’s all we can do today.
And the love of your life, your Kevin. I can’t think too much about what Kevin must be feeling right now, or I won’t be able to write any more. Remember that time, sweetheart, that you were in a panic, in tears thinking his life might not be as long as yours? Oh love, oh love.
Remember your birthday banquet? Your family is so beautiful, Sooz, and so loving. Like you. They treated me like family, and Kevin’s family did too. I gave you a bead with white flowers and you said I was as good as Kim Miles. You meant it, too! You have never been one for flattery. You encouraged me so much, you pushed me so hard… you made me believe I could make a living doing what I loved. And I did. Thank you so much, dear heart. What a gift you gave me, and my children!
I will never forget the squeal of delight, later, when I gave you your other gift, a puffy heart that said “BITCH” on it.
Remember how I came and slept in your guest room for 18 hours, exhausted from my impossible schedule? When I woke up you scrounged me some midafternoon breakfast, and then we went to the store and bought gourmet marshmallows. I can’t remember now… did we make s’mores over the stove? No, I think we used the microwave, and we ate them ALL! You couldn’t drink because of the pain medication that kept you mobile and functional despite your chronic back injury from being hit by a truck (how you pulled off being such a sweetheart, so wicked quick, and so creative under those circumstances, I will always marvel at!) but I drank some wine. I might even have had the whole bottle. And we laughed, and laughed, and laughed!
Remember how you used to write bead descriptions for me? I swear that your touch was pure magic; anything you wrote a description for sold just like THAT. Some of your descriptions were poetic, some were edgy, and some were just plain out there. I loved every one of them, and my customers did too. Naughty Chi-Chi!
I still can’t believe you sorted out all those spilled beads. You have the patience of a saint. I always wanted to be like you when I grew up. Is it time to grow up yet? Already?
For the last three years since my divorce, I have meant to come visit you. I meant to, and I never had the money for it. I passed through the Bay area last august, and I wanted to stop in but I didn’t have time. Damn money. Damn time. I didn’t know, love, I didn’t know.
Darling Sooz, someday we will run away to Mexico like we always planned, and it will be you and me, Chi-Chi and Lola, sipping margaritas on the beach in Cozumel.
I will love you always,
-Your wicked bead-slinging Jezebel,
Or kill me
In memory of my beloved friend Susan Yasinitsky Hara, who succumbed to complications from brain cancer on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. She was a beautiful person and a light in my life.