A Good Home

Miss Claire

Ever had an older friend who dazzled you with her independence and unique style?

Claire White was that person for me in my teenage years. 

Widowed young, children now grown, she lived alone, grew flowers and herbs, read tea leaves and tarot cards, and was unlike any other woman I had ever met.  She had an ear for the divine and an eye for magic.

Miss Claire became my mentor.  She both supported and challenged me, an extremely rebellious girl living in a town that was the staid and stultifying British heart of Jamaica. Her house and gardens were my second home, especially when I had tested the system and its traditions one time too many.

Years later, I wrote about her in my first book, A Good Home.

Blog photo - Miss Claire and me

I helped her to complete her own book and publish it. And later still, I visited her as she struggled with dementia. Despite her memory loss, the love and respect between us were as strong as ever. As were her elegant manners mixed with that sense of mischief that was the quintessential Miss Claire.

I never was able to visit her again before she died, but her spirit is part of mine.

Thanks for loving me, Miss Claire. And for challenging me each time I needed it.


This post is dedicated to caring mentors, and to Andrea Stephenson at Harvesting Hecate, who also has an ear for the divine and an eye for magic.


37 thoughts on “Miss Claire”

  1. I met Lila in my late 60s her late 80s I learned a lot from Lila just watching the way she lived her life. I miss her.

  2. A beautiful tribute to Miss Claire, Cynthia. One is truly blessed when one of these special people becomes part of our lives in some way, and will be missed when they pass on. The gift of their time and energy is priceless, and lives on in one’s own thoughts and actions.

    I hope all is well with Andrea.

    1. Thanks, my favourite singer-guitarist! As far as I know, Andrea is taking a bit of a leave. I miss her writing. You and she are nature-writers exrtraordinaire.

  3. Oh, I love that bits and pieces comment. I have been reading Big Magic and believe inspiration travels through many routes and people. Love your post…think Miss Claire was an inspiration for you?

  4. Aww, this is such a beautiful tribute to your Miss Claire! Mentors, especially at a young age, play such an important role. They help shape and stir a young life in the right direction. This is really beautiful, and a lovely photo too.

  5. Sometimes the right person comes along and we grab on like a shipwrecked sailor and years later you realize it really was a lifeline. This was a nice memory to hear about. It’s good to be remembered.

  6. Cynthia, a heartfelt portrayal of a very special lady … her strength, warmth and unique manner shines through here. What an amazing lady to be around as young, leading you to yourself! ❤️ I’m touched with your dedication… and see your wonderful words about Andrea. I’ve known her for a long while here on WP and it’s true about her! She took a blogging break beginning of the year and I hope all is well with her. Wishing you a lovely Sunday … the peace and beauty of your post will stay with me … Miss Claire inspiring me! Xx

    1. One of the blessings of my life, Julie. I hope you are doing well. Are you heading into autumn now? We are heading into spring and I saw snowdrops in a garden in the city yesterday.

  7. You are fortunate to have had her and have shared such a beautiful relationship. I have had older friends and somehow enjoy their company more than those my age.

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