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.
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.