Hello dear ones as Sally Booth used to start many of her correspondences with,
I am honored to be able to give you my remembrances about Sally, my friend, my mentor, most of all my Godmother. Many people might have an active godmother, but I was extremely lucky to have a godmother who was very influential in my life. My husband Peter one day asked her affectionately if she could be his adoptive godmother.
I can’t even begin to tell you all what she taught and helped me with. I learned how to iron, needlepoint, sew, and to love ironed pillowcases. Do you know what a mangler is? Sally was the aficionado of mangling. I still have a sewing kit with my initials that she gave me when I was 12. I can remember her reading The Racketty Packetty House by Francis Hodgson Burnett to me when I was young and then giving me a copy to read to my daughter Jessie, and then I read it to my granddaughter Annecy.
My son Jeff has had many hospitalizations in the past. Sally sent him a quilt that Fred Booth had in his childhood room for Jeff to make a “nest” with at the hospital and it is still on his bed today, part of her wonderful generosity and compassion to those she cared for.
My son Ian told me that his interest in Asian art and blue china was due to his visits to her house and Leland cottage. I cook her Christmas Eve Soup every year and I have many loving notes with her remarkably distinctive writing that I have saved over the years. I use cloth napkins, drink out of thin glasses and love cashmere, African violets, pretty hankies, jigsaw puzzles, fine linens and children’s books, guess who taught me all that.
Sally understood young people of many ages and my children and nieces and nephews loved to talk to her because she would really listen, not that she was not outspoken with them but they enjoyed her all the more for it. I used to love my Dad and Sally talking politics and they had a special pact to agree to disagree. They were certainly on polar opposites.
When my parents were having a hard time with their divorce I fled to her house, one evening and she was there to comfort me without taking sides. She was my mother’s oldest friend going all the way back to nursery school, and they were devoted and loyal to each other.
Sally was not in any way athletic and lovingly put up with bicycling, canoeing and camping out with her dear Fred with much good cheer. I can remember one day we all decided to go tubing down a Northern Michigan River with multi generations. Most of us spent a great deal of time pulling Sally out of the bushes on the side of the river, always with her amazing smile on her face.
Sally and I exchanged presents on birthdays and Christmas. At some point we decided that neither one of us needed more stuff, because we both really loved stuff and had too much stuff. So we came to an agreement that we would send each other notes and a tiny thing that would fit in a note card envelope, could also be something that was recycled. She sent me little note pads, handkerchiefs, bookmarks, and I sent her little handmade mice, feathers from the beach and one year a perfect blue rock from her beach. We both loved our Leland rocks, which she brought back and forth to Birmingham each year and which I also brought back to Massachusetts every year. By the way neither one of us got over our love of stuff, especially useful jars and tiny objects.
Anybody who knew Sally, knew of her vast compiles of reading materials…can I call them piles of newspapers, magazines, and books, just because she thought they were valuable …or friends and family could gain thoughts or wanted to share them with someone else who was…or might be…interested in the topic! At this point I am very happy that the Booth children, grandchildren, and a great grandchild (Leah)have a free window seat to read on now in Leland.
I loved my Godmother. My family loved her too, because they could feel what I felt for her and respected her as much as I did. Respect, humor and love of life was a cherished thing I had with my Godmother, my friend, one of the closest people in my life.