My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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an amazing and beautiful story

Here, my dear readers, is an early Christmas and Hanukkah present: an amazing and beautiful story.  

I’ve written here before about my pen pal Barbara who died during a heart operation when she was sixteen, in 1966, and how early this year I suddenly felt it was time to write about her. I got out all her letters and decided to try to contact her family, whom I’d lost touch with forty-two years ago. I especially wanted to talk to Barbara’s mother Elsie, to tell her how much Barbara still means to me. 

I had no luck Googling Elsie’s name, so I went through Barbara’s letters for information about her brothers and sisters. She mentioned that her brother Peter had graduated from art school, so I Googled Peter’s name and “artist” in various permutations, and found someone I was sure must be him. There was even a photograph that looked a bit like Barbara, though now Peter is in his late sixties. 
The next day I found a London number I thought might be his and called several times, but got a non-committal answering machine and knew this was far too complicated a message to leave. So I emailed my friend Christina who lives in London and asked her to call Peter and explain about me and my quest to find Elsie.  She emailed a few days later.  “He was a bit hostile, but I think I know why,” she wrote. “When I asked about Elsie, there was a pause and then he said, ‘She died a week ago.'” What a coincidence.
Recently, as I worked on the story about Barbara, I wanted more information about that coincidence. I looked at my phone bill and found out that I called Peter on February 12th. Then I emailed Penny, Barbara’s sister and my new dear friend in England, and asked her what day her mother died. 
She wrote back, “February 11th.” 
The day I decided to write about Barbara, forty-two years after her death, was the day Elsie died.  
I do not think this is coincidence.
Wayson Choy believes that we all have at least two ghosts with us at all times. I believe it now too. 



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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