Enid Hodkinson died today. This means little or nothing to you, but only because you never knew her. Enid was Marianne's and my next-door neighbor for over thirty-six years She was the best of neighbors, bright and funny and friendly and upbeat. And in her youth she invaded France.
Enid was a communications tech in the Royal Air Force. She hit Normandy two days after D-Day and went with the armed forces across Europe. Immediately after the war, she met Albert Hodkinson, a young East-Ender who had started the war as a mechanic -- "Only gentlemen were allowed to fly airplanes," he told me -- but wound up, after the R.A.F. had run out of gentlemen, flying Lancasters over Berlin.
Albert and Enid were married for over seventy years, and it was only in the last two that she began to fade. After WWII, they came to America, where Albert worked as a contractor, and had children and then grandchildren and then great-grandchildren. If anyone ever had a good life it was Enid.
And now Enid is gone. I can only begin to tell you how devastated Marianne and Sean and I feel about that. She was one of those people who was always there and who always deserved to be there. The world is diminished by her passing.
Above: Enid with our then-thirteen-year-old son Sean after the blizzard of 1996. She'd been out shoveling snow, of course.