Home is Where we Hook-up

April 19, 2007


Filed under: Travel in the U.S. — Heligypsy @ 7:03 pm

Some of you know when I left Bishop to travel with Keith, I was under serious obligation that I’d better “keep in touch”. I saw the challenge in this immediately, as I already had several people on my email list and usually only 30 minutes internet time per day at whatever local library or cafe I happened to be using that day.

I knew just the sort of letter I would write, it would be akin to those letters some people send out at Christmas to catch all the distant friends and relatives up on the goings on. The greatest example I had were the letters from a friend of my parents, Carrie Martini – or as we called her Momma Carrie. She didn’t wait for Christmas to send her mass letters, they came a couple times a year, and I couldn’t wait to eat them up, word for word. She and her husband, Allen, lived in San Luis Obispo in a multi-level home with their 3 kids, some cats, a couple dogs, a half dozen or more daycare kids they babysat, and a foreign exchange student from time to time. To visit the Martini’s was like going to Disneyland without waiting in lines. They had a life sized playhouse in the backyard and a jacuzzi, and movies (the size of records) that we could watch almost anytime.

Momma Carrie was the perfect story teller and the best listener I ever met. Her ability to listen so well probably accounted for her great letters. She wrote about her own children’s antics, or the trials of a foreigner coping with schooling in America, or a chicken pox scare in the daycare. Whatever the stories, and the characters in their lives, their home and family, we came to know each one through her letters. So, when it came time for my own mass letter writing campaign, I set myself to imitate the style I had known and loved as a child, the letters from Momma Carrie.

Carrie suffered a stroke some time ago, leaving her mostly paralyzed and unable to speak. Unable to speak, but certainly not unable to communicate. Through the years she and Allen devised any number of ways to communicate as they traveled the U.S in their motorhome. Allen’s a Harley Man, so they towed a Harley with a sidecar to go out on excursions. I saw Allen and Carrie this last summer, when they came to visit my parents. The years had not been kind to either Carrie or my dad, he in a hospital bed, and she in a wheelchair – neither able to speak, but OH, the looks and grins, “Hey Kid” Carrie’s look said, “Hey back” from my dad. This was a friendship that carried back way before my time, and it was no secret this was the last time they would visit each other, their eyes said their silent goodbye’s. My dad passed that July.

Allen wrote last night to tell me, with a heavy heart, that after 47 years together, Carrie passed away in her sleep yesterday morning. People frequently touch our lives without ever being aware. I am glad I got the chance to tell her this summer that she was the very reason I began writing my emails to friends and family. My emails have changed to a blog now. I am fortunate to have about 200 people in my email list and the blog is just a better way for people to drop into our lives when they get the time.

Rest in Peace, Carrie Martini, you will not be forgotten.



  1. (sigh) Thinking of you…..

    Comment by Sherryl — April 20, 2007 @ 9:18 am | Reply

  2. Sorry to hear about your loss Paula. I’m sure she is sharing some great stories again with your dad.

    Comment by Jenn Oglesby — April 21, 2007 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

  3. Carrie sounded like an amazing woman. What a gift it was to tell her how her life had influenced yours.

    Comment by Laura — April 22, 2007 @ 3:54 am | Reply

  4. Oh my! Thanks for letting us know. Loved the story about “Momma Carrie”. How is Allen doing? Their relationship was always inspiring.
    Will Allen be visiting your Mom in the close future? Seems like it would be good for both of them.

    Comment by Debbe — April 23, 2007 @ 9:39 am | Reply

  5. Thank you for your comments. I had a similar thought that made me smile, my Dad and Carrie telling stories, again. Who knows how all of that works, but it’s a comforting thought. My mom said she will, of course, invite Allen to come for a visit, and yes, that will be good for both.

    Comment by borderlinegypsies — April 23, 2007 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  6. What a sad , yet happy story. Momma Carrie passed a precious gift onto you and I am always touched by your stories and blogs. My thoughts are with Allen and her family as well as yours.

    Comment by Kim — April 23, 2007 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  7. I dont know where to begin.
    We are one of the foreign students that lived in San Luis Obispo. I have tried to find her on 411 but could never find her address as I lost touch with her after they left San Luis Obispo. Today I just thought I should Google her and I was saddened to read that she has left us. My deepest sympathy to Carla, Craig, Curt and all her family. I would love to get in touch with them.
    I am glad she inspired you with her letters, which I missed the last few years.
    I am lost for words.
    So long

    Comment by Niru — April 28, 2009 @ 11:05 am | Reply

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