06.23.11

Memories of Bridget

Posted in Bridget at 11:39 pm by Janet

I found out about Bridget’s passing while I was in Scotland. The day after I heard the news, I wandered around Glasgow in a haze, stopping at every chocolate shop I passed and trying on fancy dresses in Bridget’s honor. Despite my decadent tributes to Bridget, I don’t think the reality of what has happened has really sunk in. In trying to make sense of her death, I’ve been thinking about Bridget and her family a lot. I haven’t come to any kind of resolution or closure, but I have remembered many of the fun times we had. And nearly everything I did with Bridget was fun. It’s hard to pick just a few favorite memories, but I’ll have a go at it. Please add your own memories in the comments. Bridget, we miss you, to say the very least.

The first time we met
When I moved to Madison to go to library school, my friend Cailin told me that her friend Barrett’s red-headed girlfriend was also starting library school. I should keep an eye out for her, Cailin said. Sure enough, one afternoon when I was working in the CCBC, I saw a red-headed girl look around the library and then go into one of the book discussions. I spied her again later that week at the SLIS Friday night showing of Party Girl. I think I started talking to her in the bathroom. I asked her how the CCBC book discussion was and the conversation took off from there. Secretly, and I’ve never told anyone this, I wanted to talk to her because I knew my roommate, who had accompanied me to the movie in search of available librarian women, would think she was hot. I thought his motivations for coming with me were lecherous. If this was indeed the red-headed girl Cailin had told me about, she definitely had a boyfriend, and my roommate’s advances would be repelled. (So sorry Bridget!)

Bridget, the roommate, and I went out to the Union terrace. My memory is a little fuzzy here. I know I was drinking beer. Perhaps that’s why I don’t remember? That’s when I found out that Bridget didn’t drink. Anyhow, either Cailin or Barrett or both of them showed up and it became clear that we had friends in common. Barrett must have shown up for sure, because I remember thinking that Barrett kind of talked like Bridget and that somehow showed that they were in love. And also my roommate totally got shot down.

The funny thing is, even if we hadn’t run into each other in the bathroom of SLIS or the CCBC, I’m pretty sure Bridget and I would have been friends anyway because of the Cailin connection.

Making The World’s Fastest Librarian
I had so much fun giving everyone the evil eye as Mary/Bridget’s nemesis. Watching Bridget and Barrett go through their creative process was fascinating. Their quirky choices always seemed just right. They are masters of satire.

I’ve watched that movie a bajillion times by now. Have you ever noticed how Barrett’s camera lingers on Bridget? I think only someone who’s in love with her could have edited it that way. It’s very sweet.

The night Bridget came to the Caribou

I bet you don’t believe me! One night Ryan and Andrew and I were drinking there, and we somehow convinced Bridget to come meet us. I believe we were working on one of our, uh, guerrilla writing projects. Can you even imagine Bridget in a tiny, dark, greasy, smoky (but strangely charming) bar? She was a great sport about it, but it was really odd to see clean-living Bridget in such a den of inequity. I’m pretty sure that one night was what gave her cancer. The Caribou was probably the most unhealthy place she ever set foot.

The time I almost burned down Bridget and Barrett’s house making sushi

Somehow, we managed to start a fire while making raw food. Also, one of the cats ate our spicy tuna. And liked it.

The time we had a Viking funeral for our problems

It was the fall after we graduated from library school. For one reason or another, things weren’t going very well for Bridget, Amanda M., or me. We decided to symbolically banish our problems. We went over to Lake Monona. We wrote or drew each problem on a small piece of paper. We floated each piece of paper on a dry leaf and tried to set it on fire as we pushed it out into the lake. Unfortunately, it was windy and it didn’t work very well. The leaves and the paper just wouldn’t catch fire, and they didn’t float very far. Also the other people in the park were giving us funny looks. So we went back to Bridget’s house and drank hot chocolate and threw our problems in Bridget and Barrett’s wood-burning stove and watched them go up in smoke. I can’t say this technique worked, because soon after that I moved to Kenosha, but it did make me feel better for awhile.

Visiting Bridget and Barrett in Portland

I visited Portland in spring of 2010. Bridget loved Portland. I could see she had good reason—it was sunny, beautiful, and blooming. She had good friends there who watched out for her. Bridget was somewhere in the middle of chemo and she was moving kind of slowly. We went to the Two Tarts bakery and also ate some unusual chocolates and some Thai food. Bridget had lost her hair, but she hadn’t lost her joy in life, or her appetite.

Reading Bridget’s book

I knew Bridget was working on something good, but I was always hesitant to ask. I never know if writers want to talk about their work with someone who’s not really a part of their creative process. This winter Bridget let me read the book. I was pleasantly surprised. For some reason I was expecting realistic fiction, and Poison is fantasy. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a delight. Bridget’s sense of humor and ebullient personality really show through. It was really refreshing to read a fantasy book that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still tells a rollicking good adventure story. I can’t wait for Poison to come out and for the wider world to have a chance to appreciate Bridget’s sparkling creativity and effervescence.

1 Comment »

  1. Amanda said,

    June 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I loved reading this post. So many great memories… I didn’t know about the “why I first talked to Bridget” story. Very cute. I bet you’re glad you struck up a conversation!

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