BJ is one of those people you love to be around. Her quick smile, her sharp wit, her energy … and her distinctive voice … all combine to make this diminutive lady stand out in a crowd, as she demonstrates why she’s never met anyone who wouldn’t become a friend. BJ has been the accountant for PLPA for numerous years, but just joined the Board of Directors as Treasurer last summer.
It was almost an oxymoron to ask BJ what she was doing with all her “spare time” during the pandemic. We knew she was kept busy with PLPA financials. The organization was forced to cancel the final three concerts, and BJ was writing season ticket refund checks, as well as recording contributions and donations of ticket monies to PLPA.
But we did ask. And BJ found time to reply:
“What am I doing? First order of business was to clean out all the ‘nonessential paper’ records from the office and from the basement storage room. Ned (her husband of 52 years) and I filled many big black garbage bags of shredded paper, leaving the desk drawers half full, creating room to accumulate the next 12 years of useless stuff.”
Acknowledging the magnitude of the task, BJ added, “What we also found were the bags of souvenirs from the trips that we had taken since moving to the NW. These were meant for albums, but are now in recycling bins — except for all the postcards. Over the last month, Ned has sent these postcards to our four grand-boys in Seattle, reminding them that ‘we are still here’ and that ‘we miss seeing them.’ They have responded with sending us their unused postcards from their travels.”
One would think the clearing of non-essentials was complete, but not so. BJ smiled and continued … “The next sorting job was to be the boxes of pictures that we have accumulated since the beginning of time. But I have procrastinated for 50-plus-years doing this job, and found a way to procrastinate again. I have a cabinet full of 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles and I have begun to work my way through them. I am on puzzle #2. The first puzzle was hard but I managed to complete it in a week. This second puzzle is really bad and I am in week three with about ¾ of it finished. Usually, I do these puzzles with my daughter and daughter-in-law. but they are both quarantined at their homes in Seattle and we have not figured out how to do these puzzles over Zoom.”
This narrative is going to fast-forward a month. Remember how we mentioned BJ was busy with PLPA financials? We caught up with her later and asked about the errant puzzle. “The second puzzle is now done and I am in the midst of all those boxes of pictures. Fortunately, I had a stockpile of empty albums which I am slowly filling,” BJ explained, continuing, “We have a weekly Zoom hour with the family on Sunday afternoon, replacing those Sunday family dinners.”
It appeared photos won the battle with puzzles, but the best activity of all sounded like the Zoom connection with family. BJ concurred, “Our 12-year-old grandboy Alden has suggested a few games to play during this time, such as Two Truths and a Lie, Yahtzee and Cribbage. This week he presented us with a Jeopardy game. The Luce team of ‘Ned and BJ’ were particularly bad, not knowing current trivia. We still live in the 60s.”
Any final words? “In 2001 I went through chemo for breast cancer, lost my hair, and have kept it very short since then. With Sonja, the local barber, being closed, my hair is growing and growing and I don’t know what to do, having done nothing with it except for toweling the past 19 years. Who knows what new style might emerge once Sonja reopens … Til then, to all of you, stay safe.”