I first got to know Linda about 9 years ago. I was still working at Pacific Asia Museum but was planning to hand in my resignation after 9 years there. I was nervous about leaving and going it alone as a freelance Asian art historian. People with my skills are not on most headhunters’ to-call lists. The phone rang and it was Linda, the Director of Education at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, about an hour south of Los Angeles. She was looking for someone to write a curriculum guide about Chinese art and culture for her museum, as they were expanding their space and were planning on holding many more Chinese exhibitions there. “Actually I do,” I told her in a hushed voice and explained that I would be available in a couple of weeks. The timing couldn’t have been better. I left my job knowing that there was work out there for me.
Within minutes of entering the dark oak-paneled Old JCR where Dr. Phillips was gathering his students for drinks on the first day of term at Emmanuel College, I began talking to Rebecca. Dark-haired, pretty, and incredibly warm, she was exactly the kind of person I was hoping to meet at Cambridge, someone who was clearly smart, energetic and motivated, but not intimidating or arrogant. I warmed to her right away.
My friend Patricia (see also May 8)was down here for Northern California a brief visit to LA and she was gathering a group of friends together for brunch. My morning was unusually complicated with David and me trading off delivering Theo to various classes, so I knew I couldn’t make the brunch but I wanted at least to see Patricia and give her a hug because she and her partner Sam are having a baby. I didn’t know this when I was last in touch with her in May, so this time I wanted to give her something today to wish her well with the baby, and ideally something Japanese to honor her Japanese American background.