“You always expect the unexpected from her, but THIS....! This is really going too far.”

—Marcie, longtime friend and former coworker, as quoted by Jan, also a longtime friend and former coworker from United Way days

Jan contributed the following examples of Anna’s personality and sense of humor as shown in behavior, writing, and general wordplay.


Anna, on the bus home from work, spots a sad-looking woman on the sidewalk, and begins to speculate on why the woman looks so dispirited. By the time Anna arrives home she is weeping quietly for the pain she imagines the woman has endured.

Anna, riding in my little car, spots a mariachi band at Broadway and Mercer (why there was a mariachi band there, we’ll never know). “Go round the block again!” she urges, gleefully, and I do, as she cranks the window down. As we drive by the guys with their tight black and silver pants, Ann yells out the window, “Heyyyy, STUD MUFFINS!” and cackles joyfully as their heads snap around.

Anna’s tiny studio apartment, overlooking the Group Health parking lot, is a cool, elegant haven on a warm summer afternoon. Lace curtains blowing in the breeze; Anna in her wicker chair, talking about archaeology, Paris, cats, Untied Way gossip...

December 1990. Anna and friends, gratefully snowbound and work-free, sipping champagne and eating oranges, and watching—what else?—High Anxiety. Dissshhhhhturrrrbed!

Anna commenting on Gay Pride: “The week of Extravagant Gestures...”

Anna realizing her ambition of becoming the Eccentric of 15th Avenue East—Salvador Dali’s Mother.

Anna was part of an e-mail group of friends called Word of the Day (founded by Mark Ellis Walker). One day in 1996 she posted this:

“I first saw the male twin begging in a cathedral in the South of France, in a medieval walled city named Carcassone. His hair was completely gray, and he was thin and bent—he might have been the model for Picasso’s painting of the blue guitarist. I felt great pain emanating from him, and reached out to touch his shoulder in a gesture of comfort. The encounter moved me profoundly, and throughout the day, I found myself remembering the pain in his eyes.”

I took this as an invitation, and replied:

“The female twin, in contrast—robust, ebullient, filled with joie de vivre—seemed to have been endowed with all the energy of existence for both. I met her as she walked her whippet in the brilliant dawn of a Honolulu Easter morning in 19--. She wore flowing white, a fine cotton gauze that streamed behind her in the light breeze. Her hair, caught loosely in a lavender snood, glinted in the rosy light. [Which I realize on re-reading is a pretty apt description of Miss Anna, except for the whippet.]

“We conversed briefly as the whippet sniffed at the cobalt hydrangeas, but I felt even at the time that her gaze went through me—her thoughts were not with me, but with the now-silent mechanical barker in the abandoned fairground of far-away Puyallup.”

And Anna:

“Yes, Paris to Puyallup. Her escape, once she recognized the necessity for it, had begun with the subtlety of a yeast infection—a brief pang here, a more lingering irritation there. With the agonizingly slow passage of time, it blossomed into a full-blown obsession. She would immerse herself in a low tub of warm water, and imagine swimming in turquoise tropical seas, her radio tuned to Alfred Apaka crooning faux Hawaiian songs from the Banyan Court of the Moana Hotel in Waikiki.”

And we were off, on a literary tennis match that went on for weeks. Here are a few highlights from Anna’s part, illustrating her cheerfully creative genius.

“...she then decorated the place in the sensuous style of North Africa, gleaming fabrics, pillows strewn about the floor, the skeletal spiraled remains of seashells collected on the shores of the Sea of Crete, ornate lanterns with colorful panes that gleamed when she lit the candles within, like the rose window of that cathedral in Carcassone where she had bid her brother goodbye forever...”

“It was an innocent time for the young gypsy twins. Their cruel abduction by the petit bourgeousie could not have been imagined.”

“...drunken cowboys from the Camargue peeing on the wheels of their gaily painted gypsy trailers...”

“The mysterious woman...brushed ineffectively at the signs of necromancy that littered her companion’s garment. “Alvayss I am tellink you to vear a bib!”

“His arms gleamed as he stirred in sleep, then a pinch of salt, and a 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, always the dry ingredients together.”

“Zolafted Emil...”

“...the moon beckoning a trail of sequins on the water, like Cindy Crawford looking over her shoulder and laughing in a lipstick commercial.”

...just wonderful.