It seems I’ve known Molly* forever, at least for the fifty six years that I have been married to my wife. My wife had met Molly in High School where they suffered the terrors of Mme Farley’s French class together. They became close friends: Molly, the fashionable but flighty odd girl, too tall, too talkative, and too needy, and my wife whose staggering beauty and self control commanded every room she entered, and whose kindness enabled her to embrace a girl whom others might have mocked and ignored. Their fellow classmate in those long ago Brooklyn days was Ruth Bader (Ginsberg) with whom my wife served on Boosters – a selective do-gooders club that the High School ran. Molly was then, as ever, not amongst the chosen.
We have lost Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the court but have kept in touch with Molly over the years except for a brief period during Molly’s early marriage to Joe, a man who verbally brutalized her, making it impossible to keep up our relationship since we would not willingly be witnesses to such abuse and knew no way to stop it. When she finally summoned up the courage to divorce Joe, or maybe it was the unfaithful Joe who walked out on Molly and her two young sons, we started seeing Molly again. Lest I diminish her charms, Molly had a gift for telling a great story in all its details, a memory that could be used as a search engine into the shared past, good looks that came with maturity, and a giggle, a generosity, and a warmth that marked her as one of nature’s good and charming people as well as an easy mark.
Yes, she talked too much, often digressing from her subject, with streams of anecdotes branching out of that river of talk, she loved too much and did so with the utmost indiscretion, spent too much on clothes for herself and meals for her friends, gave too much to charity, lent her money to needy sons, but she was Molly, a lifelong friend even as we saw in her the traces of Flaubert’s “Madam Bovary” – the romantic spendthrift who ends a suicide. In a month Molly, now in her middle seventies and in poor health will be foreclosed by the bank that holds her mortgage, leaving her with no money, no home, and nowhere to go.