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December 12, 2013

Request for assistance/advice regarding Marilee Layman’s effects
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 04:51 PM * 46 comments

In the current Open Thread, Kip W has some news about the late, much-missed Marilee Layman:

I just got a call from a realtor in Northern Virginia who is working for Fannie May, in regards to the effects of our late friend, Marilee Layman.

He has just come into the matter, and the apartment was foreclosed after almost a year of idleness. He called me, having found my name and number, to see if I knew what might be done about all her possessions. The place is just as she left it. Her van is parked down below. There was a note from “Rick” saying he’d shut off gas and such, but no number.

The agent, Don, doesn’t like the idea of calling a trash firm to come and treat everything as junk to be harvested, and his concern touches me — particularly as I look around me — so I would very much like the word to go out to fans, perhaps especially those in the NoVa/DC area, but to anybody with an idea of how to proceed.

My own half-baked thoughts were that we might dispose in the ordinary way of clothing and impersonal items, maybe even books. Her crafts, perhaps, could be sold and the proceeds given to charity. Her van could be donated, unless someone wants to buy it for an equitable-low amount (and the money donated to charity — medical or fannish or I don’t know what).

If anybody knows of a family or friend(s) who should benefit by this sad windfall, I’m open to suggestions. Am I in charge of this? I don’t know. Should someone else be? I’ve never done this before.

I asked Don what sort of deadline we were looking at before the wheels of bureaucracy take over. He said 30 days, 45, maybe even 60 before an edict comes down and automatic procedures kick in, so that’s not a lot of time.

I have a contact number for him. Should I run it here? Or would it be best for us to deal with him through a designated spokesperson? I’ll hang onto the number for now.

I’m not able to access Usenet at the moment. My system stopped letting me on a few months back, and I didn’t care enough to try to figure out what its problem was this time. Can someone reach Keith Lynch? He’s fairly local and helped when she was in the hospital. What other DC fan or fans would be good to talk to? Who’s Rick?

What next? I’m kind of lost here.


ps: Forgot to say that any mementos or keepsakes we might want to retain out of all this should perhaps be sold for a reasonable price and the money kicked into designated charity. I have this idea of charity in my head because maybe it seems a little ghoulish otherwise. I could be mistaken, of course, and will listen to cooler or less confused heads.

This can’t be the first time something like this has happened. Is there a manual yet?

I confess, I have even less notion of what to do than Kip does. I’m sure someone in our community does, though. Can we figure this out together?

Also, now I miss her all over again. I was just thinking about her this morning, entirely by coincidence, wondering if it had been a whole year since she passed away. Now I know.

And thank you, Kip, for taking the call and coming to the community with this. I’m sure I speak for us all when I say that that matters a lot.

Comments on Request for assistance/advice regarding Marilee Layman's effects:
#1 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 05:14 PM:

I haven't been to her place. I heard about it from Don (see above), and much credit to him for caring about a departed stranger.

Big anks-thay to you, Abi, for elevating this to the front page. Time is short, and I'm hoping the right people will see this.

#2 ::: GlendaP ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 05:17 PM:

I wonder what happened that her brother didn't take care of all that?

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 05:20 PM:

Sorry, Kip...long day at work; I'm not reading carefully enough.

Still, thank you. (New spam filter system means we can say that again...)

#4 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 05:59 PM:

Yeah, Cathy just got home and said she has a brother, possibly in Virginia Beach or thereabouts. I don't know, but if there is family, then there may be a quick solution to this.

(I feel some apprehension saying that, as families of fans often seem inclined to throw everything out. Perhaps if fans helped sort stuff, some of it might go somewhere better than mulching.)

Abi: Thanks. Feels good to say it.

#5 ::: Jenn ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 06:06 PM:

I am local to NoVa, and although I did not know Marilee, and really am only a fandom lurker, would be happy to help if I can. I have some free time over the next several weeks. I have helped deal with a couple of estates/house cleanouts in the past (but am far from expert.)

#6 ::: Ali Burtt ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 06:20 PM:

Chiming in. I didn't know Marilee and don't know Jenn. However, I am also local to Northern Virginia and have been an occasional commenter/frequent lurker for many years so I would be very happy to provide whatever labor is required if the community wants to provide some direction. I'm well acquainted with local charity shops and estate sale companies as I'm a vintage dealer by trade. My time is my own so I'm happy to provide whatever service I can.

#7 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 06:30 PM:

Abi, could you maybe contact janetk of this parish if she doesn't read this thread and respond within a day or two? I know she knew Marilee in meatspace, and has been an occasional reader/commenter here. She might be able to untangle some stuff.

#8 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 06:30 PM:

Yay! All knowledge IS contained in Making Light! I'm glad we've got some potential volunteers who know what the heck they're doing. Besides being halfway across the country, I wouldn't know where to begin....

#9 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 06:40 PM:

Re Marilee's family: under no circumstances should her father (if he is still living) be contacted. I remember her talking repeatedly about him being an abusive narcissistic asshole.

If the volunteers find anything in the way of beading and jewelry-making supplies, I will be happy to purchase them at a reasonable cost, and to pay for them to be shipped to me.

#10 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 06:53 PM:

I'm nowhere near NoVa, but is it possible to find the contact information for the aforementioned possible brother? A local representative from Fandom contacting the brother on behalf of her friends in fandom is the most efficient first step.

A simple call along the lines of, "Hi. I'm __________, a friend of Marilee's. The realtor in charge of clearing out her stuff from the foreclosed property contacted me. If you need or want help dealing with her estate, we have people ready to pitch in. Just let me know if you want help. I understand time is short."

Depending on how functional their family was, the brother may not know and/or care or the opposite may be true and he is overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff to be done. Either way, an offer of help from the fannish community who know the value of the assorted bits of the estate will be a benefit. It might even be welcome.

I didn't know Marilee Layman, but if she was any kind of collector of things (books, art, what have you), an offer of aid from a knowledgeable body of self-organized individuals willing to help and sort and classify would be a bonus regardless of the way the wind blows on the family front.

If the brother wants it, then it becomes a moving/packing party. If the brother doesn't want it, then its a packing party and someone will need to be in charge of liquidating her estate for charity -- one she believed in.

#11 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 07:01 PM:

Cathy [my wife] says she has found a possible match for the brother.

#12 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 07:03 PM:

Lee @ 9,

Next question. Did Marilee have a will? If not, how are estates like that handled in N. Virginia?

Just going in and taking and/or selling stuff by someone who does not have legal ownership is most probably theft. So her father may have to be contacted regardless if he is still alive and if inherited her estate. (I know how this works in Kansas, but each state is different when it comes to people dying intestate.)

#13 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 07:12 PM:

My feeling from what Marilee said about her family is that they shouldn't be expected to be able to handle this without help from Marilee's friends.

I also feel that, given Marilee's consistent generosity and concern for others, charity is the ultimate goal. Auctions for charities are definitely in order.

Concerning the van -- it was fitted out for her disabilities, and it ought to be checked out for a possibility of re-assigning it to another person who could use that kind of help.

Her book club might have some clues.

#14 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 07:14 PM:

I've just emailed Keith Lynch about it, with a pointer to this thread.

#15 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 07:30 PM:

If the web page below is correct, I really hope there's a will, since it says that if a Virginian dies without one, parents inherit before siblings:

Which leaves the next question as, who if anyone is entitled to go look for a will? The obvious places would be somewhere in her apartment, ideally in a folder or file drawer labeled something like "financial" or "legal papers"; with a law firm, and she might have information about that in her apartment; in a safe deposit box, ditto [not the best idea, but people do it]; or the all-purpose somewhere else, but "look somewhere else, probably in the United States" isn't practical advice.

#16 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 07:37 PM:

Victoria, #12: I don't know whether or not she had a will, but I would bet my betting nickel that she did. She knew she was in poor health, was not in denial about it, and I know she wouldn't have wanted her father to be able to touch a penny of her estate. She was both intelligent and pragmatic.

#17 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 07:50 PM:

Marilee's brother Rick Layman seems to have decided to walk away from her condo and let it go to foreclosure. I suspect that its sale value would have been less than the mortgage.

Last I heard from her book group (while we were dealing with the cats) was that Rick would be clearing out her condo soon. I guess he didn't bother or only took things he valued.

I doubt if there was a will. None had been found last I heard. Rick had looked through her stuff hoping to find it. Marilee's father is deceased. Rick lives in Norfolk VA area--I never had contact info for him.

Her van was about 20 years old and it didn't have any special adaptations.

#18 ::: Keith Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 08:13 PM:

Her place is impossible to get to by mass transit unless I spend
the night there (Manassas being an exurb, transit is outbound-only
during evening rush hour, inbound-only during morning rush hour, and
nonexistent at all other times), and is much further than I'm willing
to walk or even bike. And even if I could get magically get there,
I don't have the key to the place, the permission to enter or take
anything, or anywhere to put the contents. But if someone can drive
me there and back, I can certainly help load a moving van. Who is
coordinating this? Thanks.

Under Virginia law, if she has no will and both her parents are dead
and she has no children, then her siblings inherit. The person to
contact is her executor. If she doesn't have one, anyone can get
themselves appointed with the persmission of her heirs.

#19 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 08:17 PM:

If I remember correctly, her book club met at a library. It's possible that they might have a Friends organization that would take book donations for later sale. Just another possibility for books to go someplace where someone might find them, instead of just ending up in a dumpster.

#20 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 09:01 PM:

I am in Central Virginia, but unfortunately I'm a non-driver, and for the time being I still have a dog to take care of.

#21 ::: Janet K ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 09:01 PM:

The few times I was in Marilee's condo I didn't see any of her craftwork on display. I think she probably gave away almost all the things she made. She probably had craft supplies in the room she used for storage and there might be things she made there. I would hope her brother took things she made that he found--but from what she said to me about him, I rather doubt if he cared.

It hurts my heart but I think we should let this go.

If the realtor wants to do a kindness, he could arrange for Goodwill or a similar charitable organization to take the furniture, kitchen stuff, and books. I would think such organizations would have experience with such cases.

#22 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 09:49 PM:

David G, I have a longer reply from Keith and have been waiting for his permission to post it here. I think you have the key part, about finding out from the family about an executor as the first and foremost step. Talking to her brother seems to be the next step, and if he's walked away from it, it would be good to have some confirmation of that before doing anything.

Janet K., you may be right, which is indeed a sad thing in this case.

Again, anything we can do to steer things toward charity would be good, and if she has photo albums or anything like that, I think fans would value those more than either Goodwill or her family.

#23 ::: Jenn ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 09:55 PM:

Generally Goodwill etc. will only come do pickups for certain types of things, over a certain quantity (they won't pick up a single chair, for example, it has to be a roomful.) Books and craft supplies etc can be donated to a library or sometimes a senior center, but again, the donator must actually deliver the materials. Food and household items can go to a shelter or women's support center.

I do drive and live about 20 minutes from Manassas, so am happy to show up and help with boxing/delivering, if someone closer to the situation organizes a date/time.

#24 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2013, 11:40 PM:

In some cases, if the house has been foreclosed on, then whoever purchases the house owns the contents. It's pretty similar to buying a storage locker at auction. You get the house and all contents. At least, that's how it works here in Arizona.

The realtor may be working for resellers? -- I'd check on this. That's purely speculation on my part. If it's a large company that bought the house, then they may simply view the contents as an inconvenience to be gotten rid of, minus anything of obvious value that could be quickly sold. The realtor is being very nice, if that's the case, because he could just contract a salvage company to clear the house out.

I could be wrong, but this may be what's happened. Something to check in to.

(And if Marilee had any dolls, I would be happy to help determine a rough value and the best way to sell them. Dolls and accessories sold on eBay are how I make my own living. You would be amazed at what's valuable ... and what's not!)

#25 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 12:29 AM:

The Realtor is working for Fannie Mae.

Fannie Mae Company
The Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, was founded in 1938 during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. It is a government-sponsored enterprise, though it has been a publicly traded company since 1968.
(per Wikipedia). I was spelling it wrong.

As I said, he doesn't like throwing someone's whole life into the dumpster, so he looked for a contact and found me.

#26 ::: JaniceG ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 01:06 AM:

I think Marilee did handicapped access guides for a couple of Capclaves, which are run by WSFA. Perhaps someone could contact the club ( and find out whether members might be willing to help with this effort.

#27 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 01:41 AM:

I was also going to suggest WSFA. I'm going to be seeing some local fannish folk tomorrow and will try to remember to ask them for suggestions.

#28 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 08:43 AM:

Make a will.

Just do it right now.

#29 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 08:48 AM:

Well, if any of the cat blankies were still in her apartment, I wouldn't mind retrieving a few for Junie B, but it isn't an earth-shattering disappointment otherwise. I am sorry to learn that her brother walked away from her place.

I think of her at least twice a day, when I feed and pet Junie B, who is a sweet and talkative cat. (Loki's ashes are in the front window, along with those of a few other cats, so they can all bask in the sunlight while watching life go by.)

For the locals, perhaps we could discuss a Making Light Marilee Layman Memorial Luncheon?

#30 ::: Tracey C ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 10:10 AM:

I have recently had to clear out someone's lifetime of accumulated stuff without their input or knowing their wishes (my mother, from whom I was estranged, suffered a severe stroke that left her unable to live alone and unable to speak/write and I was the only child not in jail to help). I live in another state and could not spend more than a week or two going through everything.

I found an auction company that does 'estate' auctions, that was willing to go through everything, sell what could be sold and donate the rest to charity. They took 20% of the proceeds (if there are fewer 'nice' or saleable items their cut may be higher), but I had to pay nothing up front.

Given the time frame, one might try to find such a company now, take the next week to go through her items for anything of a personal/sentimental nature, and then let them take it over and sell the rest, with the proceeds going to wherever they're allowed to go by the estate. (This part of things I did not have to do, since I am my mother's financial guardian of sorts.) They do this kind of thing all the time, and it's really helpful to have professionals doing it. The company I used (in SC, alas, or I'd recommend them) also contacted me when they found anything I'd missed that they thought I might like (photos, etc.). I highly recommend that approach.

(Her home was also short-sale'd at the same auction, but I don't recommend getting involved in that because it's a nightmare of paperwork and bank bureaucracy and it took months to resolve.)

#31 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 12:43 PM:

Cygnet @24, may I request that you contact me for a doll consultation? My mother passed away several years ago and we have been steadfastly ignoring her decades-old collection of dolls. Something does need to be done with them, and it would be useful to know if we should consider them as play-objects or collectibles. You can contact me at (rot13) bpjvyyvnzfba at the g of the mail. Thanks!

#32 ::: David Greenbaum ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 01:24 PM:

I am in New York, and I only met MArilee in meatspace on two occasions, more than a decade and a half ago. I can give some advice based on recent experience with three property filled family estates and one derelict house I took an interest in acquiring in the last two years that was filled with the deceased owner's effects.

If the property has been foreclosed upon, the contents are the property of the note-holder. The cost of emptying the property may run into the single thousands, eating into the realtor's commission (who doubtlessly is working on a bare commission contract). There is some self-interest on the part of the realtor.

However, I wouldn't get involved in alienating any of the moveable property from the premises, unless I had something in writing authorizing me to, or granting me ownership and custody of the contents of the house, from the realtor as agent of the owner, or something like it, and also from the brother (who is the executor? is there an intestate administrator appointed by the Surrogate? From them too?)

Why? Criminal trespass, grand larceny, or burglary charges. A civil lawsuit for conversion and trespass to chattels. Making decisions about somebody elses' stuff is dangerous unless you have clear authority to do so and the bare verbal request for help originating from a realtor isn't that.

That being said, Marilee was on disability pension for more than twenty years. How much could her furniture be worth? Donate to a battered women's shelter, maybe? Clothes ditto. The books? Hrrm. A year in an unheated condo in humid Virginia? Not worth resale through a used book retailer, and who would take the time to sort and price them individually?

Her van was a 1986 Chevy Astro which is the property of her estate and stood unmaintained and unstored in an outdoor parking space since her last drive? So, worth salvage, if that.

A final point - ownership is a social construct. Legally defined by chains of lawful title. And some sentimentality is involved, between owner and family and friends, defining assigned usufructs and temporary custodianships. I'd think very hard about asserting ownership interests over Marilee's effects without thinking about my relationship to her when she was alive, and whether she'd want me to be involved with her things.

#33 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 01:52 PM:

Echoing Jo Walton @ 28
On top of making a will, tell people where it is, and who your lawyer is. Putting it in a 'safe' place will mean that no one finds it until far too late.

Similarly, if you wish to be an organ donor, tell everyone, on top of checking the box and signing the line on your license.

#34 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 03:31 PM:

I just got off the phone with Don, and he has been in contact with Rick. As the property has been foreclosed (as mentioned above, in #32), it is the property of the bank, but Don says he often has some leeway in such matters and is waiting to hear back on it.

#35 ::: Rick York ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 07:50 PM:

What Jo Walton said. There are simple forms online and everyone needs a will. Do it for the sake of all those people, blood relations or not, who love you and whom you love.

#36 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2013, 10:22 PM:

Oliviacw, email me at I'm afraid I've never figured out rot13. I'll be happy to help with what I can.

I personally specialize in vinyl fashion dolls from the 60's through mid 80's but I know enough about other types of dolls to tell you if you've got a potential treasure. If it's not a doll type I'm real familiar with, I can refer you to the right boards for ID and from there you can research information on values on eBay. (The major hub of dolls sales worldwide is eBay.) I can also give you some pointers on sales if you want to sell them.

(As an aside, anyone selling dolls from an estate really should have them looked over by someone with a good eye. The deal with dolls is that even total basket cases can often be restored with surprisingly little effort or cost, and it's also often not the dolls you expect that are the most valuable. Additionally, sometimes the accessories are worth more than the doll, and broken dolls can be worth a LOT in parts.)

#37 ::: Rachel Sommer ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 05:18 AM:

I followed James Nicoll's link here. As when I had time to lurk here regularly, you guys amaze me and give me hope for the world.

#38 ::: Lawrence ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 01:13 PM:

I'm afraid none of the folks I spoke to last night had any useful suggestions.

#39 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 03:13 PM:

I don't know if this will fit your (eventual) timetable, but I will be in the area in the middle of January. I have cleared out two houses of stuff in Northern Virginia, including over 10,000 books, so I have some relevant experience. All the books, sewing, and craft supplies found good homes.

I was unexpectedly amused when taking hazardous waste (paint, etc.) and recycling to the Fairfax County landfill, as it is off Mordor Rd. Apparently, you can just drive to Mordor.

#40 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 04:29 PM:

Marilee was a serious beader who worked in good-quality materials. Beaders tend to accumulate deep, compact stashes of leftovers and small components. Even supposing that she gave away all her finished work, someone should have a look at her supplies and equipment. I'd volunteer to do it, but I don't have a car.

If there's a substantial amount of material, just throw it in a box. If no one local wants to sort and assess it for resale, I'm willing to do it, but we'll have to work out transportation to Brooklyn.

FWIW, if anyone's concerned: Marilee and I had almost no overlap in our preferred materials, colors, techniques, or bead sizes.

#41 ::: Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2013, 08:44 PM:

Shipping on beading supplies actually shouldn't be that expensive and might be less than the cost of gas. For the heavy stuff, I'd use USPS Priority Mail flat rate boxes -- last I checked, it was $15-something per large box. Regional rates may be cheaper.

Beads, findings, and the tools are heavy, but they compact well. Good candidates for flat rate shipping. :-)

#42 ::: =Tamar ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2013, 02:10 PM:

In Maryland, it is possible to put your will into a county office, overseen by the Office of the Register of Wills. There is a very low one-time fee, after which it is accessible free when you want to replace it with an updated version. That eliminates the problems of closed safe-deposit boxes and house fires and locating a lawyer's name. I believe there are similar arrangements in Virginia and D.C.

#43 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2013, 10:25 AM:

I haven't heard from Don in a while. Wondering if I should call him (after New Year's).

#44 ::: Keith Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2014, 11:03 PM:

I confirmed that she has no executor. Anyone living in Virginia (as
I am) can get themselves appointed. I thought long and hard about it.
I've reluctantly decided not to do so.

I have no idea who her friends or relatives were. I didn't really
know her that well. Certainly not well enough that I'd be comfortable
making decisions on the disposition of her property. She and I were
the two most prolific posters in rec.arts.sf.fandom. I visited her
several times in the hospital in 2009, but only because my mother was
in the same hospital at the same time. (And now they're both dead.
Hospitals are overrated.)

I have no idea what her assets or debts are. Since she was on SSDI
for many years, I imagine she didn't have many assets. Since her home
is in foreclosure, I imagine she has large debts. If so, all her
property would have to be sold to pay her debtors. As executor, I'd
be entitled to 5%, but 5% of almost nothing is even less. Also, I'd
be civilly and criminally liable if I were to screw anything up, e.g.
undervalue or not notice some of her assets or some of her debts.

It was difficult enough dealing with my mother's estate. I kept
feeling like I was taking a test on a course I never studied for.

If someone else wants to take the responsibility, I'd certainly be
willing to help move furniture, load trucks, etc. But only if I'm
shown papers proving you have the right to do that, so that I can't be
charged with burglary or anything else. I learned the hard way how
easy it is to be falsely convicted of a serious crime in Virginia.

#45 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2014, 12:26 AM:

I will reiterate my offer to purchase, and pay for the shipping of, any beading supplies and materials. If there is concern about a conflict of interest in allowing me to evaluate them, I can arrange for other members of the Houston Bead Society to assist me in doing so. Note that this will be a wholesale or liquidation-sale valuation, not a retail-level one. Selling it all off at retail would take a lot of time and effort; I'm offering a lump sum for the entire batch.

#46 ::: Carolyn ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2014, 06:13 PM:

Hi, I never posted before, and I am not sure I can find my way here again in the future. So please consider me a stranger passing through.

I was a co-volunteer/co-worker of Marilee during her years of volunteering at AOL, and we developed a continuing friendship, though there were many physical miles between us. I don't have internet any more, and had been unable to contact her by phone for some time. The last time we spoke was January of 2013. It has been with great sadness that I have found this thread regarding her death today.

I want to thank you all for your concern over her belongings. I definitely agree that there were some family issues, however, knowing Marilee, she would not have acted spitefully toward her father. She retained a sense of gratitude even to those who had mistreated her.

I recall that the family member of whom Marilee spoke most fondly was her kind grandmother, but she is not alive now. I presume that she helped to foster Marilee's sense of helpfulness and generosity when she was a kid. One of Marilee's favorite sentimental possessions was the grandmother's bible. I did not know Marilee to be a religious person, but that favored grandmother's bible was a well-preserved and highly-regarded possession because of the memories it conjured. I dearly hope that bible didn't get thrown away. If someone salvaged it, thank you. And thank you for carrying forward the memory of the kindness of Marilee's grandmother...

...and the memory of Marilee too. The thing she did which most impacted my life was introducing me to the joy of reading as an adult. When she asked who were my favorite authors, I responded with only names of textbook authors. She sent me my first Connie Willis book, and it set me into a buying frenzy for Connie Willis books. Also Tolkien, she sent me my first copy of The Hobbit, I think, and it was with great joy that I continued reading his books until I had exhausted them all. After she read her science fiction magazines, she would send the used copies to me, to inspire me to continue reading. I owe her such a debt of gratitude for helping me to realize that reading is not just kid-stuff!

Besides that... a great big thank you to the kitty people who were mentioned in this thread. Over the years, Marilee's kitties have meant so much. She had lost one in the year or so before she died, and I remember how sad a time that was. For me, today is just as sad. Again, thank you to her kitty helpers and caregivers.

I will likely not be able to come back here to read responses, but I just wanted to thank you all for caring about her enough to ask the tough questions you posed here in this thread. It warms my heart.

Additionally, if there was ever any resolution, I would be interested to know how it all came out. I will try to come back in the future to check here, if I can find it.

(Hope I even posted this to a valid thread. Sorry for any spelling or grammar errors; I am a stickler for good spelling/grammar, as was Marilee, but since my brain aneurysm ruptured in 2000, I do well just to get something typed that is half-understandable. Thanks for your patience with me here.)


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