Remembrances of Rae

From: Bunny Tarquinio
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2010 17:09:07 -0700
Subject: Rae Anderson

Hi Lois and Barbara,

Please let me introduce myself. My name is Bunny Tarquinio, and my husband George and I are old high school friends of Rae Anderson. We know her as Jeep, her nickname and the only name we ever called her.

Anyway, George and I have been in touch with Rae/Jeep for a few years now. We last saw her in 2006 in San Francisco, but we've kept in email and phone contact ever since. Rae asked me to email you with an update on her current situation.

Since I don't know the last time you have been in touch with her, forgive me if I tell you some things you already know. Rae retired from her job in San Francisco and gave up her apartment to travel Europe as frugally as she could. She 1st went to England and stayed with some friends before going on to various places in Europe. She ended up in Cyprus and found a home for herself there. She has an apartment, made several English speaking friends, and found a community that is good for her. Cyprus is a very reasonable place to live and she requested an extension of her Visa. She received temporary residency until April, 2011. That's when she learned she had a brain tumor.

On July 22 she was operated on for a brain tumor. She is in a private hospital in Cyprus and has received excellent care there. Her Cyprus friends helped her choose the doctor and hospital. The surgeon said he got all of the tumor. Tissue samples were sent to Germany for testing, but Rae does not know the results of the biopsy yet.

She has international health insurance covering the hospital and doctor. The tumor affected her motor nerves: she has no use of her left arm and leg. Rae will need 24/7 home care assistance and physical therapy. There is considerable brain swelling from the surgery that needs to go down. So far it hasn't. She has been put into a 'coccoon' state to relax her body to get the brain swelling down. That means no visitors or phone calls. Travel back to the US is out of the question as a plane ride would kill her. Once the swelling goes down she can begin physical therapy for her arm and leg, which may last 3-4 months or longer.

As my husband wrote to our mutual high school friends: There are 3 things we never want to hear about old friends; they died, they are very sick, they need money. Jeep has 2 out of 3.

I have spoken with her several times since her operation. At first she did not want her friends to know this, but she has now given me permission to tell certain people. She is worried about people being offended because she didn't get in touch with them herself. She asked me to email you two but at this time she does NOT want you to share this info with other mutual friends. I do not know why, but that was her request.

As you can well imagine, this has been very difficult and emotional for her. When we talk, I am amazed at her upbeat spirit. For the most part she sounds great, has her speech and mental faculties, and sense of humor. But she also gets teary and overwhelmed with everything she has to deal with on her own. You know, Rae has no blood relatives. Although she will have access to her computer once she gets back to her apartment, she said she does not know if she will be ready to respond to emails or take phone calls. I will be happy to keep you updated.

Rae needs our support, prayers, and blessings. Rae wants only positive energy in the universe regarding her condition.

Please feel free to call or email me with any questions you may have. We live in Scottsdale, Arizona & my phone # is ...

Bunny Tarquinio

From: Bunny Tarquinio
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 2:51 PM
Subject: Rae

Dear Barbara and Lois,

I don't know if you have been on anyone else's email list about Rae, so I will bring you up to date. The news is not good.

The tumor is malignant and the doctor did not get all of it. The rest is inoperable. Rae is refusing treatment such as chemo and radiation. As you know from my previous email, she has been discharged from the hospital and had to move into a different apartment to accommodate a wheelchair and her live in helper.

This information was just learned when the biopsy report came back late last week. It wasn't until yesterday that Rae agreed that the truth about her condition could be told and that it is okay to share this info with anyone and everyone who may know her. I don't know if she understands everything about her condition. I have been in touch with her friends who have had long detailed conversations with her doctor.

Her stay in the Cyprus hospital was good for the care she received, but not good for her emotionally. Her insurance was 'travelers' insurance and they fought having to pay the hospital and doctor as they said it was pre-existing. They finally did come thru and pay but the doctor hounded her every day about payment. The insurance company refused to pay any further for her hospital care so she was released. Rae spent hours on the phone arguing with the insurance company to get them to pay the hospital and doctor.

All this has led to increased swelling which puts her life at risk. The swelling has to go down before she can fly. The goal is to get her back to the US. My husband and I have agreed to have her live with us as she wants to get treatment in Scottsdale at the Jin Shin Jyutsu center here. Her cancer is a very aggressive type and there is no known treatment that works. It does not look good, we can only pray she makes it back here.

As you know, she has asked me to fund raise for her. I am not good at this, but I agreed to do my best. So if you can just share the truth of her condition with others and let them know about her financial needs to pay for her care givers, and any future care she can get, that would be great. No amount is too small. Once she gets here we will get her on Hospice and see what treatments Medicare will pay for. I doubt if that includes alternative methods.

I believe you both have my address and contributions should be made out to Rae Anderson.

I will update our high school friends this weekend. We leave in an hour for the Chicago area and our 50th high school reunion.

We all want the best for Rae, whatever her future holds. Keep praying for her.


From: Bunny Tarquinio
Subject: Rae Anderson/Jeep
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 09:20:28 -0700

Dear Friends of Rae, Jeep to most of us,

It is with great sorrow to inform you that Rae/Jeep died this morning. How sad for us. Jeep was a person that counted to us. We plan to be with her in our next life time.

Rae woke up this morning, had breakfast and seemed to be feeling OK. She started to complain of difficulty breathing and her caregiver, Emily, rushed her to the hospital where they did everything they could for her. She suffered cardiac arrest and passed away around 10AM Cyprus time.

I actually spoke with Rae yesterday morning, Sept. 1. I just felt I needed to hear her voice. It was early evening for Rae and I told her not to talk, but just to listen. I told her about the outpouring of love I received for her from her high school classmates at our 50th reunion this past weekend. I told her what a wonderful time everyone had and how people came up to me to share stories about her with me. I heard wonderful memories and told her as much as I could remember and mentioned as many people that asked me about her as I could. Jeep expressed her gratitude for the comfort of knowing she had a home to come to, friends she could rely on, and said to send her love to everyone.

Rae was tired and her voice was weak but she was overwhelmed with love for everyone.

Your checks have not been deposited. They were going to the bank today. Now, I will shred them.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your very generous support of our loved one lost.

Bunny and George


Rae Anderson was the only woman I have known who never changed her hair style. What you saw was what you got. Her simple page-boy cut was like a logo. Physically, Rae was short, energetic, and smiling. She was in constant motion, even when she was sitting still. There was always something moving. I remember the flutter of her foot as she sat in a group in conversation. The only time I saw her still was when she was in her Chi Gung meditation. Even her Chi Gung meditation was, in one form, a “walking meditation” that drew in energy from the disciplined motion of walking.

Some time during high school, when nicknames were becoming popular, I got named Gooch. Nearly all of my close friends called me that. Jeep, however, took to calling me “Mole.” When I would call her and say, “Hi Jeep” I would get that cheerful burst, “Hey Mole!” I have no idea where it originated, but it was something I never got tired of hearing her say. That originality is something I cherished in Jeep. She also had an intensity to her conversation. She would often deliver a sentence with emphasis, but in a way that it sounded like a discovery and a very serious one at that. She would lean into her conversation, and you would feel that you were the only two people in the universe.

In high school, the image of Jeep and her house were inseparable from that of her grandmother Faye. Faye, with her loose flowing clothing, long gray hair, and her own high energy, was iconic for some of us. Her tastes were different, and she soon had us longing for Lusianne chickory flavored coffee and English Ovals cigarettes (as a change from our usual brands — we were smokers back then). Faye raised Jeep and influenced her. I could see Faye in Jeep later in life. The free-spirit.

Rae was a singer. She sang in the high school chorus and the small ensemble. Every time I had contact with her later, in New York in the late 60’s, in San Francisco in the eighties, and even in the last year or so when she was in Europe, we would eventually talk about her music. She sang motets and sang in small cozy groups. Later, most recently, she was singing jazz in a group in SF. She took it very seriously. She had a piano in her small apartment, and used it a lot. The only time we went to an event together was to see the San Francisco opera perform "The Italian Woman in Algeria." It was a good experience because Jeep would approach music on an emotional level, and her response to it was spontaneous.

There were gaps of time when we would be out of touch. I saw her in New York, Staten Island, in the late sixties. We talked from time to time on the phone after that. We had Lake Forest College in common. Jeep went there directly from high school, and I followed her two years later; followed her in the sense that I had asked her about the college and she made it sound good. Later, almost two decades later, I was connecting with another Lake Forest Alumna and she mentioned Rae Anderson was living near her in San Francisco. We ended up back in touch with long telephone conversations. When I moved over to Vienna, Rae and her friend Barbara came to visit for a few days. We wandered the city together, Rae, Barb, Bette, and me. Jeep’s enthusiasm about Vienna — the differences between the US and Europe — probably played a role in her wanting to live for a while on that side of the ocean.

When Bette died, I spent hours talking with Rae on the phone. She was a huge comfort during that time, and we talked a lot about our feelings about loss and dying. We agreed then that we were both content with our lives and would have no regrets if we were to die at any given moment. She was living each moment of her life in a meaningful way, meaningful to her. It was during the time of these conversations that Barbara Mansfield died, followed closely by Sheila Regan. (I can only think of them with their high school names). That whole period was one of big losses for both of us.

Rae was a very spiritual person. She was influenced very much by Chinese thought, particularly Chi Gung. She lived in the present, and lived simply. She was not a materialistic person. Her possessions were few, and she carried what was important to her inside her. She lived in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, a very popular place for tourists, and bordering some very wealthy districts. She didn’t seem out of place at all. I think the attraction was its nearness to Chinatown and her meditation group. I visited her once for a weekend, and we walked the hills – I should say that I tried to keep up with her as SHE walked the hills. She was very fit, which makes her sudden decline even more tragic. Her diet was big in soups, steamed vegetables, and other healthy fare. I remember, when I stayed with her, I was desperate to go out and get some food I could “chew on”. She was game, and we enjoyed some fine French cooking right there in her neighborhood.

While it’s sad that she has left us so suddenly, I am confident that she had no regrets. She had acted, was in the process of acting, on her dream. She was in a place surrounded by new friends, and a beautiful place that she said she liked very much. I am very sorry that I was not able to share that place for a bit with her, and I miss her very much already.

“Hey Mole,…bye!”

George Thoeming

Rae and I became friends through renting in the same apartment building in San Francisco. At the time she was a computer trainer. Though she enjoyed her work for the most part, it was not by any means her passion. What brought her great joy, and the activity to which she was deeply committed was. . .singing! At one point it was singing solo jazz compostions, at another it was singing as part of her chorus.

She also loved participating in activities that combined an element of spirituality with body movement, like taichi and chi-kung. Rae had a heart brimming with love for others. She would think about and discuss ways to make the world a better place to live in and how to be in harmony with those around her. Her great dream was to, one day, live in a community of friends where all would help one another and share resources.

Our Rae was a very loving soul, and all those who met her could not but love her in return.

That is why today, as the sad news of her death circulates, I, and no doubt several other of Rae's friends contact one another by phone and email wanting to know just what happened — how? when? why? We all also need to commiserate in sharing our loss.

I knew Rae, in all, some 25 years. Though I left SF in 1995 to move to Nice, France, Rae and I remained in touch. Her dream was to live abroad and we would talk many a time about the day she would actually make the move. Then, just a bit over a year ago, she took the great leap. In fact, part of her transition was to spend a couple of months here in Nice. We had a wonderful time together, and those are the memories I shall hold to heart.

Though she could never have thought her time abroad would be so brief, Rae did get to live her great wish. My deep regret is that, as a result, she was far from us all in Cyprus when this merciless brain cancer took her life. But, even in her brief time there, Rae made "friends" with those she met and they were by her side.

Attached are a couple of pictures I have of Rae while in Europe—one in the UK before she came to Nice, and the other here at the cascade on Chateau Hill.

Louella Santobello

Ever since I've known Rae, she was always ready for a new adventure, so it is not surprising that near the end of her life she picked up and moved to Europe, where she looked forward to new and challenging experiences. Rae and I met and fell in love in 1969. That year we traveled all around the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec and then visited the old city of Quebec. We also climbed Mt. Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Later that year we traveled to the Pacific Northwest, where we hiked on Mount Rainier, on Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains, and in the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula. Back in New York, we lived in the East Village, where we shared our love of music, laughter, and great friends. The musical high point of those years was singing together in Harold Brown's Renaissance chorus. In 1975 we embarked on another great adventure—our relocation to the West Coast. We considered Boulder, Colorado and Seattle, but decided on the San Francisco Bay Area. We were married in 1976 in the Marin County Civic Center, a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Our marriage ended in 1982 but we remained friends. Two years ago I had dinner with Rae in San Francisco, the last time I saw her. I spoke to her on the phone last Christmas. She was in Cyprus then, and sounded happy to be there. That was the last time I talked to her. I was totally shocked and saddened to receive news of her death.

Stephen Feinstein

Our memories were of Rae and Steve together, and of a trip to Marin county where among our tours we went to a seaside park, the site of the giant earthquake with watercress growing in the creek which was the SA fault, and the other dislocations there.

Rae was a great hostess, and I think she was happy there. I was so happy to see her here 7/17/05, never thinking it could be my last.

She had such a large spirit, which couldn't deny the sadness she also experienced. Blame and recrimination didn't seem a part of her, just a putting everyone at ease. Her memory does that.

Sig Rosen

I imagine Louella and I were the last of Rae's American friends to see her since we were all together in Nice last November. It was a glorious time—low season with few tourists on the long, long beach but still sunny. Rae had a room on the Place Garibaldi, a beautiful large square, in the apartment of Josette, a Frenchwoman who speaks English. I was in a nearby hotel.

Rae and I usually met for coffee in the morning at an Italian place downstairs from her digs before going off on excursions. We often took buses into the ritzy hills of the French Riviera to see a view or a castle or something having to do with Matisse. The bus rides cost only one Euro and we usually packed sandwiches.

Rae had been telling me for years that I had inspired her to become an ex-patriate in Europe and I am happy she could live out her dream. It took a lot of planning and arranging. If I had to pick one word to describe her, it would be "game." New experiences, a different life, something deeper than what a tourist experiences.

Before coming to Nice, Rae had been with friends in Duesseldorf for six weeks where her routine included going to the bakery, riding a bike along the Rhine and taking German classes, the kind where a motley assortment of immigrants shows up. Game.

I am happy she is in Cyprus for eternity. Rae did not belong to Lake Forest or San Fran or New York: she belonged to the world.

During the three weeks I was in Nice, she would sometimes quote to me from a book she was reading on the history of the Mediterranean. In the middle of "between the lands": that is the right place for her.

Barbara Young