Praised be and halleluyah! It’s amazing what a character can do when she sets her mind to it. I have totally locked Ruth out— at least for now. I get to have my say, and today is a perfect day to start. July 11th. Mim’s birthday.

What year is it now? 2013? That would make Mim 117 years old today. Of course, she died long ago. I’ll get to that sad part later because I outlived her, although not by much.

Foolish me, I don’t mean to be starting at the end. Let me try this again. I am here to tell you everything about Mim from 1912 through the rest of her life. Well, almost everything. There are some things I still don’t know about my dear friend and never will, and other things I refuse to reveal. A lady has her principles.

I am that lady. Florence Steinbacher. Call me Florrie. I’m 54 years old (Ruth never let me get any older), but I can remember Mim at 16 as if it were yesterday. You remember being 16, don’t you?florrie-paris

Hmmm…. Maybe you’re not even 16 yet. My, I’ll have to watch my manners. Pull up a chair. I’ve ordered a dry sherry; you might want a lemonade. Delighted to meet you. We’ll have a divine time together. This is my favorite picture of myself. Paris 1934. Mim was with me then, when we had that unfortunate incident with her mother.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I have so much to tell you. And I’ve brought along postcards and photographs and all sorts of memorabilia to show you. Have you read the part about Mim in Ruth’s book, Blue Thread? Truth to tell, I have not. I wouldn’t dream of sneaking behind Mim’s back and learning things she hadn’t the inclination to tell me herself. True friends don’t do that. And Miriam Josefsohn was the truest friend I ever had.

Please do come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about those first moments when we met again at the train depot in Oakland. November 7, 1912, two days after women got the right to vote in Oregon. Mim was running away from home, poor dear. The votes for women card she’d printed on her father’s presses got her into a peck of trouble, which, I admit, was to my advantage. Now we’d be together in Berkeley with my aunt and uncle, because I had no intention of returning to my parents in Portland when the term at Anna Head was over. Boarding schools can offer such adventures.

I had such plans for us then. Until I saw Mim.

Tomorrow then? Same place? I’ll bring Mim’s votes for women card. You bring your imagination.

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