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Remembering 'Beato'

March 21, 1998

I was moved by the article Garth Clark wrote on Beatrice Wood ("A True Romantic, and Pragmatist," March 16). As she was a dear friend and an inspiration, I often wondered what was her secret to long life. Her response: "Young men and chocolate!"

Beato was an honorary member of our Goddess Gang, a gaggle of women in search of balance, being in the world and of it as well. We would gather around her at her studio and laugh and eat and listen. Beato had a wonderful way of listening. As her hearing waned, so did her tolerance for pontification. She didn't take herself too seriously; she was an observer of people and contrasts. It was her irreverence that kept her going. She had no fear of death.

Several years ago, Beatrice was there for me when my husband was threatened with cancer. She openly shared her own travails and soothed me with the knowledge that she was speaking in past tense. During this difficult time, Beato threw an outdoor bash for my husband. A celebration of his health and recovery. Nothing was mentioned about sick or well, no pity was aroused. Beato arranged the seating herself. At the center table she placed herself with my husband on her left and men all around. Before we sat down she whispered in my ear, "I adore your husband, can I keep him?" "No," I said, "but you can borrow him for tonight." And that she did!

Although her art is a glorious reminder of her spirit, we could not keep her, only borrow her for a lovely while. For that we are truly blessed.

CAREN KAYE

Pacific Palisades

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