Today marks one month since Pam posted to her blog. Life tends to take turns in unexpected ways. This past month was like that in several ways…
Pam B. Newberry, a little older than 61, of Virginia was reported missing and presumed lost at sea on September 14, 2018. Her brother, Archie, called Pam’s husband, Albert, and was not able to speak with him. “I think she left for Ireland or maybe even Scotland,” Archie said. You should talk with Pam’s daughter, Julie.
After checking the airlines, and not finding Pam’s name among those listed. Julie told us she contacted various cruise lines. She said, “It wouldn’t surprise me that she hitched a ride on a cruise ship making its way across the Atlantic for the winter. I talked with her neighbors. They said they saw my Dad leave with several bags in tow.”
Then, one of Pam’s BFFs called. “I gave Pam a ride to the Charlotte airport where she got a plane. The weather was not too bad that day. She let me video her getting out my car. She was so happy to be going on a trip. She loved to travel, you know even though she was scared of flying. But, now, I’ve not heard from her. I have no idea where she is. She promised she would write me once she arrived wherever she was going. She wouldn’t tell me where. I’m worried.”
Albert, a retired Public Safety Director for the little hamlet where he and Pam have a seven-acre farm told a neighbor the day before he was seen leaving, “Pam and I like trying or experiencing different things—we’re Renaissance people. It seems no one really knows what someone would or could do if given the chance. Including me after being married to Pam for over forty-years.”
A high school chum of Pam’s said, “I saw her car at Lover’s Leap along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You don’t think they jumped, do you?” Another called and admonished Julie. “Do you know where she is? Why would you let her disappear like that?”
The neighbor said Albert seemed calm about the fact Pam hadn’t been seen since he came back from an errand in town. He said, “I was with her most of that day. When I last spoke with her before I had to run to Lowe’s for an errand, she said she would make us a gourmet meal. She loved cooking, trying new recipes, and enjoying a glass of wine while she worked in her kitchen wearing one of her many aprons she collected over the years. I miss my wife.”
Jean said, “As her sister-n-law, she told me things she didn’t always tell others. She always wanted to learn to fly. She went to the airport alright. She got a plane alright. But, it wasn’t a commercial plane. She rented a two-seater, and she took off over the ocean. She wanted to be like Amelia Earhart. She is an independent woman who wanted to go to Ireland.”
When this news reporter called Julie asking about the rumor that Pam flew a plane to Ireland, she replied, “That’s plum foolish. She didn’t know how to fly. And, she has claustrophobia. Besides, she gets lost driving in town. If anything, she is doing a famous stained glass piece for some magical place. Or, she’s helping a community of free-spirits farming and living off the land. She loves growing her own food.”
She went on. “Did you know that she owned several restaurants in various parts of the country. And, she managed them all from home. She works magic with food. Her favorite place state-side is in Bolinas, California. Back in 1997, she setup a quaint little restaurant there. It is one of the best kept secrets of hers.”
Then, a fellow writing friend, Rosa said, “My friend was a comedy writer for variety shows and even received some awards using her pen name–Juan Day-Isle Gough. She did all sorts of technical writing gigs for some really big dudes in the northeast area. I imagine she’d become a YouTube sensation one day, given the chance. Her audio work is pretty impressive.”
Pam’s great-niece said, “I think she is hiding out in the John Muir woods or the Redwood Forests or she and Uncle Albert might be in the hidden world of the Great Smokey Mountains. Aunt Pam told me once that she loved the old growth forests the best. She said there weren’t many of them left, but I bet if she has the chance, she’d get herself a cabin there and you’d never see her or my Uncle again. They are constant companions and love each other. Neither one would go away without the other.”
That’s one story. Another is that for the past year and one-half Pam’s been gradually getting sicker and sicker fighting a hidden illness that conventional medicine did not know how to diagnose with the usual tests. It turned out to be a chronic condition that got worse over the course of twelve years. During that time, Pam had six colonoscopies and six endoscopes. Nothing was found. Yet, her symptoms persisted. And worsened. The inflammation was horrible and the pain severe. She often said that she knew in her heart of hearts she had cancer and they didn’t know how to find it.
One fateful day, it took a wise voice to change the course of her life. An understanding nurse practitioner suggested she try food allergy testing. She did. She learned that she was allergic to soy and sesame and all of the related products. Her symptoms were like having poison ivy in the lining of her digestive system from the top of her esophagus to the end of her colon and all points in-between. After learning how to remove soy and sesame from her diet, her life changed. For the first time in years, she wasn’t in constant pain or suffering from constant loss of blood.
The relief overwhelmed her. She took a break from the busy hustle-bustle of the world. It happened to coincide with Albert’s retirement and their fortieth anniversary. Two weeks away from all forms of communication, a piece of tranquility came over her. She decided to use this newfound free time to catch up on her writing. Her novel-writing had suffered the last six months. She was behind in meeting her deadline.
“Something strange happened,” she told me when this reporter reached her yesterday. Pam continued, “I found that weaning myself from feeling I had to do this or I had to do that freed me to love writing again. I was no longer chained to it. I was doing it because I loved doing it. I was free!”
This reporter asked, “Will there be other moments where you won’t be doing things you’ve done in the past. You know the kind of things I mean — get on FB, write your blog regularly, work on your current book, do your stained glass, work in your garden, be a gourmet cook — those kind of things?”
“Yes,” she said.
Update: Pam has written about a third of her new book. She is not going as fast as some would like, but she is having a wonderful time writing again.
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This post – “It has Been a Month…” was first posted on Saturday, October 13, 2018 on Pam’s Blog.