I (heart) San Francisco

So I’m in San Francisco until Saturday, partly for vacation and partly for the Education Writers Association conference. Today was vacation day, and Harold and I spent it with my cousin Susan and her husband, Ed.

I haven’t really spent time with Susie since we were teens and I’ve only seen her once or twice in the past three decades.  But after I booked the EWA conference, I called Susan, who now lives in San Jose, and suggested that we get together. She was enthusiastic about the idea, and she and her husband took the day off work to pick us up at the airport and onto a tour of Frisco. We had an absolutely delightful time, and it was great to see her and meet her husband. Definitely a day well-spent, and I’m hugely grateful to Susan and Ed for taking the time and energy to show us around.

The shadow over the day was cast by news about my good friend and longtime co-worker, Charlotte Channing. She was the longtime political reporter for the Gazette and was the editorial page editor from 2000 until February 2009, when she took a buyout from the paper during one of its downsizing modes. Although she’s only 51, she’s had a series of health problems since then and landed in the hospital last week with acute liver failure. That turned into multiple organ failure,and then serious and irreversible brain damage.

Today came word that her family had arranged for last rites to be performed today and then they were going to remove her from life support, although it was unclear whether she would die quickly or linger indefinitely or something in between.

Charlotte wasn’t a close friend, but she was a GOOD friend in every sense of the word. We worked together for 20 years and she was always one of my favorite people in the newsroom — wicked smart and wickedly funny.  We were both political and news junkies, and spent lots of time over the years jawing over the latest political news. When I was in the hospital, she came to see me and brought an orchid that is still blooming in my dining room. The last time we had lunch together, we compared health notes and laughed about how our bodies were betraying us at such a young age.  But while her health problems were serious, they didn’t appear to be life-threatening, and to hear that she’s dying is a real shock. I will miss her tremendously.

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