Friday, January 23, 2015

Dr. Jane's Cabin

Jane Paxson was raised Quaker, and though she never practiced the religion, she lived it all her life.
A kinder more gentle, loving soul I never met. When Jane graduated from UC medical school it was the depression. There was no work for most people, let alone women doctors. Still she rented a large upstairs office on Solano in Albany, Ca.
With few patients trickling in, she played solitaire to pass the hours.
With time her practice grew and grew. When she realized one day she had delivered over 2,000 babies, the school population of Albany High, she quit that part of her practice but still had a booming business. I imagine she delivered many babies gratis. That was her style. I was lucky enough to have her as my doctor and my friend for over forty years.
Early in her career she purchased property north of Calistoga on Macaama creek. It was very rural in those days. The creek featured a wonderful swimming hole. The woods were thick with oak and laurel.  The poison oak thrived. The outhouse was decorated with poetic inscriptions. With no electricity or running water, it was rustic as well as secluded. Each July she retreated there for a month to renew herself. The rest of the year it was available to her friends. Lee and I spent many enchanting weekends there, and even once got flooded in. "Macaama" as we called it, is dear to my heart. I hope to travel there this spring and see if it still stands.
In my sketching class Wed. the homework was to draw a house or barn. What better memory to evoke! I miss you, Jane. You touched my life in such a tender and deep way. So did your cabin. When nothing is left of me but ashes, I hope someone will deposit me by the big rock in that creek.

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