Thursday, 26 June 2008

Goodnight Edith

From the Seattle P-I:
Edith Macefield died at home, just the way she wanted.

The Ballard woman who captured hearts and admirers around the world when she stubbornly turned down $1 million to sell her home to make way for a commercial development died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. She was 86.

"I don't want to move. I don't need the money. Money doesn't mean anything," she told the Seattle P-I in October.

She continued living in the little old house in the 1400 block of Northwest 46th Street even after concrete walls rose around her, coming within a few feet of her kitchen window. Cranes towered over her roof. Macefield turned up the television or her favorite opera music a little louder and stayed put.

"I went through World War II, the noise doesn't bother me," she said in October. "They'll get it done someday."

Macefield's stubbornness was cheered by Ballard residents tired of watching the blue-collar neighborhood disappear under condominiums and trendy restaurants. Her story was picked up by the national news and spread around the world.

In the last year of her life, she forged an unlikely friendship with a kindred soul, Barry Martin, the senior superintendent on the construction project engulfing her home. They met when he started working at the site.

It started with an offer to drive her to the hairdresser, then a doctor's appointment. He made sure she had food, ran to get groceries for her, picked up prescriptions, cooked her dinner.

She had been ill off and on for the last year or so, recovering from a serious fall, and bouts of the flu. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in April.


WriterBee said...

That's such a beautiful and sad story. You have a great interest in community, don't you? The links human forge with each other and how important they are.

farmdoc said...

Most of the time, the forces of evil and darkness seem overwhelming. But every so often someone like Edith comes along and gives ordinary people spirit and hope. It'd be wonderful if her house was preserved and turned into a neighbourhood resource. But I doubt it will be. A wonderful story well told, Meg. xx