Fireflies at Twilight: Letters from Pat Adams
edited by Cate Adams & Carole Milks Turner

First Person Publications, 2014. ISBN 978-0-984-72765-0.
Reviewed by Lee Ambrose
Posted on 01/15/2015

Nonfiction: Memoir

From the obituary for Patsy Ann Adams:

Patsy Ann Adams was born to George Arthur Sarow and Lucile Rose (Elmer) Sarow in a blizzard on January 20th 1951... Patsy loved animals, her gardens, reading, and writing... In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to New Glarus Public Library where Patsy spent countless hours and found many of her beloved stories."

In a brief eight chapters (and all of 163 pages), editors Cate Adams and Carole Turner have turned Pat Adams from an unknown entity into someone who feels like a "dear, trusted friend." This collection of postcard scripts, emails and handwritten letters is as personal as writing gets. By the time I finished Fireflies at Twilight I wanted to spend just a little more time with the woman whose words were so wise, so warm, so vital—even as she was being ravaged by the cancer that was slowly claiming her.

"Sometimes I feel as if I were in a cocoon, waiting to emerge and fly" write Pat Adams as she speaks of her hospice experience. Readers soon discover that she was one remarkable woman, who loved life, nature, people, quiet times, reading, gardening, and any number of other activities that allowed her to get in touch with her very core. And, almost as much as she loved these things, she loved sharing her joy in these things with others.

In this little book, we find descriptions of the pictures on the fronts of postcards and the handwritten note on the flip side. We also find emails—some lengthy, some succinct. And handwritten notes and letter. It is clear that Pat Adams relished her time visiting with dear friends and family through her notes and letters.

How telling our most personal notes and emails can be to others... Pat Adams' notes certainly are a testament to that fact! As someone who carefully chooses stationary and note cards for the recipient to match to mood or reason for the note, I appreciated the sharing not only of Pat's thoughts but the descriptions of the cards on which she penned her thoughts.

The contents of these notes and letter are untouched—there are no misspellings in her notes unless they were intentional. But if you are looking for a refined literary work, you won't find it here. What you will find is honesty, warmth, candor, humor, love, an eye for the things of nature, and a sincerity that cannot be denied. I share just a few gems with you here:

I've been enjoying all different bird songs when I go outside. So good to be in the sun. Do you ever go out and just sit and enjoy it?

Don't read my journals if you should find them in the attic—just toss them... Take care of my books. Read, read... Just remember me with kindness, please. Have fun for me. Love each other.

In my hammock, resting my back. Writing and reading a library book (naturally). I feel as if I am perfecting my leisure life this summer.

This is a perfect day. I've been weeding flowerbeds. I do love weeding; part meditation, I think.

I didn't want this book to end, for with its ending came a sense of a visit with a close friend coming to a close before you are ready for it to do so. Fireflies at Twilight gives readers a certain peace and calm that is all to rare in today's hectic world. Pat Adams knew how to find beauty and peace and joy in the simple things of life—and how to share that with those she loved most. I'm so glad that her daughter Cate and friend Carole found her words worthy of sharing with the rest of us.

Editor Carole Turner met Pat Adams in 1975 and knew her intimately by the time she (Pat) lost her battle with the disease that would claim her life. Editor Cate Adams is Pat's oldest daughter. Together they have preserved the very essence of who Pat was and what she valued most in life. Visit their Facebook page.

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