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Margaret Wood will share stories and memories of her time with Georgia O’Keeffe as part of the Authors Speak Series at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 in the upstairs rotunda of Mesa Public Library.
In 1977, Wood began a five-year stay as companion and caretaker to then 89-year-old Georgia O’Keeffe.
There were no sign posts in the village in those years and few markers for a young woman managing the complex role as companion to a woman of O’Keeffe’s stature, who nonetheless was now dependent on others to maintain the independent life she had cultivated.
Growing and preparing food was one of O’Keeffe’s greatest pleasures, with the artist mentoring her young caregiver on the art of gardening and cooking. Wood and O’Keeffe often walked the red hills of Ghost Ranch in early evenings.
The artist had a reputation of living a secluded life, but in fact enjoyed welcoming a host of visitors to her home. Wood shares anecdotes about these social exchanges, along with a treasure trove of stories intimately shared in her new book, “Remembering Miss O’Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiu.”
The stories in her memoir read as quiet meditations on the life paths of two women at different stages of life, a world-renowned artist and someone just finding her way in a new environment and culture.
Wood’s new book was first published as a limited letterpress edition by The Press at the Palace of the Governors. For the Palace Press’s version, titled, “O’Keeffe Stories,” master artist Barry Moser created a woodcut image of O’Keeffe.
The book is now also available in a trade edition published by the Museum of New Mexico Press.
Wood has also written “A Painter’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe” (Museum of New Mexico Press).
Since 1988, she has been a speech-language pathologist in Santa Fe with a focus on the elderly. She also writes short stories.
The Authors Speak Series is a monthly event featuring local and statewide authors speaking about their writing on a variety of subjects such as local and state history, travel, outdoor activities, New Mexico fiction, history and culture, poetry and more.
The Friends of Mesa Public Library fund the series. The talks are free and begin at 7 p.m., followed by the opportunity to meet the authors and enjoy refreshments. Some authors may participate with book sales and signings.