Remembering Miss O’Keeffe: Stories from Abiquiu
In 1977, Margaret Wood was a twenty-four-year-old living an ordinary life in Lincoln, Nebraska. That year, her life changed as she came to Abiquiu, a remote village in northern New Mexico, where she began a five-year stay as companion and caretaker to then eighty-nine 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 so fiercely. 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 place where the artist experienced true freedom. 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. When Wood's father -- the photographer Myron Wood -- came to visit, he asked for and received permission to photograph O'Keeffe. A dozen of these historic images, published a decade later in the seminal publication, O'Keeffe's Abiquiu, are reproduced to complement Margaret Wood's quiet insights of life spent with O'Keeffe.