San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Longtime Nosara Resident Remembered

Dorothy Faxon Elstun died just over a year ago in June 2008. She got tired of  the wait and the pain of trying to recuperate from a broken hip at 92. One could describe Dos, as she liked to be called, with many words, but patient was not one of them.

I wish she had been able to stick around to see this kid Nadal play her favorite game like a genius. She herself played tennis until age 88.

I wish she had stayed to see Obama, whom she loved with a passion, win the presidency of her native United States. I am sure we would have toasted with a little something stronger than pineapple juice, but probably not with her favorite martini.

I wish she had remained so we could sing together some more; she had a  wonderful light soprano voice. One day I heard her singing “America the Beautiful”; she was confused and thought she was singing the national anthem. When I corrected her and sang “The Star-Spangled Banner,” she cried softly.

I wish I had met her sooner, when she still played the piano, sang, and drove her green car back and forth from Nosara.

When I met her at a Democrats Abroad meeting through my good friend Dorothy Sagel, she was already a widow. Dos and Maurice Elstun, a military man, moved to her beloved Nosara in the 1970s, and she lived there for at least 20 years. She had good friends in Nosara – Beverly Kitson, Bobby Johnson, Pam Lankester, Faith Burke and many more. Together they founded and supported the community library for the children of this small fishing village on the NicoyaPeninsula.

It was in Nosara, many years ago, that she met Victoria Juárez and her sisters. After so many years, these kind women took turns taking care of Dos in her last months. Carmen Juárez, a generous and gentle teacher with whom Dos was at her best, stayed by her side until the end.

Last month, the Juárez sisters and I celebrated Dos in the capital, rather than in her beloved Nosara. But she is with everyone whose life she touched. And she touched mine, for sure.

–Pilar Saavedra-Vela


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