“Tall women playing volleyball get a lot of attention.” Bone Bernau, Florida State PhD student in Art Education, got plenty of attention back in December of 1994 when she was invited to play a Sunday game in Tallahassee. Alan noticed the statuesque woman, but he didn’t compete with the other guys for her attention. Instead, he rode his bicycle to the post-season party a few weeks later and finagled Bonne to drive him home. “He kissed me on the back of the hand. That’s when it began.” Twenty-two years later the couple is still together, though rarely in the same place. “We’ve only lived together for four years, and three of those were during my cancer.”
Bonne was diagnosed with Stage Three breast cancer shortly after she moved to DC. She attributes her remission to an extraordinary combination of traditional and alternative care. “My eastern healer was with me during my double mastectomy and reconstruction, six hours of surgery. She sat at my head with her hands positioned on either side. In recovery, the anesthesiologist came to tell me he had never seen such even brain waves during surgery. He didn’t need to tell me that; it was my healer.”
In 1999 Bonne returned to Florida to care for her parents and became an art educator at University of Florida’s Harn Museum or Art. “The arts help us examine who we are as human beings, even when we don’t have the words to express it.” Alan remained in DC until 2014, when he returned to Tallahassee to care for his mother.
After retirement, Bonne decided to stay in Gainesville. “One of the things that keeps me in Gainesville is the energy. A lot of old hippies have stayed. A lot of young people have stayed here and started entrepreneurial ideas. We are doing what we love, making a living at it, and helping people in the process.”
Bonne and Alan are a couple for the long haul, through disease and job change and aging parents. Having the same address is immaterial to their bond.
How will we live tomorrow?