Monday, May 21, 2012

Gold Letter

This letter is worth is weight in gold to me.  Every little detail is treasure.  I'm sharing it for the people out there who knew my mom, and to encourage anyone and everyone to write letters like this to the families of those who leave us. This is the greatest gift.  

From my mom's childhood friend:

You did a wonderful job writing about your mom [in the obituary]. So many of the words, especially mischievous, made me smile with recognition. Especially as kids (and as adults!) I can remember that gleam in her eye and that devilish laugh. 

The other morning I just stayed in bed trying to remember everything, like I wanted to capture more memories and store them up in some safe place to return whenever I needed a smile. Here are a few of them, some fragments, but like all memories, very precious.

I met Kim when I was 7, she 8, and it was always a big deal (for her) that she was older that me- 1 year in school and 6 months to the day, Sept. 21st and March 21st. Sometimes when we hadn't seen each other in a long while a birthday would come along and we'd reconnect. This past year was a big one as we both turned 60.

I remember playing badminton in her backyard. The net seemed like it was set up for the whole summer. We'd play for a long time, and she was full of wisecracks especially when she made a bad shot and told me, "You should have been standing there." So simple- such fun.

I remember albums your Grandpa played. One in particular by Prez Prado (how do I remember this?) sticks out in my mind- "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White". I remember hearing music swell up the basement stairs as he played the saxophone. (I think it was the saxophone?)

I remember "The Kim & Lin Show". Planning for this event took weeks. Everything from planning acts, "lip-syncing" songs (no "karaoke" at the time), comedy sketches and dance routines, rehearsing in the garage, making tickets and programs, (yes, we actually charged for this), selling popcorn and Kool-Aid at intermission. One act that really stands out in my mind is your mom singing "Lazy Bones" while your Uncle Ken provided the backdrop lying with a big straw hat over his eyes and a piece of straw in his mouth.

I remember how your Grandma called your mom Kimmy. I loved that.

I remember your mom's pet rabbit that lived in a hutch next to the garage. I marvelled that her parents would let her have a rabbit. It was so cool! Sometimes we'd take her out and play with her (I think it was a her.) Her feet would go back and forth if your mom threw her up in the air and when she landed she'd make this soft noise. No, we weren't the kind of kids who tortured animals. It was just something we did and we'd laugh hysterically. I know, we were nuts.

I remember joining your mom at Vacation Bible School at her church. It was either a small Baptist or Bible church over on Central Road. We were a little older- 5th, 6th, 7th grade or so. Jesus songs, a play. It was different, but it was good.

I remember your mom was so cute. She could always pull off a short haircut and look adorable. She liked cute clothes- a little tailored, sporty. When we were really young we both had saddle shoes.

I remember your mom being my friend who liked to do more active things, not just Barbies, although she did have a great set of Wedding cut-outs or paper dolls. We'd throw the softball, practice cartwheels, and most importantly, ride bikes! We loved our bikes- always a ticket to adventure! Your mom's bike was royal blue with a little white trim. We'd go on these great bike trips into Mt. Prospect and Arlington Hts. and be gone for hours discovering different stores, libraries, parks, etc. We found this tropical fish store in Mt. Prospect, "The Aquarium", that we'd always check out. It had tons of fish tanks, each with a tiny handwritten sign taped to it reading, "Do not tap on the glass." They must have known we were coming! We'd wind up at Cock Robin in Arlington Heights and have ice cream to fuel us for our return trip. We thought we were very cool, and I still think so.

I remember in later years keeping up with your mom through my mom and your Grandma Shirley. They would see each other in the Jewel or occasionally get together and I'd always ask my mom, "How's Kim?"

I remember coming over to your townhouse in Schaumburg and your coming out to Palatine. We had a good time putting you kids together and seeing how it worked, laughing, and, as has been said, not taking anything too seriously. We took you to the pool and I helped your mom with a garage sale. 

I remember visiting Galena and passing your dad's law office and realizing that I needed to find out where in Galena your mom was. I walked in and did the "You don't know me, but" to your dad and he immediately dialed up your mom. It was great! Such a surprise! I went over and got to meet Amy.

I remember another time I was visiting Galena with my girlfriends. As we were leaving I insisted we go by your house. Perfect timing! There was your mom walking down the street. I jumped out of the van and gave her a hug. It was great!

I remember your mom coming out to Palatine one evening and sharing some wine as we sat on our little deck. We talked and laughed and my husband thought she was special too.

I remember visiting your mom in Sleepy Hollow. Last time I brought meat loaf sandwiches and she seemed to like that. The computer was always on for intermittent chats with you girls. We'd, as always shared and updated one another on "the kids". I enjoyed hearing about how Amy was doing- watching Idol, her camp, her home, watching Annie's news/weather videos, hearing about Al's wedding plans. She so passionately loves you girls. 

I remember, most recently, meeting your mom at California Pizza Kitchen in Arlington Heights. As usual, we picked up right where we left off. She was looking good and feeling good too- enjoying her longer hair, "softer", she said, and was proud of leaving the walker behind. We parted with a hug- I left for work, she for an appointment. I remember feeling grateful.

I still feel grateful. And very blessed. I love your mom very much and know she'll always be a part of me.


Unknown said...

what a lovely gift from Lin. Wow. Sweet.

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