I am writing this after tossing and turning in bed for the past hour or so, not able to sleep -- again. I have not forgotten the recipes from the gift bag that I said I would give you, but that will come later.
This childhood friend has been on my mind recently, and tonight her sister-in-law called me. I was so surprised as we had not kept in contact for many years, and really only acquaintances so we never did call each other to visit.
This all started just before Christmas. The childhood friend, her name is Marilyn, and I have always kept in touch every Christmas with a card and letter. I did not get one from her a year ago and thought it odd but did nothing about it. I sent another one this year and after a week or more it came back to me saying the time was up for forwarding, and there was a new address listed for Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and she and her husband had lived in Columbus, Ohio for decades.
So now I am wondering what is going on. Why did they move to Wisconsin? So I thought I better do some checking. I first looked on Facebook as I remembered her husband had a page there some time ago but did not post much. That page is no longer there. She wasn't much for computers but I did find her page, with very little on it and nothing recent at all.
They had one daughter, so I found her on Facebook, and she is living in Eau Claire, so thought maybe Marilyn and her husband moved there to be closer to her. The daughter has never married. I sent a friend request to her. In the meantime, I realized that maybe Marilyn had died. I vaguely remembered she was having some health issues. So I did a google search and yes, I found her obituary, as well has her husband's. He had died a few months before she did.
The daughter did accept my friend request. I wasn't sure she would recognize my name as we have never met, but she did remember the name from the Christmas cards. Her cousins happened to see my posts on her page, and they asked the sister-in-law who called me, if she knew a Lorita. Of course she did! So that is why she called me, and to see if the daughter had responded to my request.
All this has stirred up many memories of our childhood. She was one month older than me, but she got to start school the year before I did because her birthday came before the cut-off date and mine came after.
We both grew up on farms about 2 miles apart, going to the same school and the same church. Her parents were friends with mine, but not the kind that came to visit. I guess Mom arranged play dates for us since I was an only child. Marilyn had two older brothers so she was the only girl in the family. I don't think the term 'play date' had been coined yet, but that is what it was. When little girls we played with dolls, played dress up in some of Mom's clothes, and did what little kids do.
I spent quite a bit of time at her house, and often that was because my parents had to go somewhere for a day or two, and I was in school, so I stayed at Marilyn's house during that time.
As we grew into teenagers, and not in the same class, we didn't spend as much time together. And then she went away to college while I started my senior year of high school, and the following fall I was married and started moving around to other towns. I did ask her to be one of the baptism sponsors when my son was born, so we did keep in contact.
I think maybe the last time we saw each other was at her wedding a few years later, and then they moved to Ohio and did not come back to our home town very often, and neither did I.
As I talked with her sister-in-law, I found that Marilyn needed a kidney transplant but never got one soon enough. She spent the last year or so in a nursing home. It starts to really hit home that you are getting older when your childhood friends begin to leave this world, knowing that one of these times it will be you that leaves.
It is a shame that we never got to see each other again over the years. So if you have friends or family that you have not seen for awhile, why not contact them and try to meet soon, if at all possible, before it is too late. I have missed opportunities to visit with relatives and now they are gone. You don't have to be as old as I am to do this. My daughter just went to the funeral of a good friend that died of a heart attack and he was only 49. We each get so wrapped up in our busy lives that we never make time to visit like we used to. Sure we may be in contact through Facebook or email, but that is not enough. That is one reason why I am trying to set up this family reunion for the summer. If nothing else, call up an old friend and have a visit on the phone.