Friday, June 8, 2018

Happy Birthday

The VW was sitting in the parking lot when I was there this afternoon and it gave me a little pang.

Today would have been Peach's birthday (80th, I think) and when she was still living here in California, what she wanted was a green VW.  When she and Bob got a reverse mortgage, he got the truck he'd always wanted and she got her green VW.

It was odd that she wanted her own car.  She was not a big driver.  In fact, I remember when she first got her driver's license.  Whenever we went out driving, when she came to an intersection, she would stop cold and if there was a car she could see in any direction--even a couple of blocks away, she would wait until the car passed before she moved.  (She lived in kind of a remote area, so there was rarely a line-up behind her.)  As an adult, I rarely saw her drive until Bob had his stroke, and then it turned out to be a good thing that she had her little VW.  It was her daily visits to Bob that got him through the stroke that few thought he would survive.

(I thought Bob would die not long after Peach did, they were so close but he, too, has Alzheimers and I guess that is keeping him going.)

(with daughter, Karen)

Peach and I were friends almost from birth.  She was 3 yrs older than I but there are photos of us together when I was, say, 2.

(with our cousin Ken)
I remember visiting her when she spent a year in a boarding school in San Francisco, when she was maybe 10.

When I was in grammar school, my mother and Peach's mother did a month-long cousin exchange once a year.  I would spend 2 weeks in the country with Peach while her sister spent 2 weeks in the city with my sister Karen, then we'd switch.

So many memories of those days!  I remember going to school with her once and so excited to think about when I would be in high school and would study mythology, because she was studying it and obviously we would have the same curriculum (we never did study mythology)

I remember sitting under the weeping willow on her front lawn harmonizing to "You Are my Sunshine."  I remember the very hot day (well over 100) when we were walking home from "the little store", standing in the middle of the street while she braided my hair (I don't know why!). 

I remember when we visited our grandmother and spent long hours up in a tree eating apples and talking about life, or swatting bees as we picked blackberries.

I remember being older and going on a date with one of Bob's best friends (Peach swore he never married because he was carrying a life-long torch for me, which I don't believe at all!)  I remember making an anniversary dinner for her parents, where we colored all the food (red potatoes?) making things so inedible, my uncle had to take my aunt out to dinner (because we had  eaten all the normal-colored leftovers in the fridge while we were cooking).  I remember onion and mustard sandwiches over endless games of canasta.

I remember being maid of honor at her wedding.  When her son Mike was born I was his godmother
We had a period of a couple of decades where we were estranged because she didn't like being a mother of small children and my growing family was too painful a reminder of those days for her.
We reconnected and then came those wonderful years of Cousins Days that we spent with our cousin Kathy and my mother, once a month for about four years.  

I remember flying to Iowa as she was about to begin chemo for her breast cancer, staying 2 weeks to be as supportive as I could.  Other than the cancer, it was a wonderful time for us to bond and when we had our last deep conversation the day before I left, I knew I would never see her again.
Now Peach is gone and Kathy is gone and my mother is as good as gone and on their birthdays, I get kind of misty eyed remembering the decades when we were close.

Happy birthday, Peach.  I hope you're getting together with all the family that has gone before me.....

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