Tonight, I'm going to do something a little different. I'm writing this blog in honor of a very dear, old friend of mine. We won't delve too deeply into the "how old" this friend is, but she is younger than me, that much I'll tell you.
I don't remember when I first met her, though I knew her brother throughout my entire 12 years of school here - until his very untimely death at about age 36, I think. A heart attack or heart problems - whatever, but let's face it, he was way too young, still plenty of things he could have/should have been doing.
I know I first met her though at the next-door-neighbor's home as Mrs. Little - the mother of the brood of 13 children who lived in the big house adjacent to ours was her aunt. Actually, since Mrs. Little had pretty much raised this girl's mother after their mother was killed in an automobile accident way, way back, she was more like a grandmother to her, than a great-aunt.
She was back then always a bit on the spunky side - a little daredevil at times I suppose could be used to describe her. Attitude all over the place was another thing she possessed then - and still does for that matter.
She lived down near Harrisburg, PA - Camp Hill - but usually came up here and would spend a few weeks next door and maybe a little time too with her paternal grandparents here in town - which is, by the way, where her older brother -my classmate - lived year-round.
Over the years, since I left home, married, moved back here so many things changed. She married too - had three children - we both divorced. But I rarely saw her as an adult.
At times, when around any of her first cousins from the Little family, her name would pop up and they would tell me what she was doing now, where she was living - little bits and pieces - snippets of her life but enough so that I had some idea what was going on from time to time with her.
I had, for years, referred to her one cousin and her husband, as "Aunt Helen Ann" and "Uncle Joe Benny" although we aren't related. And, as my kids came along, to help them learn who people were and keep the names straight from other folks, with respect to any of the children from the Little family, it became a habit, more like a tradition maybe, to attach the label of "aunt" or "uncle" when referring to any of them. To this day, my kids and I still do this so if I mention "Aunt Rose" or "Uncle Michael" we all know exactly who I am talking about - no confusion there whatsoever. And, we're teaching my grandchildren to call them all by those names too.
I mention this for two reasons - one being, as close as I felt to all of them growing up - they were like family to me then and today, they still are and two, so my readers will be able to better follow along with me in this piece now too.
The first time I saw her -this cousin of my former childhood neighbors - in many, many years was when I went to the viewing at the funeral home for "Aunt Lily" - one of the older girls of the Little family and the first of the thirteen who passed away too. I was surprised to see her there - not because I didn't think she would come up for either the viewing or the funeral, but rather because it just so happened she was there when I stopped by to pay my respects to the family.
I recognized her immediately as she did me and we hugged, grateful for the chance to meet again.
A while after that, I got my computer, began e-mailing and I don't recall now how it all came about but somehow we connected up again - via e-mail and the AIM instant messenger or MSN's messenger which we both used. I think I may have stumbled on her name and e-mail in a geneology query site online and recognized her from that but I'm not sure today how we managed to hook up our friendship again.
But, we did and for that, I am really pleased.
Any time we talk, or exchange e-mail notes, as I read them, not only do I picture her, but it brings up mental images in me of her brother, her aunt and uncle, cousins - all of them - and that always makes me feel really warm and fuzzy - so much better even than the old "fuzzy navel" can do to you, if you know what I mean there!
Tonight, I got an e-mail from her, telling me that she had begun to read my blog and really was enjoying following my day-to-day postings - keeping abreast a little with me and what's going on here - silly stuff like that, you know.
She's not a blogger herself - so no postings in the comments section from her will you be reading at this time - but it is so nice to know that someone out there in cyberspace is reading what I write and knows who or what place or event I am writing about because she's been here, maybe is related to someone I mention - or whatever! And I wanted to stop and take the time to thank her for letting me know this too!
So tonight - this particular post is dedicated to my good friend, Ki.
I'm so glad to have you visiting my blogsite kid. Just one other little way we can continue to keep in touch, isn't it?
Love ya kid - and hugs to you!