I got a phone call the other day from an old friend I haven't heard from in many years. After we talked a few minutes, she asked if she could come to see me. I am glad she called right before she got here because I was sound asleep. Dwight had to go check on something so he wasn't here. That was okay since he never really knew her. I met her so many years ago - I want to say late 70's to very early 80's because I have an old picture around here somewhere with Douglas in it and he was definitely not in school. I must have been working somewhere because I found this gentleman at home on Clarendon Street on a Saturday morning and placed a book with him. He expressed some interest so I followed up a week later and he expressed an interest in studying. We all sat on the porch steps and I started the study. I met the young woman he was to eventually marry as she was leaving for work. By then I had bought several fold up chairs for him to keep at the house for us to sit in on the porch for the study with the kids still setting on the steps. One day as his girlfriend was getting ready to leave for work, I asked her if she was interested in studying with us. When she said yes, we moved the folding chairs inside and I started studying with both of them. I had asked Brother McDowell if I should turn it over and he told me that since I was studying with both of them, he saw no problems with me continuing to conduct the study. I started taking other people with me and the kids on the study and they continued to be prepared and were excellent students. We used to have a nice sofa in the bathroom at the Hall and when they got rid of it, I asked if I could give it to them for their very bare living room. They agreed so now we had a sofa and the folding chairs. I invited them to attend one day of an assembly with me and they said yes. This was the first (and only) meeting they ever went to. I loaded them into the back seat of my old Cadillac with Kelly, Douglas, Pam's son Mickey and her baby girl Priscilla (who back then didn't have to have a car seat so Kelly held her) and Pam and I sat in the front seat. We sang all the way to Fayetteville to old 8 track tapes and back home again that night. That was the only meeting they ever attended and in time, I discontinued the study. We kept in touch off and on through the years and I helped her find several temporary jobs. She stayed at the last one and retired from there. Deborah was here cleaning the house while she was here and she got to meet her. She is living with Ovarian cancer and was sharing her experiences with me. I don't think I have seen either one of them in at least 10 plus years. It seems they are now divorced and she hasn't seen him in 4 years. I asked her what had made her think about getting in touch with me and guess what it was? She wanted to know if I could help her find a temporary job!!!! I laughed and told her about an agency I thought was still active and that she could use me as a reference. Then she left. I looked at Deborah and she looked at me and I said - "can you believe that?" and we both laughed. It was crazy. Oh well, she looked good and seems to be doing well so I'm still happy I got to see her. I only have fond memories of her.
I have been wanting to post this picture for a long time. I found it on-line and love it. The pretty woman in the middle has been my sister-in-law twice and the pretty girl on the right is her daughter who is a professional body-builder. Anyway, my oldest sister was married to her older brother for five years. He was about five years older than she was and she married him about 6 months before she graduated from high school. He was an identical twin and our first brother so of course, all of us girls adored him. He actually made it easy to love him because he gave us attention, danced with us and even taught two of us how to play poker for toothpicks. They bought a brand new house down the road from us so we quickly made a path through the field from our back yard to theirs. Like I mentioned, the pretty blonde on the right is her daughter who was adopted by Dwight's brother Chris when he and Linda were married so, yes, that is how she came to be in my family twice. Once with her brother and my sister and then with Dwight's brother and her. The pretty girl on the left is her granddaughter and the little boy is her great-grandson. I know, she looks great doesn't she? She has always looked much younger than her age. I see her brothers when I look at her face. Even though my sister and her brother didn't stay married, he stayed very close to my Mom and Dad. He came to our house every year during the Christmas season and they always had a gift for him. My sister was getting ready to leave to attend flight attendants school when she found out he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. She knew that he had been dating someone for awhile but she called him anyway. When he confirmed that yes, he had Hodgkin's, she wanted to talk about being with him but he told her no, that he was going to marry his second wife who was also a nurse. He was adamant about it and would not be swayed. When he died, it broke all of our hearts. I remember Mama and Daddy sitting on the side of the bed holding each other and sobbing for the longest time. I was a young teenager and remember laying on the front porch the next day and crying so hard. The only way I can explain it is that it literally made us feel like our hearts were breaking. Barbara and Tadashi were living in Bologna, Italy when it happened so Mother got in touch with Tadashi through Duke University where he was doing research and he went home, told Barbara and then left her alone most of the afternoon to give her time. Then he brought her some flowers and laid beside her while she cried. He was such a beautiful man and too young, way too young. His twin brother never got over his death. He used to come over and crash with us because he knew how much his brother loved us. He taught me how to make the best hot chocolate I've ever had one morning. He would get up and cook us breakfast. He eventually died in a boating accident which was devastating to everyone because they were identical and it was like losing Jack all over again. So this young woman was always precious to us too. She was much younger than they were or as she puts it, she was an afterthought or surprise. I should know better than bring this up - there is no way I can do it without re-living it and ending up in tears. Stupid me. Alice and I talked about how we married men who were a little like Jack - especially me. Dwight even has the same coloring he did. They are about the same size and have a similar stance. Other than my parents, he is the only person in our immediate family we have lost and he was the first one we lost. It never gets easy to lose someone you love does it? Sorry to have gotten off course.