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Archive for August, 2016

There are those people in each person’s life that seem to be almost indestructible.   They endure and come out of all sorts of things and always land on their feet.  I have been blessed with long-time family friends … people that were friends of my parents before my sister and I were born … before their children were born … that were like an aunt, uncle, and cousins to me … people that we’ve been through highs and lows with and still are friends … and our children are friends.

 

I’ll back up.  My parents got married in 1949.  I believe it was a year or two after that they had gone on vacation and had met a couple to whom they took an immediate liking.   This couple they later found out was on their honeymoon when they met.  It was a constant source of a joke back and forth between them from then on.   The friendship stuck and they began a lifelong journey together.  My father and the other gentleman had both fought in World War 2 and had seen various things in battle so they had an immediate bond that comes from that “brother” relationship that military men (and women) all share.  While my father had served in the North Atlantic, the other man had served in the Pacific … and had stories of being shot down over the Pacific and having been the only survivor.  He was a true hero who had floated in the ocean for hours before being rescued.  His wife was a middle school math teacher who terrified me and who I wanted to be around all at the same time and who probably operated her classroom as a drill sergeant might, but she had a heart of gold.  She is the one that taught me how to bake my own bread (something I dearly love to do) and how to make pie crust that people still rave over.  My parents both graduated from the University of Southern California (USC).  The other couple had graduated from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).  For those readers that don’t know, there is a deep-seated rivalry between those schools.   There was a friendly teasing back and forth between them over which school was better.  Whenever there was a sports game between them, there would be all sorts of jokes.  It was something I enjoyed hearing.

 

My sister is the oldest of the children born to these two couples (1952).  Their daughter was the next (1953).  Their son and I were born the same year (1954).  Yes, I am that old.  Get over it.  😏

 

Growing up, I remember the card games and dinner parties they had.  They visited us around the country when we moved around.   We visited them.  We’d show up and surprise them.  We’d plan trips over Thanksgiving weekend to all enjoy together.  We played charades (drunken charades, by the way, was by far the most fun), play cards, and play in the snow.  We’d talk, fight, laugh, and enjoy ourselves like family does.  We’ve been through relocations, financial set-backs as well as financial upswings, marriages, divorces, deaths, remarriages, illnesses, joys, sorrows, and accepted all of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  Essentially … we’ve handled life in general together with all of the normal day-to-day ups-and-downs while continuing to love one another.  

 

My father was the first to die in 1992.  My 2nd son died in 2001. Their daughter died in 2008.  Their mother died in 2013.   Their father died roughly a week ago (2016).  On our side, my mother is thankfully still with us … as are my sister and me (obviously).  On their side, their son is still strong and healthy.  Now, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have entered into the fray.   Through all of this, we are all still hanging in together … my mother, the remaining children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

 

It’s something hard to fathom … all of this from a chance meeting in the late 1940s/early 1950s of two couples that were thankful they’d survived World War 2 and had found people with whom they enjoyed spending time.   It’s hard to get used to these pillars in my life being gone.  These are those indestructible adults I grew up with throughout my childhood … that yelled at me, laughed with me, taught me, listened to me, loved me, and nurtured me … no matter what dumb thing I had done or how smart-assy I was.   They were proud of my accomplishments and there to pick me up in my failures.   So many of these wonderful people are fading away.  

Cherish those that are still in your lives.

 

Life is fleeting.

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