So my mom called to let me know my neighber, growing up, died. It was her grandson Dustin, who died this spring. I wasn't shocked really as her health had been bad for years but with every death of someone I know, it made me think of my memories of her.
She and her husband Bill were a huge support to me growing up. I would go hang out at their house after school and we were sort of like family. They were from Tennessee and she was the only person I knew with a Southern accent. Boy did she have an accent! I learned all about southern cooking over there. I also learned what a diet was. They had four girls and I was closest with their youngest, Sarah. We would all spend our summers in the backyard perfecting our tans with lotion and iodine. A hilarious memory I have is the time my mom hung towels on her clothes line and Ann questioned how much detergent she used in the wash. Then....to my great surprise Ann turned the hose on the towels and soap bubbles starting running down them. It was funny. She was fiesty.
She taught me to cross stitch and she was town expert on Victorian decorating. Her living room was very South to me. Queen Ann furniture (how appropriate) and velvet coverings. She had a unique Christmas tradition of laying all of the girls gifts out, unwrapped, on seperate chairs and of course it was beautifully decorated. They would wake up and go out to see their gifts. THat was just different to me as wrapping paper was our tradition. Oh, it was in this living room that I first heard Elvis died. Being from the Memphis area this was big news for them. "Where were you when you first heard Elvis died?" There, now you know.
I 'rebelled' by going to church with her at the Baptist church. I remember her telling my mom that at least my rebellion involved going to church. I am back at the Lutheran church but going there did make me think. I suppose I would spaz if my kids did the same thing but Ann did try to get her to keep things in perspective.
One time when Charley and I went out on a first date there were cat howls from the next door when he said goodbye. My mom was alerted by phone and soon they were all peeking out the windows at us. Smirk, smirk. She reminded me of this often and told me she thought he was pretty cute. Come to think of it, she must have always peeked out the window as another time in a date situation (some other guy) that I was not crazy about, she told me she never saw anyone run so fast to the door. Ha! She wasn't kidding. She also came to see Anna when she was a newborn and said she had never seen a more beautiful baby with such perfect little ears.
Ann was a good friend which distance kept us apart. She always supported my family in many ways and was a good friend to my mom as well. THey lived on the phone together when I was young. I am sure her family will miss her as well as her friends.
The Spirit of Life in the Valley of Death
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