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Sunday, February 04, 2007

A long life


Just got home from a wake for an old friend. Mrs. S. was 92.

Since reading her obituary in last week's paper, I've been reminiscing about the old days at my dad's church, where Mrs. S. was a member. She always smiled, and she was so beautiful.

Everyone at the funeral home today remarked about what a wonderful life she lived. There were no tears! Not from her daughter, nor her grandkids (who were my friends in school). No doubt there have been tears this week. But not today. Not when someone as sweet and happy as Mrs. S. says good-bye. Her husband, who died just a few years ago, would have been 100 this Tuesday, the day after her funeral. Will they have birthday dinner together Tuesday evening?
~~
Today I saw old girlfriends I didn't recognize, some thinner, some heavier, all getting older, like me. I saw an old boyfriend who looks smaller than I remembered, another old friend, now a doctor, with whom I played an unforgettably funny Bingo game. I saw parents of my teenage friends who are hunched in old age. In each face there is something that stirs my memory. The strange sweetness of my childhood. The familiarity that is no longer familiar.
~~
These friends, 30 and 40 years since I've seen some of them, are living and dying, and I can't help but wonder, what kind of footprints will each of us leave? Dear Mrs. S., good-bye!

5 comments:

Ginnie said...

What a tremendously loving tribute to Mrs. S., dear Ruth. I feel you were there for me. Thank you.

This is when it's so hard for me to be away from home!

Ruth said...

We saw so many old friends, Boots. Susan and Rodger were also there, and we made the rounds, with many people not recognizing me especially. Frank Marshall and his wife were there from Tennessee. The Keebler sisters and John and their dad. The Tanases look just the same. Plus my old friends whom you wouldn't know. I think you would have loved it. And everyone loved Mrs. S.!

Heather said...

What a wonderful entry to read this morning. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, but what an opportunity to meet old friends again. I can't imagine people not recognizing you, though. You look just the same as in the photo of you when you were in your twenties. Young and beautiful.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Heather. I don't know about that, but I think there is something about familiarity, that when it's been so long, people just don't expect to see you. So when they do, something doesn't quite register. I feel bad about how many people in my life I haven't kept up with. I guess everyone moves on. But I still feel bad.

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