Monday, October 22, 2012

Slice of Life - Hello, friend…

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.

Vel, my grandma, and Vel's husband - Wick
Today I heard the news I knew was coming, but dreaded anyway. A family friend had passed away. I call her a family friend even though I really just thought of her as family. We were her family, she was ours. And while her last few years have not been what she would have wanted – aging and Alzheimer’s will do that to a person – that doesn’t diminish the amazing life she led.

And so, as I sat down in writing workshop to write beside my students today, little nod to Penny Kittle there, I had a few memories flood in about the amazing person that Vel was. I felt like I needed to share, needed to put this out there. Vel was not a person to seek the limelight, but I want to remember her anyway. Vel was a teacher in the 50’s, an elementary principal after that. She married Wick, who taught PE. They both love antiques, reading, a good story, and Door County. Wick passed away several years ago. I smiled today with the idea that maybe they are together now, sharing stories, and catching up.

For Vel

I remember…
The shock of flaming red hair.
Her arrow straight posture.
The impeccable wardrobe, Burberry.

The stern temperament but, at the same time,
The quiet interest she’d take in you.
How in a conversation you felt listened to.


Her infamous mac and cheese.
The way she and Wick would pick out antiques.
Her love of Pepperidge Farm cookies.

Meeting my granddad and Col.
How they brought her home to their wives.
Her comparison of marriage to WWII - hilarious.

And how she’d greet you.
Walking into family gatherings.
Her gaze would lock in on yours.
And you’d hear the words you were waiting for,
But hadn’t even realized it.
“Hello, friend.”

Godspeed, Vel. We'll miss you.