Girls hopping along, singing: don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mothers back! Girls playing in snow: fox and geese. Climbing trees, apple fights without physical contact. Hanging by your knees from the monkey bars, holding your skirt with both hands so the boys couldn’t sneak a peek. Giggling in the springtime in Waynedale Park, picking flowers, and taking them home to our mothers. Having slumber parties when no one slept, and having your mother call out: GIRLS! It’s time to go to sleep! Dads who hugged all of us like we ALL belonged to them. Moms who made us brownies and cleaned up after us without complaint, warm humid evenings passing into night, looking at stars, and singing songs, holding hands and skipping with ice cream cones without a care in the world, the fire siren at noontime telling us to go home and eat, the sweet smell of new grass, bonfires all along the neighborhood streets in the fall. Toasting marshmallows on cut sticks, Pretending we didn’t notice boys. Waking up to bright sunshine. Finding the big dipper at night laying on our backs in the back yard on a quilt. Whispering secrets. Going to the movies to see the latest Tarzan movie. Going to the Roller Dome on Saturdays. Piling into the car and its’ trunk to get as many girls as possible into the Ft. Wayne Drive-in Theater. Pulling on hose for the first time and trying to get the seams straight and the garter belt on right. Learning to walk in high heels, getting kissed for the first time. Going steady. Going to basketball games at Elmhurst, Awaiting sock-hops and throwing our shoes in a pile when we got to the gym, hoping the guy you had a crush on would ask you to dance. Trying to sleep in those big huge metal rollers we wound our hair in, Clearisil, Painting our toenails with our chins resting on our knees. Grilled cheese sandwiches with Velveeta and a pickle on the side. Smoking in the bedroom and thinking waving the air would fool our mothers. Felt skirts with layers of crinolines underneath. Going swimming at Big Blue at night until they poured oil in it to keep us out. Running under sprinklers, Imitating Marilyn Monroe, parking at Baer Field and kissing for the first time, setting off firecrackers on the 4th of July. Singing in the choir with a blending of our voices that made us one voice. Trick or treating when we were too old to be doing it, according to the grouch down the street, Catching snow on our tongues, finding figures in clouds while we lay in the sweet grass sucking on clover, having our mothers tell us it was time for deodorant. Begging for bras when we could only fill them with silk neck scarves. Learning to shave our legs. Hanging fluffy dice from our Dad’s rear view mirror, Cutting class and getting the “jug.” Loving and living, and thinking it would go on forever. Then we got married, and we had kids and then grandkids. Then one of us had unexplained pain. Pain that went on and on and went undiagnosed. Fear. Then Cancer. Then death. We lost our Suzie Christie yesterday. We lost a chunk of our childhood. We lost our youth. Look at the sky, taste the rain, walk in the dark, laugh in the sunshine. Life is not without end. How can something so obvious escape us? We thought, in some part of our beings, that we could live forever. It seemed like we would live forever. But for Suzie, life on Earth ended. Cherish every day, every night, every breath, every rainfall, every sunshiny day. Do it for Suzie.
Bless you all,
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