I remember Jo at this time every year. June is her birthday month or was. She was my cousin and friend or would it be my friend and cousin? Whichever it is, I know that she was placed in my life as a blessing.
She was a bit older than I but, the difference wasn’t enough to matter. We were kindred spirits as Anne of Green Gables would say.
She had the most terrific laugh and was very sweet. Brown hair and eyes and loads of energy as I remember. She was a great wife and mother and an accomplished seamstress.
As girls, we had sleepovers at her house, we spent time walking at Foundry Forest for hours on end. Only once did we lose our way. Then there were the times we would read the funnies from the Sunday newspaper for hours. Her favorite was Peanuts by Charles Schultz. In later years, we would get our chuckles from a comedian named Shelley Berman.
Our escapades would not be complete if we didn’t have the fun of our Uncle Sal and family bunking out at Jo’s house while on leave from the USAF. They had been stationed in France and our Uncle Sal had developed his own sort of French. We would tiptoe around the corner to find him and he would begin to speak French loudly to us and we would twitter and run the other direction. She always went back for more and I was glad to follow. Somehow he started calling us “stockings”. It had something to do with some of his socks disappearing. Of course, our reaction was pretty much the same. I can still hear her giggle in my heart.
As teenagers, we attended different schools but we would talk on the phone and meet at the dances, games and parties. By the time high school was ending, Jo had found her sweetheart. The first time I met him and saw them together I knew they were a matched set if I ever saw it. Here comes the bride!
After high school we both worked and kept in touch some but, life has a way of keeping you busy and connections can slip. When we did connect it was as if the time had never passed.
We each married our sweethearts within the same year. She was a beautiful bride. Flowers in her hair and a satin ribbon around her waist, she walked down the aisle to Bob. It was a great day.
When it was time for children, she had her first daughter and within the same year I gave birth to my first son. It was the same when she had her second daughter and I had my second son.
Years passed and children grew and we met and determined to reconnect. We had missed each other and it was time. I had no way of knowing she would leave so soon.
And so, I think about her often but a lot in this month of June. I smile and even giggle a bit as I remember…………..Jo.