But, how can you not smile when you get an email from someone you don't know, recalling days you once only heard about during soap opera commercials:
March 8, 2008
We were so very, very sorry to hear of your Mother's death. It hit us all hard. I have talked with several of your Mom's friends, Karin Christiansen, Anne Van Drimmelen, Sharon Young and Vicki Leimback. Vicki is the one you first connected up with about a year ago. I wrote you these thoughts back then but wasn't sure how to get them to you, hence, the delay in sending them.
If you can get a hold of an old Bainbridge High yearbook you can look us all up and see what we looked like. (It'll be worth a few chuckles, if nothing else.) And, actually, if you don't have any annuals, let me know. My husband would be very happy if I found another home for my annuals and I would be happy to send them to you and your sister and brother.
I'm pretty sure these are with my grandfather, but I remember looking through these a thousand times when I was younger.
I have pieced together some of our thoughts of your Mom in this letter. It's written in a bit of a rambling fashion but hopefully you'll get some idea of your Mom in high school and how much we enjoyed her.
I remember your Mom calling me every night and me standing in the kitchen next to the wall phone (remember no cell phones then) and laughing with your Mom for half an hour at a time. I don't remember what we talked about but your Mom always made me laugh! We all remarked about how your Mom always had a great sense of humor.
Sharon remembers being in the same drivers ed class as your Mom. It was set up that four students and Mr. Okada went out on the practice drives. Mr. Okada's rules were that the three students sitting in the back seat had to be quiet, no talking, no laughing. But when your Mom was driving, that was impossible. Mr. Okada would comment on something your Mom was doing (probably wrong) and she would come up with some funny comment back at him leaving the three in the back seat of the car just howling!
Kind of funny - the three of us were never phone chatters until the invention of the cell phone.
Your Mom had a little pickup truck. I remember being in a car with Anne and the two of us watching your Mother in her little pickup truck just bombing through a yellow light. Evidently, she wasn't paying attention when Mr. Okada talked about not running yellow lights! :)
Um - my sister and my mom have more in common than first thought. But, I'm sure everyone would agree that her driving style never changed (Shorting out the electrical system driving through "puddles", putting the car in the ditch...when nothing was around)
Sharon said she never knew what was going to come out of your Mom's mouth but she always knew it was going to be good. Her sense of humor was more developed than one would expect out of a typical high school kid.
Your Mom always had several close friends. She wasn't in the "popular" crowd (none of us were either and I think that is for the better) but she was well liked and had lots of friends.
Anne remembered your Mother being able to "roll her eyes" when somebody said something dumb. I don't remember that but I can totally picture your Mom doing that and I can picture myself cracking up over your Mom doing it!
Ahh...so that's where we got it...the three of us are eyerollers. Some might say chronic eyerollers.
Your Mom had thick curly hair that didn't do what she wanted it to do. We were in high school during the smooth page boy hairstyle era. And she wore wool plaid Bermuda shorts and knee socks and saddle shoes. If you can imagine, most of us wore knee high socks and saddle shoes. I got a new pair of saddle shoes at the beginning of every school year.
I got the thick curly hair, Trudi has thinner curly hair, and Tyler got Grandpa's gene's. Mom used to tell me about her attempts to use the iron on her hair, of course I rolled my eyes. The 1980's curly bob was good for her. :-)
Karin remembers your Mom and Karin being on the debate team one year. The topic was "Should the United States unilaterally intervene/interfere in another county's affairs without that country's consent?" Of course they were talking about the Vietnam War then but isn't that a timely topic even 30 years later?
Evidently, Karin thought that she and Connie had an airtight case and Karin was sure they would win. Karin, with her iron clad arguments, gave your Mom "talking points." I am sorry to report that Karin and your Mom lost the debate. I don't even know what side of the debate they were on. And, I don't know whether it was Karin's talking points that brought them down. Karin would only say that neither she nor Connie were born debaters; that debaters had to be able to think spontaneously on their feet. It was quite a blow to Karin. My guess is that your Mother was able to move on from the loss a bit better than Karin did.
Karin said that "Connie was not afraid to be who she was - even at age 15." And we loved her for it.
That's true - she was not afraid to be who she was. She passed that fearlessness down to the three of us, and probably onto so many of the people she knew.
Sharon commented on your Mothers' bubbly personality, her love of life and that she loved to laugh. And we all laughed with her. What a wonderful gift she gave all of us!
You and your sister and your brother each have a part of your Mother in you. How wonderful that your sister has your Mother's poetry "gene" and you have her wonderful personality! I know your Mom would be so proud of all three of you!
What a great letter!