A close friend of mine died yesterday evening. She had undergone chemotherapy with good grace and I knew that Jeannie had come home from the hospital to die in the bed she had shared with her husband. Surrounded by their three daughters, she died at peace and with a smile. I suspect that the smile was for Bob who had succumbed to a heart attack 13 years ago. She looked forward to being buried above him at Arlington Cemetery.
She is the first of my close women friends to die. Several male acquaintances have died but Jeannie reminds me that time is of the essence.
I have so many wonderful memories of Jeannie and the times when we were together. I met her in Germany where she was teaching American children who were dependents of American military personnel. She was dating Bob, a Lieutenant who had recently graduated from West Point, a classmate of my husband's. They were married soon after and Chuck and I decorated a caisson (a horse drawn vehicle, usually two wheeled, once used to carry ammunition) for them to ride on to the Officer's Club for the reception. It was replete with wedding flowers and a bottle of champagne on ice! They loved it.
We were stationed together several times, especially in Washington, D.C. Chris and Jim, another classmate of 1954 were there also, and in addition to many memorable parties, we decided to celebrate Mother's Day picnics with our children, which we did for three years. Jeannie and Bob had three girls, Chris and Jim had three sons and two daughters and Chuck and I had two sons and two daughters. Those were happy days.
So many memories flood my mind. Bob, dressed up as a woman at Pam's costume party...being one of Bob's favorite redheads!...Jeannie was always cheerful and had a positive outlook on life. She was a serious thinker. And concerned about issues and causes. Bob adored her. When Chuck died Jeannie and Bob were there. A year later when Bob died I was there. And so were Chris and Jim. After the funeral we went to their beach house and spent a few days while Jeannie cried.
I did not have the opportunity to be near her and see her often but we called each other and talked. It is hard to explain but, when we were together or talked to each other, it was as if we had never been apart.
We were still friends. Always.
May she rest in peace.