Monday, September 02, 2013

First Best Friend

By now reminders of my age come not in a trickle as they have for years but in more of a steady drizzle. A little lightening strike happened about ten days ago with the death of Linda Oatman Townsend who was my first best friend. That was first grade (we had no kindergarten in our small school). She became Lin in later life but is always Linda to me. Only 35 or so children in our first grade class and, of them, a large proportion were together right through 12th grade. Only Linda and I went to college from high school. (A few others did later on). Always friends but not "best" friends as the years went on.  She lived in town and I lived on a farm; I couldn't go to her house to play although once or twice she came home with me.

Interests changed, personalities firmed up, boy friends intervened.  In Indiana University we lived in different dorms and never saw one another. Not really again until out 40th high school reunion.  By the 50th (a few years ago) the internet had entered our lives and Linda took on the role of communicator. She had retained strong ties to her home town and to many of our classmates, as I had not. She began emailing monthly updates. A great many of them spoke or cancer, heart attacks, deaths of class members. She, herself, was frail, with COPD. I knew a little about her career s a teacher in Covina, California, but not much.

She went into the hospital to have a hip replacement replaced.  Did well enough to go to rehab a few days after the surgery, then collapsed and died. I have not heard except a conjecture of internal bleeding, a culpable surgeon or hospital.  Whichever, she is being buried in her hometown near her parents.  She had a full and active live in Covina but she was a hometown girl. Our lives have barely touched each other for over 50 years, but I feel nostalgic and wish we had stayed more in touch. The several other deaths of classmates have not struck such a doleful note for me.  And, of course, the sense that she shouldn't have died just yet is sobering. It can happen to any of us.

2 comments :

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- What an unfortunate death of your long time friend. Old friendships seem to revisit us again as we age making them all the sweeter as we have such a history together.
~~ barbara

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

I understand how you must feel as I went through a similar time, as you know this past March. Just doesn't seem right, does it June!