When I was 15, my parents moved us to my 8th home. My parents stayed their for 34 years, so our neighbors became a part of our lives. For a period of time, our closest friends were our neighbors up the street. My sister, Mary, gained a best friend in Theresa, and our family gained some great experiences wth these neighbors and friends. We rented their summer home at beach in Maine. And we all helped raise Johnny, the later-in-life son they had at the age of 46. Over the years we have drifted apart but remember each other fondly. Julie, the mother of this family, passed away last week. I hadn’t seen Julie since my parents 50th Anniversary party, mostly because of her Alzheimer’s and because I was spending a lot of time taking care of my own mother who passed away a litlte over 2 years ago. When I learned that Julie had died, my first thought was of how she had introduced herself to us. She arrived at our house a few days after we moved and introduced herself by saying “Pretty Julie is here”. And we all took turns in raising the son these neighbors had at the age of 46. t friend, and our family gained some great experiences with the family up the street. I was 16 when Julie, at 46 year old mother of three, sent her second son off to college and then gave birth to her 4th child and 3rd son. One rumor was that Julie thought she was going through menopause when she found out she was pregnant while other rumors were less gracious.
While I think Julie loved her youngest son, she also enjoyed sending him down to our house. And my mother enjoyed having a baby around. My youngest brother sometimes enjoyed having a younger ‘brother’. There’s the famous Christmas when the 10 year old got a pinball machine and the 2 year old thought it was the best toy ever. I can still see the confusion in my brother’s 10 year old face as he was both teaching the 2 year old what to do and wanting to take the toy back as his own. And the baby’s older sister, who was sister’s best friend, enjoyed dropping the baby off with my mother so she could play, as any 12 year old would want to do.
One Christmas break when I was home from college I was hired by Julie to clean her oriental rug. I cleaned that rug by hand with a toothbrush. Needless to say, I do not have an oriental rug in my home. When that family moved to Maine, we grew apart. We didn’t spend as much time together as everyone moved on to other phases of their lives but we still kept in touch. As with most funeral’s, this one provided an opportunity for all the ‘kids’ to get together and talk about the good old days. We will miss Julie but we do have these memories to share.