Dec 10, 2012


This post was in draft form; I was looking for the photos to post and as you can see it took me longer than expected. I wrote on Thanksgiving Day about my siblings, I had this post ready for the following day. Even though I am behind, I want to include this and dedicate it to everyone I have the honor to call a 
F R I E N D.... 

I am fortunate, I am blessed. I am thankful ! ! ! 

I have a vessel of friendships in my life that overflows with amazing people who have and continue to significantly impact my life, past, present and I hope, the future. 

I ran across a list of questions to consider for Thanksgiving, the first question, ((What teacher are you most thankful for and why?  What did you learn from him or her?)) brought immediately to mind my dear friend and 7th grade English teacher, Billie Lange. She taught me to love writing and poetry, she opened a window in my life that continues daily to bring me wonder, joy, consideration, and perspective. 

Billie was "Miss Young",  my 7th grade English teacher at Pitcher Junior High in Barstow, California.  Miss Young was my teacher during the time in my life when I learned my mother had ovarian cancer.  Miss Young continued to be my teacher and friend during those difficult years after my MOM died, I remember writing in my journal, the practice I started because of a 7th grade assignment, I also wrote Billie letters, letters that helped me cope and letters that she received and responded to with care, love and support.  Billie, I love you dearly, thanks for your continued friendship throughout the years.  

At Chris and Billie Lange's Wedding 

Thursday and Friday, I remembered and dearly missed, Angelica Patterson, Connie Podnar and Donna Hanson. 

Angelica was a dear childhood friend in Panama. Her family lived in Altos del Golf; the Patterson children all girls: Sonia, Diana, Gloria and Angelica, she was the baby. I used to ride my bike over to their house, about 5 minutes away, the Patterson's had a pool in their backyard shaped like a question mark with the dot at the bottom of the question mark, a separate small circular pool. 

It was so cool, we used get in the dot shaped pool and walk around as fast as we could generating a current, then we would drift until the water stilled.  When I moved from Panama to the U.S. in 1970, of all my childhood friends, Angelica is the one I stayed in touch with over many many years. Angelica would light up the room when she came in, she had an amazing smile. She was funny, she was a genuine person, no drama, no fuss. Now when I go back to Panama, much older, I miss her even more.  Angelica died tragically in a plane crash; she was on Copa Airlines flight 201 en route from Panama City to Cali Columbia, in June 1992. The plane crashed and everyone on board was killed. She was 34 years old. Her parents, Tia Flor and Tio Carlos Patterson live in Panama, I get to see them when I visit Panama.   

Angelica is on the far left, at Elena birthday in Panama 

Connie Podnar was the crazy friend in my life, and by crazy I mean fun, everyday, healthy, crazy.  When I got the holiday Williams of Sonoma catalog this week, I got tears in my eyes. In the past, I would review all the gadgets they feature and sell,  I would purposefully select one like the "cheese cellar", I would paste and send to Connie with my imagined focus group questions on how this product could have gone from conception to actually being sold in a WS catalog. We did this back and forth for years, not sure how the practice started, we had so much fun.  

I met Connie at Cox Communications in 1997, in San Diego at the Copley Call Center. Connie was the HR leader, the memories from those crazy days are classic. When Connie moved back to Amarillo Texas, I visited her there twice. She lived on a lake, her and Hoss had a boat, and 2 extremely cool HIS and HERS Harley Davidson motorcycles in their garage.  I had the ride of a lifetime in the Amarillo area, we were a 4 Harley posse, we rode one afternoon with Connie, Hoss, and another couple. It was so so cool.  Connie graduated to heaven this year, in January. She was 46 years old. It still hurts for me to write those words. I miss her dearly. 

Connie (L) and Cindy ready to parasail in Key West 

I met Donna Lee Hanson in 7th grade in Barstow. We were in school together, graduated in 1977 from John F. Kennedy High School.  After our college years, I visited her and her brother, Gary and his family in north San Diego County, in Vista, I liked the area so much I moved there from the San Fernando Valley close to Los Angeles; I lived in Vista until I moved to Atlanta in 1996. 

So much happens in those formative years - when you are 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, Donna was part of my life in those years; we were Rod Stewart and Queen fans, Donna was one of my friends that went with me and Pat Jimenez and Debbie Valdez to the amazing, once in a lifetime, LED ZEPPELIN concert at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1976. Donna's Mother, Nancy, was an RN at Barstow Hospital when my MOM was battling ovarian cancer, we had that connection. Donna's brother, Gary, golfed with Roger, my brother on the JFK golf team. Donna was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1992 and died 20 months later in November of 1994, at the age of 35.  For me it was one of the most difficult times in my life, I was having to live again the "ovarian" cancer diagnosis - my Mom, 20 years before, now my dear dear friend.  One day I will write about it. 
Donna was a wonderful person, loved by many. 

Donna (L), Roberta (center), Elena (R) -