How to befriend someone 50 years later –

About a year ago I got a text message from someone asking if I was Jana Justice that graduated from Helix High in La Mesa California in the 60’s.  Turns out it was the daughter of my high school buddy that I hadn’t seen or talked with in 50 years. Needless to say, I was shocked and delighted to hear from her and over the next year we chatted and texted.

Her in-laws were planning a family reunion for this July 4th just 50 miles from here and could we get together during that time?   We planned to spend 2 ½ days together, see some sights, and “catch up”, and that we did.

I laid awake the night before we were to meet, wondering what I’d say, what would we talk about? What did we have in common after all these years.  I’m picking up a perfect stranger and bringing them into my home for 2+ days, is that okay?  Many questions, but no answers not until we actually stood face to face.

I’ve lost so many loved ones in my life I wasn’t as emotional as she first appeared.  She was so excited to see me and get a hug.  It’s always been unconditional love between us, for lots of reasons.  I helped a very shy, but fine human being, crawl out of her shell her last years of high school, and she and her family were my life-line to sanity and values.  But I wasn’t sure I’d remember enough of the details she seemed to treasure to make this trip a good one for her.

Over the two days we talked about all kinds of events.  I stopped trying to come up with things to talk about and just had a conversation with her.  I asked about her brothers and their well-being.  She talked a lot about her daughter that lives with her and how they make that work.  And I shared some events from my life the last 40 years, but not the really private ones.  I didn’t talk about the things I regret. And I didn’t share my abject failures.

We had a nice time together.  We weren’t goofy teenagers any more, but we were both happy (I think) with where we are now.  There was something else nagging at her, but she never did express it. The trip meant a great deal to her and I was glad we made it happen.  We vowed to continue our conversation as we move along.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter, maybe I’ll know more what question I should have asked.

Any ideas what I should have asked?  Do comment.

Until next time – – –

I’m A No. 2

I’ve had lots of callings in my life.  Each one with a unique focus and outcome.  Most I’ve just followed along not questioning.  Others, I’ve fretted and cried over and wished I was somewhere else.  When I finally allowed things to evolve I realized why I was there.  And one, I didn’t realize until it was no longer part of my life, how I failed to achieve the desired result.

As a Leo I’m pretty Type A and love being in the spotlight.  The many years I played in an orchestra I enjoyed the limelight as much as the actual playing.  When I was a Congressional Aide I thrived in the spotlight and having the power to help people solve their problems.  What took me many years to acknowledge and learn to deal with?  I’m not a No. 1, I’m a No. 2.  My purpose is to support someone in a leading role.  Help orchestrate results and outcomes.  Help ease the journey for the person taking the lead.  I’m really good at that and that’s what I’m doing now with my best friend and spouse, Tracy.

Currently we’re in the process of building his workshop for lapidary and other works of art.  It’s basically constructed but now needs painting, lights, and cupboards.  He’ll spend the next two-three weeks getting all that finished.  With 90+ degree weather, he’s happy to be inside with air conditioning.  He ended up at the local ER for heat exhaustion last week, so getting him out of the excess heat has been the goal.

Now I can settle down and get some of my “to do” list checked off.  First, rewrite my bio on Linked In to focus on the baskets and bead work.  I really want to promote the custom ornaments.  At $100 each I can make a reasonable return on my investment of time. They make such a wonderful wedding gift.  And the rock candy baskets are perfect for kids.  At $7.50 they are an affordable gift for grandparents to make.  Those are only available at the rock and gem shows.

It’s going to be a good year, even though I’m losing my mom to Ovarian cancer.  She’s in stage 4, and sleeps most of the day and all night.  Her Hospice nurse gave her 2 months just about 2 months ago.  I’m expecting to get a call any day that she passed in her sleep.  That’s her wish, and mine as well.  She’s on stronger doses of morphine each week and now that she won’t be receiving her gamma globulin infusions we expect she will contract Pneumonia before long as she depends on her oxygen system to breathe. A sad end, but I’m so proud of her.  She’s trying to be very brave and we try and talk every day.  Sometimes she’s just in too much pain or very sleepy from the meds.

Two weeks ago we traveled to see her, probably for the last time.  We spent time talking about all sorts of things.  She told me some new stories which I’ve written down.  We took her out for one last luncheon at her favorite restaurant.  The last day Tracy spent time watching the flowers bloom while we had “girl time”.  We lay on her bed, because she’s too weak to stand up for very long.  She lay in my arms and we hugged, cried, laughed, shared stories, and said goodbye.  And then we left for home.

All the business of passing on is ready.  As her No. 2 I’ve tried to make her shine and keep her from feeling alone.  I will miss her, but know that she is at peace and after 25 years of pain from spinal stenosis, pain free.  I’m proud to have been her No. 2.  I’m grateful that I know what my calling is.  It gives me peace.

Until next time – – –

Am I Really Out of Touch?

I recently decided to add 2 “women’s issues” on-line magazines to my phone –
Smart News. I had expectations of seeing articles about women’s health,
welfare (not the entitlement kind) and education. Boy was I surprised.

Here’s a sample of the articles titles from two magazines:
• “Wraps are Bullshit, Eat a Sandwich Instead”
• “The Dumbest Thing In Your Kitchen”
• “The First Agency For Transgender Models is Opening in L.A.”
• Is Office Air Conditioning a Sexist Conspiracy?”
• “Guys Shave Their Legs For The First Time and Vow To Never Do It Again”.
Really?

This is the best you can do?: And those article help women how? And
more, do today’s women really find those articles interesting?
What happened to writing about what we know not opinion? Where are the
articles on improving our financial positions, How to have pocket money,
or other financial articles to help educate women to improve their
position?

Women have been the social conscious for many generations. Many of the best
laws have been written and promoted by women. Yet “womens’ issues”
magazines don’t seem to touch on those aspects of our lives. Where are
the articles about life planning and when you should start? Where’s the
health related articles?

Life is about choices and these should be made without peer pressure way
back in High School, not when we’re 35 with three kids. Today’s world is
about making choices on lifestyle, financial position and a host of other
issues. I saw none of those articles. But I will hold off on my decision
on whether to continue having them on my phone based on their articles
for the next month. At that point, I’ll have to decide if I’m too old or
not. But you never get a second chance to change a first impression.

Until next time . . . . .