I went to the graveside service for my friend Becky's mother, Sheila, who died last week--thirty years after the debilitating stroke that changed her life. She was buried in East Lawn Memorial Hills--overlooking the neighborhood where Becky and I first met as ten year-olds.
My friends and I used to go sledding in the winter, not far from the spot where Sheila is buried beneath a grove of scrub oak. And while I was there, surrounded by people from my past, girlhood Anns swirled up to greet me.
The Ann who spent a year in bed in the red brick house next to the red brick church.
The Ann who climbed the foothills covered with summer-burnt grasses.
The Ann who rode her bike from Sears down 4380 North as fast as wind.
The Ann who greeted her grandparents with a shout whenever they pulled up the driveway in their VW bus.
The Ann who used to pretend (along with neighbors Wendy and Diana) that she was an orphan pursued by an evil aunt named Georgia.
All those Anns were present yesterday as Sheila's friends and family members stood together and told her goodbye.