BFF’s since 6th grade
It has been difficult for me to sit down and write this tribute to Suzanne for several reasons. First, I am finding it hard to wrap my head around the fact that she is no longer with us in a physical way even though I KNOW she will always be with us in our memories and in our hearts. Second, it is difficult to put into words what Suzanne’s friendship has meant to me for more than 60 years. Third, I want to express the depth of my love for Suzanne and appreciation of her unwavering friendship for so long, and I don’t know if I have the words.
Suzanne and I became friends in Anadarko, Oklahoma in about 1954 when she joined our 6th grade class. For the next 7 years until high school graduation we spent much time together, studying (she was always such an example of a dedicated student), hosting slumber parties, playing cards, talking on the phone, sharing secrets about boyfriends, double dating, going to ballgames, dragging main, having cokes at the Tastee Freeze, listening to 45’s …all those things teens typically did in the 1950’s. After our HS graduation, we went to rival schools! She chose OU and I chose OSU. Our paths diverged at that point, but we never lost touch.
After we both were married, Clyde and Suzanne stopped one time on one of their cross country trips to visit us in Grand Junction. Our kids were all very small. I remember what fun we had and how delighted we were to see them. Lorenzo and I visited them once in Philadelphia when they lived on the campus of the school where Suzanne was the director. That, as I recall, was when she was in the very early stages of her physical decline, but just as positive and cheerful as ever. At that time our daughter, Monica, was doing a three year commitment to Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Camden, NJ and the third year in Philadelphia. I will always be grateful that Clyde and Suzanne took Monica under their wing and gave her much needed breaks from her austere surroundings by having her over to spend the night, taking her to dinner, and just generally giving her encouragement. Monica loves Clyde and Suzanne.
We next visited Clyde and Suzanne when our niece, Amy, graduated from Princeton. We flew into Philadelphia and they graciously drove us to Princeton to meet the family for the big event. Our most recent visit was two years ago when we came for a wedding of a dear family friend in Baltimore. We spent three extra days near Broomall and had dinner with Clyde and Suzanne each evening. A special memory is having dinner at an Amish restaurant family style. It took great effort for Suzanne to do these things, but she always did it with grace and good humor. As you say, HER CHOICE.
Suzanne and I spoke on the phone fairly regularly and always talked about politics (we were definitely on the same page), friends, family, religion, books we had read and memories. I will miss those phone calls very much.
Suzanne was much more into genealogy than I, but she got me interested in some family history. She also researched for me and even found my Dad’s master’s thesis online. I appreciate that very much.
Finally, I am an amateur photographer and enjoy photographing birds, wildlife, scenery, etc. Suzanne always enjoyed my FB posts and made such sweet and encouraging comments. She told me she went on my walks and hikes and enjoyed the nature vicariously through my photos. I loved giving her sets of cards I make with my photos.
I know her family will miss her terribly, especially Clyde. They were such a loving couple and an example of living your marriage vows daily. Suzanne’s absence will be deeply felt by Clyde and by all of us. We are all better people for having had Suzanne in our lives. Rest in Peace, my dear friend. Thank you for being a “best friend forever”.