...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

18 January, 2012

happy birthday, kid!

Today is the birthday of a woman who is 
almost a sister to me.

She was my roommate, mostly by chance,
during our freshman year of college.
We were each others' roommates, completely by intention,
for the next five years,
through college and then my graduate school.

She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis
when I was waiting for my first child to be born.
He turned 40 last May.
She is still alive, brave spirit.
She is unable to communicate--
so for the past many years,
ours has been a one-way conversation.

My sister/friend was one of four African American members
of our class when we started college 
in the early 60s.  (Soon, they were three.)
She was serious and silly, kind beyond measure,
smart, and aware.   And, as I said above,
she was a woman of great courage and conviction.

I learned so very much from her.

She is the wife of a dedicated soul,
the mother of two beautiful adults,
and the grandmother of three darling children.
She was a social worker,
an advocate for the disabled and the needy.
While we were in school,
she took on a sense of responsibility
for all the women of color who attended
our mostly Caucasian school
during a time of great societal racial unrest.

She is my hero.

Wherever you are, my cherished friend,
know I love you and I miss you 
beyond measure.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you.
I say good morning to your picture every day.

How I wish I could talk with you, kid.


  1. what a beautiful post. God bless your friend and her family...

  2. Mike, I agree with T! I hope she has a wonderful birthday! Bless her and bless you too!

    1. Thanks, Robin. I'm not sure she knows it's her birthday, but those who love her do. I'm giving her a surprise birthday party in my mind, one like we used to give each other in college. I always liked the corner piece of the sheet cake, so I'm going to taste that in my mind, too. ;o)

  3. Replies
    1. special woman. special memories. special day. Thanks for stopping by, Christie. Love your new paint trays! ;o)

  4. I am having a difficult time right now and it was so heartening to read this tribute to someone who meant so much to you in your life. I am also reminded that so many others have their own crosses to bear.

    1. Hi, Kate. I know what you mean. January and February are so hard when someone in your house is ailing. I'm here for the finding. xo ;o)

  5. This brought me tears. A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. How I wish I could have known her as you did.

    1. Thanks, mamaP. I wish you could have known her, too. xoxo ;o)

  6. A friend couldn't ask for a better birthday. I hope that she feels your words, Mike, and knows that her life has had such lasting meaning. We should all have such heroes as your friend.

  7. Hello on this overcast day here in Missouri. Your tribute to your college friend both lovely and touching. How blessed you have been to know her and to see her great fortitude and her boundless delight in life. You say in your posting that she is still alive. Do you ever get to see her? If not, how you must miss the compassion of her eyes.


    1. I haven't seen her in so many years--but due to the miracle of the internet, I am in frequent touch with some of her family members. I agree--I was blessed. I think it all came about when the college sent me a form about housing which asked the typical questions: morning person/evening person, tidy/messy, etc. Then, the questions began to be about was I religious, and what religion, did I live in the city or country, etc. Some moment of grace prompted me to write back that I didn't want a carbon copy of myself, thank you--I was coming to college to LEARN. I'll always be grateful for that moment of courage for 17-year-old me. Thanks for your kind words, Dee. ;o)

  8. I read your blog for the first time today. I will be sure to share it with Mommy when I see her tomorrow. While hearing this may not be on schedule for her birthday at this point, it will be right on time. It has been more than 25 years since she spoke her last words. Nevertheless, her expressions are made clear everyday. Mommy always spoke fondly of "Mike" and the times you two shared at Mount Holyoke. Mommy loves you and so do I.

    Thank you for that special dedication,


    1. Thanks to YOU, Darius, for so many things. For sharing this with your mom. For keeping me in your thoughts and your heart. Margie's spirit runs through you and your sister. I am so grateful to stay in communication with her through both of you. Kiss her for me. ;o)