Reading, Teaching, Learning

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 27 - A Spelling Bee and Best Friend

In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are participating in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge. I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.


     This clipping is from a spelling bee in 8th grade.  I LOVED spelling bees.  I still do - I think the national one is riveting, and I love hearing all the back stories of the participants.  I loved "Akeela and the Bee," and I love that this newspaper even recorded what words Bobby and I stumbled over.  Unfortunately, I think spelling is a lost art.  We've got spell check now, after all, and there hasn't been a spelling bee in any of my schools where I've taught for years.  I do think spelling is a genetic thing, and I know it isn't connected to intelligence, but I still love spelling challenges.   This post, though, isn't really about spelling bees; it's about Bobby, who was in several spelling bees with me.

     Bobby was one of the smartest people I knew.  He and I grew up together in the Mason City Schools.  We were on and off friends throughout grade school.  In fact, Karan and Lisa (two other friends I've journeyed though life with), and I have talked about how even though we were in school together most of K-12, we weren't always the best of friends.  That cemented itself in high school. However, I love that pictures and newpaper clippings caught our relationship anyway - we were always connected, and I love that.  Once we were in high school, we were fast friends.  I can remember hours spent at LaRosas, my house, Lisa's house, with Karan, in various clubs, musicals, plays, etc.  Side by side we traveled.  We even trailed each other to college.  I roomed with Chrissy (that blog post is coming up) and Karan (that one is, too), and Bobby and Lisa lived close enough by at Miami University that we hung out together now and then.  My sophomore year I became a resident assistant.  Bobby did, too, and we lived in the same co-ed dorm.  I can remember hanging out in his room and laughing and talking, and laughing some more.  Interestingly enough, Ed, who is my husband, landed in Morris Hall, also.  It's amusing to hear Ed talk about first meeting Bobby and me.  He thought we were a couple.  We weren't - just best friends - but it took some reconnaisance on Ed's part to find that out.  

     Bobby was a big fan of Ed's.He helped me figure out he was the one I should marry.  He knew he was the one for me, and fully supported that relationship.  Ed loved Bobby, too.  He knew he meant a lot to me.   Bobby and Lisa were always classically late to things, our wedding ceremony being one of them.  They completely missed it!  Granted, the ceremony was only 12 minutes long, but it was still funny.  They made it to the reception, which we all know is the most fun part anyway, right?  They even did a booze run for us when we ran out 3/4 of the way through the party.

     When we were all in college, we started a Friends' Thanksgiving tradition that has lasted 26 years. Bobby was a part of that from the very beginning.  He was never married, so it seemed like our kids were like his own, and he was their biggest fan.  He came to musicals, soccer games, birthdays, etc.  He knew all their friends, and their friends knew him.  He would ask about them by name.  All the kids loved him.  He was like their favorite uncle even though he wasn't related.  We all love this picture of him with Ellie and Katie at one of the Pittsburgh Friends' Thanksgivings.  Ed and I  moved to Pittsburgh because of Ed's career , and were there for five years.  My high school/college friends continued to made the trek several times a year.  It was so fun!
  

     When Bobby was 44, shortly after we had a great time tubing at Perfect North Slopes, he was diagnosed with cancer.  It seemed surreal.  He declined quickly, moving into a local Hospice in May, 4 short months after the diagnosis.  My daughter, Libby, was graduating from high school that Memorial Day weekend.  He watched the graduation ceremony, in which she gave the Salutatorian speech, live-streamed from his bed.  He was heartbroken he couldn't be there, and we were the same. On the day of the graduation party, my friends checked in on him (it was a very difficult time for me - I felt like I need to be with him, but I also needed to be with Libby and her celebrations), and he kept asking when the party was going to be over.  It was over about 7 or 8 pm, but close friends and family stayed.  At about 10:30, we got the call that he passed away.  We knew he was holding on until Libby's party was over.  She was already at a friend's bonfire, her day a wonderful success.  My group of friends gathered in a circle, and wept. For our friend, our cheerleader, our good-hearted companion.  He had a heart of gold.  None of our gatherings are quite the same without him.  When I said my final goodbye at his bedside, he asked me (and everyone else) to remember the good times.  Oh, we will, dear friend.  We will.
                                                 
                                                       

12 comments:

  1. Your post brings me tears Holly. You are so blessed to have had the chance to had an amazing friend like him. How blessed are we to know what true friendship means? People may live a whole life without knowing that. May he always a place in your heart. Thanks for sharing Holly!

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    1. Thank you for reading, Stella. Yes, we were blessed to have him in our lives!!

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  2. That must have been really sad for you Mrs.Mueller! You were celebrating Libby's graduation but then you got the call that Bobby passed away. Hopefully you will always remember him in your heart

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    1. Aw, Lauren, you are so sweet. Yes, it was really hard, and I will always remember him in my heart. Thank you so much for your empathetic comment. I miss you! I hope you are having a great spring break. :-)

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  3. Oh, it still seems so fresh when reading this... thank you for that, Holly- it was beautiful!

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    1. It's hard to believe it was 3 years ago!

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  4. I had no idea when I started reading that the clipping from a spelling bee would be a story about a lifelong friend that ended so sadly. You had be riveted and with you the entire time. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I am happy that you had such a close relationship with Bobby, who sounds like a wonderful person.
    I'm so glad that you're writing memoirs. I think that memoirs are the best kind of writing. I love to read them, and I love to write them. Hoping to publish my own someday. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. About half ay through this pice I connected to the tense you used, and then to a prior blog post, and I was so sad, Holly. What a terrific friendship and connection you had - it's no wonder that you still remember him, and all the good times you had, and all the love you shred. A very special post.

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  6. You were blessed by this friendship, as I am sure he was by yours and your whole family. This is a heartwarming story made poignant by his early death but made deeper by your memories that live on!

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  7. What a great friend he was! You brought him to life with your words. His memory lives on in your heart.

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  8. This is such a beautiful tribute to Bobby, Holly. What a special friendship you had on so many, many levels. Like Tara, I picked up on the sadness early in the post, but still got teary at the end. You crafted this with such love and honor.

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  9. I love the picture you painted of this friendship. What a wonderful gift to have such a friend in your life! Your words brought this dear friend to life! Keep writing.

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