(Found: Real, Intimate, Endless, Nurturing, Dear "Sister")
I like the saying that goes:
"Some people come into our lives
and quickly go.
Others come into our lives,
leave footprints on our hearts,
and we are never, ever the same.
Those "footprint" people tend to be few and far between for some of us. My husband is one, of course. Some people are fortunate enough to have several close friends throughout their lives that would fall into that category. I have never been a person who has had many close in-person friends. Between growing up as an only child and then being in a childless (not by choice) marriage since '79, I became used to being alone. I had one really close friend from when we met in 7th grade till .... it's hard to give an ending date since we gradually drifted apart after I became a Christian in '76. She was maid of honor at my wedding in '79 and I tried to maintain contact over the years. But it was like there was a great gulf between us, and I finally gave up when we moved to Seattle, 2,000 miles away, in '90. Sometimes I think about her and wonder where she is and what she's doing, and whether she ever thinks about me. But some friendships just weren't meant to last forever. On the other hand, my friend who this page is dedicated to.... that's a different story.
Because I was never the gregarious type who made friends easily, I had some "pen pals" growing up, several of whom I wrote to for several years, a few of whom I even met. I've lost touch with them too, at least partly due to a little invention called the Internet. Some people still write "snail mail" letters, and I think that's great. In some ways, it seems more personal than looking at a computer screen. But let's face it, E-mail is so much faster in this new world of wanting and expecting things instantly. But wait a minute -- my previous statement is not entirely true, about losing touch with everyone who I came to know as a "pen pal". That's how I met my best "footprint" friend, 18 years ago. My husband and I were still living in Chicago, working full-time, having decided a couple years earlier that we needed to spend the rest of our lives in Seattle as soon as we both finished school, and I was very impatiently waiting for the day when he would finish (he changed his major so I finished two years before him) so we could pack up and get here. We didn't know anyone in the Seattle area, and I thought, wouldn't it be nice if I found a penfriend (I really didn't like the term "pen pal"; I considered those I exchanged long letters with to be my friends) who I could meet in person when we finally got to Seattle. So I started watching the "pen pal" section that, back in those days, used to be featured in magazines such as the now-defunct "Women's Circle".
One day in '88, I was looking through Women's Circle and there was a letter from a lady named Dianne in a town I recognized as being a south suburb of Seattle. She was 4-1/2 years older than me and had 4 kids who were then aged 8 to 14. So I didn't know if she would feel we had enough in common to write back. But I saw two very big connections -- we were both Christians and avid crocheters. She also had made some comments I liked about having gone through some hard times but being happy in spite of it. So I wrote to her, which turned out to be probably the most important letter I ever wrote in my life. I was very pleased to get a nice reply from her. We continued to write for the next couple years till the time came in June '90 when we were ready to make the big move, and then we made tentative plans to meet. I remember Dianne being somewhat horrified when I told her Rex and I were moving to a small loft apartment in Pioneer Square, a historic area in the south part of downtown Seattle. She has never been a "city girl", whereas I grew up in Chicago so it wouldn't have phased me to move to the downtown section of a city a quarter the size of Chicago. I explained that Rex had gone to Seattle a few weeks before to find us an apartment so we'd have somewhere to go when we arrived, and that was the only place where he was able to find one on such short notice. And I assured her we would be safe in Pioneer Square. She came to the big city to meet me a couple of weeks after we arrived. Two of her young daughters, Lisa and April, were with her. I honestly don't remember what we did that day. I only know we hit it off, since we have been best friends ever since.
That first year and a half when we lived downtown, I would get on the city bus and meet Dianne in a town about half the distance to the suburb she lived in. Then we would get in her car and invariably go to craft/yarn stores, Christian bookstores, craft/yarn stores, malls, craft/yarn stores, department stores, craft/yarn stores, gift stores, and did I mention we went (and still go) to craft/yarn stores? We both like to shop, especially for yarn, even though we both have more of a stash than we will probably ever be able to use. But as crocheters know, this is a common characteristic of our addiction, I mean, creative outlet. I think Dianne was relieved when Rex and I bought our acreage in a rural area southwest of Seattle in '90. She didn't like the idea of my living in the big city, though it was a short commute to my downtown job. And she knew I was tired of renting apartments my whole life and longed to be able to have a house on our acreage. Neither of us would have imagined that I would still be stuck in the old, shabby singlewide mobile (that was supposed to be a temporary shelter till we had our house) 14 years later, and I know she is happy that it appears the loooong wait for my house will finally be over soon.
Dianne moved into a very cute little white farmhouse in a small town on the South Sound several years ago. She has been single for many years and when you first drive up to her place, you can tell a lady lives there. Not just a female, but a lady. She (unlike me) is a devoted and skilled gardener who always has many kinds of beautiful flowers growing on and around her yard, and I tag along to the garden department on several of our shopping trips even though my own interest in flowers and plants is strictly limited to looking at and admiring those grown by others. The floral theme continues inside her home; there is a definite feminine touch, largely in pastel shades of rose, blue and pale yellow. The painting at the top of this page reminds me of something she may have done as a little girl. We have never really talked about that. But I can see her playing "dress up" as a child, in a gown like that pictured, surrounded by ruffled, floral decor in her beloved rose and blue. She is more of a "girly girl" than I am; I love to watch NASCAR races and football, and favor deeper colors like burgundy. She has more subdued taste than I do in music, movies and TV shows. I often like to "crank up" music I really enjoy; she likes it turned down low. Her online experience is limited to checking her E-mail once in awhile. I have often joked that if you averaged my online time with her lack thereof, you would have an average person! But it would be boring if we had every single thing in common. We both love to crochet, we both love to watch figure skating, we both enjoy some of the same singers such as Collin Raye (who she learned of through me). And most important of all, we share faith in Christ, though I feel her faith and love for God is much greater and deeper than mine has ever been. I strive to become half the woman of faith I see in her. She is 5 inches shorter than me at 5'2". So she has occasionally passed an outfit down to me that was too long for her -- and vice versa! She has a chronic and painful condition with the tendons in her foot that has caused her to have to wear a brace on that foot for quite some time now, and to give up the long walks she used to enjoy. I know she and I would appreciate prayer that God would grant her relief and eventual healing.
Dianne has been the main receptionist at a major company for several years. I feel this is a great fit for her since she has a gentle and cordial way with people as well as a nice telephone voice. Like me, she was raised as an only child. She has done a beautiful job raising four children, who are now in their mid 20s to early 30s and who all have different vocations and talents. Becky has gone from being a successful manager at an insurance company to a successful real estate agent, and is gifted at sewing. Lisa is married with a lovely house in an eastern suburb and is a talented crocheter and baker. Peter has received an internship to become an electrician and is getting married in August '06, and April is a nurse (and a future nurse practitioner) and plays the piano.
Dianne lives with her three little dogs, one of whom I am especially attached to since I was with her when we found the pup. It was about 9 years ago and we were at her home, preparing to go out shopping, when there was what we thought was a long-haired Chihuahua. We scooped "him" up (we both looked underneath and I swear we both thought it was a "him"), took "him" and bathed "him" several times to get rid of the fleas. Dianne posted notices in her neighborhood, but no one ever claimed the pup. She named "him" Chico, which seemed like a great name for a male Chihuahua. But following a trip to the vet, we not only learned Chico was really a she, but she was a Pomeranian! So her name became Chica. She still has Chica, who is 11 now and who, 7 years ago, gave birth to a pup who Dianne kept and whose name is Joshua. (The dad was Dianne's small rescued Chihuahua, Ricky, who died a few years ago at age 18.) Josh is very tiny and loves to play fetch. He looks like a shorthaired Chihuahua with a dark mask and is just adorable (and knows it). Her third dog is a brown female Chihuahua (also a rescued dog), Java. She is blessed to still have her parents, Hal and Margaret, who are in their 80s now. Margaret lives in a cute townhouse not far from Dianne and is still an avid crocheter. Hal is a sweet Christian man who lives in a retirement home, is still skilled at building decorative birdhouses and plaques, and enjoys occasionally getting together with Dianne and me for outings at his favorite buffet and elsewhere, as his health permits. Following are some pictures taken in summer '06. The first three were taken on July 2.
Dianne on the porch of her home with (from left to right) Josh, Chica and Java
Dianne and me at a pretty place she introduced me to -- Kanaskat-Palmer State Park, on the Green River near Enumclaw, WA. (That one of me may eventually be my "before" picture on my weight page when/if I ever lose this weight. Yuk!)
Marilynn, me, Dianne and Jennifer on July 29, '06. Marilynn and Jennifer are two of the members of our local online crochet group.
The next group of pictures were taken at the wedding reception of Dianne's son Peter on August 12, 2006.
Dianne with her middle daughter Lisa (left), Peter and his new wife, Coryn.
Dianne with, left, her dad Hal (Lisa in background), and right, her mom, Margaret.
Dianne with her eldest daughter Becky (Lisa in background)
Lisa, April (youngest daughter) and Dianne
Me, Hal, and Dianne, at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on Hal's 85th birthday, August 19, '06
Dianne's farmhouse is about 35 miles from where I live, but we get together whenever we can. Now that I have a car, I will often drive to her home and stay overnight on a Saturday. We head out to stores or just for a ride for several hours, then spend the evening listening to music or watching a wholesome movie or TV show while crocheting, talking, playing with the dogs, and snacking (we could both stand to lose 40-ish pounds). We stay up till about midnight (which to her is really late but to me is normal to early). Then she heads to her bedroom, I head to the guest room upstairs, go online for awhile, eventually go to bed, and get up usually 2 to 3 hours after she has already been up (she is a morning person and I am not; I wouldn't think of getting up at 5-something unless I absolutely had to). We have a little breakfast, walk the dogs and I leave around 8:30-ish so that I can get to church on time. We always have such a nice time together and I know we will always be friends. I feel everyone should have a Dianne in their life, and I thank God for the day I saw her letter in that magazine and responded., not having any idea it would lead to what I believe will be a lifelong friendship. She truly is the sister I never had.
August, 2010: One thing Dianne and I wish we didn't have in common is the rough spell we both went through in recent months, the lowlight of which was that we both lost two of our very most beloved doggies in a span of 6 to 8 months. My Colby and Heidi died in March and Nov. '09 respectively, while her much loved little Joshua went to the rainbow bridge in Oct. '09 at only age 10-1/2 due to a congenital heart problem, and lovely little Chica joined him there in Mar. '10 at about age 17. I wrote dedications to both of them in the 3/9/10 and 10/7/09 entries of The Evergreen Refuge Blog. I knew both of these little ones for many years, and I miss them. The Lord did bless Dianne (and me) with two little chihuahua stepbrothers for Java on March 20th, 2010 -- Michael and Jacob. I wrote about this in my March 28th, 2010 blog entry. Here they are on their first day together!
Dianne's youngest daughter April also adopted an adorable furry "son" this summer! Here are the equally sleepy April and little Olie, who is 3/4 Dachshund and 1/4 Chuhuahua, but looks like a dachshund. He was only about 9 weeks old in this recent pic.
August, 2012: Dianne's dear dad, Hal, passed away in April, 2011 at age 89. Then in Feb. of this year, she retired from her long-time job 6 months ago due to health reasons. She has a sleep disorder that was interfering with her ability to do her job. She is doing better now that she is away from the pressures of working full-time and hopes to eventually get back to working part-time. Her three doggies (including Java, who is now about 13) and her four lovely grown children are doing well. Her mom, 86, had eye surgery earlier this month that interferes with her passion for crocheting, so I pray her vision will improve very soon.
"Dream Orphans" - official font of The Evergreen Refuge - download here
Music MIDI from Duchess at Home