My Tale Is Told

"Campion Road farmhouse, 1972"; a watercolor sketch © Nellieanna Hay
"Campion Road farmhouse, 1972"; a watercolor sketch © Nellieanna Hay | Source

I’ve been blessed in my life with some really remarkable friends along the way. Each one deserves a special chapter in my own story. This is one of them.

On this blustery 1970 October day in Southern Indiana, I had stoked the fireplace, shallow thing that it was. After every log burned singly, so small was the grate, that any ashes that had tumbled out onto the hearth had to be kept swept up and taken out. It was one of my chores to keep the fire going and the old pine floors safe from embers when all the others in my family were away at school. It was a chore which usually extended on throughout the evening, while homework was being done and papers graded.

It was a very old farmhouse with very old fireplaces. The two of them, in fact, were back to back in the dining room and living room common wall. Small, yes, but they provided good warmth against the slicing cold of the northern weather which seemed to begin too early in the fall and last too well into the spring. Being a native Texan and learning to handle the cold after I'd reached the ripe old age of 25, I never got fully used to the interminable duration of it and it was but one of the challenges of the place.

But on this day when I hadn’t heard from my dear friend Jan in awhile, I’d been thinking how much colder it must be for her and her darling Dallas and Linc in Colorado. I was hoping I'd hear from her that all was well. I hadn’t heard the weather news, but I was aware that it was usual for their weather to surpass ours in low temperatures and icy conditions. Not a contest I especially wanted to win, I was thinking!

We’d corresponded regularly and she’d been telling me about art classes she was taking to improve her considerable skills as well as mentioning a bit of physical symptoms she had been experiencing. But her enthusiasm always set the tone of her letters, rather than any gloom or anxiety. An aspiring artist, lately she was focused on mastering oils. Such a creature of creative activity! Of course, she would do it and I wanted to hear all about her progress!

In 1967, she’d made me a gift of the most charming sketches of my two children, pencilled onto a kind of textured building material. Each of these was cut into a matching circle with its edges bound by a strip of blue velvet ribbon to make the set of attractive wall plaques. They were so unique. It was the kind of gift which had lasted a long time, just as our friendship had.

Dallas had been one of the groomsmen – the military swordsmen - at our 1954 wedding. He’d gone through cadet training with my groom and had been hoping to find his soul mate. It was in Waco where our wedding had taken place and where he and my husband were stationed after being commissioned that, at last, he met her! They were married shortly before the guys got out of the service and we all left Waco in the summer of 1957.

After we all went our separate ways, Dallas finished college and became a brilliant engineer whose specialty was extremely unique; so unique that only a few engineers in the country then held jobs using the specialty, new in the developing electronics field. He had been the one specialist at Texas Instruments, in fact, when some of the earliest work on calculators and computers was rapidly being developed in the 1960s.

He and his willowy Jan adopted a precious little son they both doted on and they named him Lincoln, calling him Linc. Jan became my very dear friend, mostly through long-distance correspondence. He flew his own light plane and early on, occasionally they'd pop over to see us in various locations as time permitted. She and I had much in common and it was such fun.

But reverses in their fortune in the meantime when a situation had forced them into dire straits had occurred by the time I received that fateful letter that day in late autumn.

You see, she'd become involved in one of the earliest cosmetic pyramid schemes. The magic ingredient this product claimed was mink oil. It had looked like the opportunity of a lifetime to them. They could be in on the "ground floor", be their own bosses and nothing but their own efforts would limit the “top” echelons they could reach! They were bedazzled.

They had become so enthusiastic about it, they focused all their career hopes on it. He left his position at TI and they invested their life savings in a large product inventory and set off to build their fortune. We visited them on one trip to Texas and could see the extent of their inventory and the business plans which dominated their entire focus. They invited us join in it, but we declined, fortunately, as it turned out.


Though they set up their business as prescribed for success and earnestly tried, it didn't go according to plan. The main company was not on solid foundations. Eventually they had to admit defeat and throw in the towel, at a huge loss.

Unfortunately, the timing was doubly poor, as it coincided simultaneously with a glut of engineers just graduating from college and jobs in the profession were almost non-existent. New graduates claiming Dallas’ credentials were to be hired by the companies at substantially lower salaries than he’d have commanded and he was way over-qualified for a lesser job at a plant where he might have once been the star. But he finally found some sort of work in Denver, enough to get a new start on which to rebuild their lives. They couldn't afford even to rent a house in Denver, so they had parked a trailer home out from town a ways.

But, true to form, Jan painted and made their little trailer a home full of beauty and love for her beloved husband and son. She never succumbed to a “poverty mentality”, but remained her cheery self and continued to pursue her artistic interests and inspire hope.

She loved to paint the Colorado mountains in all their glory and in all kinds of weather. That same year – 1970 - she’d sent me a small oil sketch of the Rockies in the spring as a little gift. It was so typical of her. I still treasure it.

She sparkled when she entered a room and the room lit up in response. It was unselfconscious on her part. Everyone simply loved and responded to her. There was always something delicate about her demeanor and, though slim as a fashion model, she’d become diabetic during the ordeal of the financial stress.

On this particular day in Indiana, with October well underway and winter’s fingers toying with the fields and hillsides in my location, the “real cold” was yet to arrive in its full regalia. I'd already begun to perform the routine wintry chore of tossing down bales of hay from the barn loft to the cattle as the pastures had rapidly succumbed to the cold. But on this particular day, I'd done it earlier in the morning, concluding my outdoors duties, leaving me free to do my preferred activities, including choosing from among my own special pleasures of reading, playing the piano, writing, painting, sewing and, of course, choosing which of the domestic duties to take care of that day - always to a music background from favorite records.

With all the remaining chores indoors. I was merely tending to the fireplaces, waiting for my bread to rise on top of the hot-water heater in its closet where it took advantage of the mellow warmth while I baked the day’s cookies in anticipation of my kids' return from school. They'd soon be rushing up the driveway from the big yellow school bus which deposited them at the foot of our lane, right beside where our mailbox stood.

I decided to take a break from cooking, untied my apron, donned a warm coat and boots and headed down to the end of the lane to get the mail from the box before their arrival.

It was brisk out, and how pleasant to feel the cold air nip my cheeks after tending fireplaces and ovens, yet still to be cuddly warm inside my coat. The air was crisp and clean with the sun at its slanted angle of late Autumn and on the down-side of the afternoon, twinkling through the now bare tall trees atop the hill beyond the creek which followed along the narrow farm road which was my destination that afternoon.

- Artist Unknown -
- Artist Unknown -

Among the journals, bills and notices stuffed into the mailbox, there was the awaited letter from Colorado! I could hardly wait to get back to the house and read it. Jan was always creative in her writing, with her sly sense of humour. On this missive she'd drawn one of her funny little last-minute ball-point ink sketches on the back of the envelope. It depicted a girl with a ponytail, viewed from the back, with a little naked butt sitting on a block of ice above an inscription: “My Tale Is Told” – full of double meaning, of course. I smiled, thinking of her writing it with a sort of "baby talk" inflection.

Right then, little did I know its terrible true significance as I skipped back up the driveway lane to the cozy warmth of my house and fireplaces to pour myself a cup of coffee and settle down to read the contents of the letter.

Because, unbeknownst to me, as this was all unfolding in Indiana, over in Colorado there was a massive blizzard raging and Jan was marooned alone in their trailer. Nothing could have prepared me for the shock and grief that would follow upon the last smiles from reading her letter.

Dallas was unable to get out to her while the storm was raging to bring her refill of medicine which she had depleted. The prescription was waiting at the pharmacy and he had picked it up before finding the road blocked till it could be cleared.

In this desolate scenario, our darling Jan went into insulin shock, never to regain consciousness before she died too late for the medicine and for her Dallas to reach her.

At the moment when I was finding that letter from her, she was lying on the cold floor of their trailer in a coma, cut off from help. It gives me goosebumps now, writing about it 40 years later.

There is no way to describe the contrast of the nearly flippant cheer of her letter and the tragic timing of the reality of her death; and no way to account for the nearly supernatural aspect and impact of that message, “My tale is told’. Her cheerfulness, her creativity and her wit were all almost pulsating in my hand in her letter when they’d already ended in reality. It was devastating.

We received the phone call from her grieving Dallas that very evening.

- Artist Unknown -
- Artist Unknown -

I guess that, next to the news of my sister Harriet’s and her entire family's death in 1953, and learning of that incomprehensible accident over the radio, nothing had ever shaken me to the core, nor possibly could it ever again shake me to my core as Jan’s passing did that day. Her passing while so young and vibrant, was tragic enough, but that poignant "My Tale is Told" underlined it and haunted me deeply for a long time thereafter, and still does, if truth be told.

I don’t want this to be morbid, though. It’s a fact of life that death comes. There could be no life as we know it without death as we know it.

It’s up to the living to both live on courageously and to remember those who are gone, though usually it’s come to them more naturally in time at an older age. To lose a dear person at quite a young age is even the more poignant. And it has happened more often than otherwise in my lifetime. Jan and Harriet were both in their mid-30s. Harriet’s three little sons were all under 6.

Others I love have left Earth at various other ages of life. It's never easy, of course, and each of them is sorely missed and well-remembered.

RIP, my darlings, till we meet again.

Unless otherwise attributed, all design, graphics, photography and written material herein are original and copyrighted by Nellieanna H. Hay.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This material is protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from Nellieanna H. Hay.

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Comments 88 comments

suny51 profile image

suny51 6 years ago

Nellianna mam Please give me that form house In Indiana,a poor Indian's demand though the fireplace I shall use seldom.Grand hub and Lucky be the first here.Thanks,(please consider my demand)

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Only you, Nellieanna, could have written such a wonderful tribut to your friend and the outlook on death. Yes, it is never easy and the loss never goes away. Thank you for sharing and chance to read it.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Suny, I no longer own that farmhouse and my ex-husband made it into a mansion later on. Its charm, though, was its old-fashioned rustic appeal. The walls were framed out of native hardwood - (oak) but the floors were of soft pine, the opposite of most wood houses' construction.

There's not one inch of how it was that I don't know like the proverbial "back of my hand". I really "kept house" in that house!

But if I had it to give, I can't think of anyone to whom I'd like more to give it! I suppose if it were in India, the fireplace would have very little use! haha!

Thanks for being my first visitor on this hub!!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

hello, hello! Thank you for such a special compliment! I started writing this quite awhile ago and let it hang loose, not knowing if the subject was OK. But I decided to go on and I'm rather glad I did. I really appreciate your comments!

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

"It’s up to the living to both live on courageously and to remember those who are gone..." What a stunningly lovely line! And the meaning is so very deep. Like this whole Hub, which is both a wonderful read and a great tribute to your friend. Remembering those who have gone before us is a way of inspiring the courage to go on, and going on courageously is a way of honouring those who have gone before! Great stuff!

Love and peace


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 6 years ago from India

Such as poignant story, Nellieanna. And of course you still have that envelope from Jan's last letter!

Some things are so hard to explain or understand, aren't they? But life has to go on...

(I love the Alps painting!)

alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Jan sounded like a rare full of life. What a shame it ended so tragically. You did a beautiful job in your lovely portrait of her. It's very sad but, as you said, you have wonderful memories of who she was and what she meant to you.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

What an incredibly beautiful and at the same time bittersweet picture you paint, Nellieanna, both in your water colors and your writing.

You have a God-given talent m'dear - may you be granted many, many more years to share it.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you, Tony - you are a wise "old soul" yourself. Perhaps I was born into an environment in which the end of life was not such a surprise or shock as to most youngsters. Several of my aunts and uncles had died before I was born and all but one of my grandparents had, and she was quite elderly.

One of my dearest friends was an elderly invalid lady who lived across the alley. I loved to sit by her side and visit with her endlessly when I was very young. While my peers took for granted having their own grandparents & other members of the older generation all around, mine weren't, so I guess I thought of old folks as special treasures & was aware that they weren't going to be there to enjoy forever.

Even so, I was spared witnessing much death simply because 3/4th of my forebears were gone on before & my paternal grandmother moved from our home back up north with another of her sons, where she died. But I wasn't present.

My sister's & her family's death when I was 21 was the initial first-hand experience I'd had! Then it seemed that I began to experience more close losses over the years. None is easy. But it is inevitable & is obviously the way things are set up.

One can't help but realize that life is precious and never wasted & that it strengthens character to accept & build on what has gone before.

The duration of a life is not as important as the quality of it and the example it leaves for others.

Thanks for your very good comments, my deep friend.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

FP - yes, I have the envelope and its original contents, written in her vivacious handwriting and unique style.

It's hard to explain in her case, for sure, - why so young and so good? They say "the good die young". Seems to me that sometimes they die young and sometimes they outlive everyone else. The main thing is that they were fully alive and good folks for as long as they did live. I suppose the thought behind that saying was that the not-so-good need more time to shape up their acts! But without the good folks, they'd be missing the good examples, so that argument doesn't hold much water, in my estimation! LOL

Oh, Yes - I'm very fond of the Alps painting too. I love the way she is lavish with the paints, but only where it actually portrays the subject she's painting. Other painters are either stingy or over-done in the use of oil paints, I think. I've never really tackled them but if I ever do, I would want to have the delicate-with-bold touch Jan had.

Thanks for your sweet comments, my friend.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Alekhouse - so good to see you back online "in touch". Yes for sure, Jan was a rare and special friend.

I was thrilled last night when I was almost ready to post the article and remembered I had a couple of snapshots of her, probably in one of those boxes on the top shelf of the closet. I went straight to the right box and - sure enough - there they were! That was really gratifying!

Isn't if funny such little things that come to mind about a close friend? I could just hear her saying that one of her most enjoyed luxuries was - paper products! haha - really! - She just loved to stock up on pretty paper towels, everyday paper plates and napkins to use "quiltlessly". All those products which, I suppose, were just making a big splash on the market, - before we became so aware of the many trees it takes for their production and the waste it causes. But she would have cared about that too. Then - for her - it was just a "luxury" out of the budget when the budget was tight. And to her credit, she also thought of it as a luxury to use "real cloth" napkins and guest towels which needed to be ironed! LOL

I've often thought about her saying that, when I'm pulling off a sheet or two of paper towel to wrap a veggie in to help prolong its life in the fridge - or to use for a jillion little things, though I confess that I "dry" used wet paper towels before discarding them (so they don't get musty smelling in the trash.) And sometimes I keep a few of those to wipe up floor spills! Why waste a fresh clean one on a blob of yogurt on the rug? Yeah - I was a "Depression Baby" -LOL. I guess we all have our eccentricities about what is or isn't wasteful!

(by the way - I remember when "a jillion" seemed like an incomprehensibly large number. These days of federal budgetting, it ain't so many! - wink!)

But isn't it the little things of which memories are so often made? One only remembers them spontaneously - not in any kind of order or for any "reason" to.

Thank you for the sweet supportive comments.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

drbj - thank you. We all have our mixed blessings, don't we? If we couldn't feel ample bittersweet senses of loss and pain, we wouldn't have the capacity to feel the wonderful senses of beauty and pleasure which we can experience abundantly! The balances in life are surely what allow either opposide to exist and I, for one, treasure those capacities. ('opposide' was an honest typo, but I think I'll leave it right there!!)

Another very sweet friend from that era taught me to not only allow all my feelings but to treasure and welcome them, including the so-called "negative" ones. As she said, they prove you're alive! And so they do! And none of them is negative - it's negative to try to deny them!

That little sketch of the old farmhouse was just something I threw together to place as the inside cover for Notebook #I of many - of my poems when I began collecting them into notebooks since I was writing so prolifically & was living there, both in that house and in the notebooks!

Somehow, it seemed to fit this hub about Jan. They'd never gotten to visit us there, except through letters, but her letters were a big comfort for living there, which wasn't always any comfort at all.

Wow - Thank you for the encouragement! I certainly am planning on a lot more living & have excellent prospects of it! I've no intention of spending any of it in regret or in viewing negative prospects for either living or dying, either! Meantime I can't say the years already logged up have been boring or non-productive!! I needn't produce the 'great American novel' in order to have left a few tracks on the sands of time! ;->LOL I would like to have a few peers around who also remember cooling off in the summertime by sitting in a washtub of cold water from the garden hose, though!! Any volunteers? hehe

Thank you for reading and commenting, dear lady. You're among my most favoritest of favorites!

billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Nellieanna you have written a beautiful tribute to your friend Jan and her life and her art. She herself sounded very inspirational battling through her own letdowns and hardships. To read of your sister and her entire family loss, your three young nephews was heart breaking and to hear that on the public radio i can't even begin to imagine. This is such a reminder of just how special life and living in the present and living a good life is. You never seem to stop impressing that. Thank you.

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK


Our loved ones live in us and we in turn shall live in the memory of loved ones. Personally I am on borrowed time, so I do hope that some people will remember me with fondness, even love, and bring me to mind at those special moments. Your friend is lucky in having you for this purpose, along with her close family. A very nice story nicely told. :D

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dear heart - we're all on borrowed time and do well to pause to remember it from time to time. As for you, you're remembered fondly and lovingly while you live and surely still will be when your number is called.

I'm happy that you visited and read and appreciated my recount of one of the several friends who have passed and whom I remember so fondly. Thank you!!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Billy, thank you. Yes, Jan was one of those people that seemed to sparkle whenever she was present - or remembered.

It's virtually impossible to imagine the anquish at losing that precious family. To say I was stunned is too great an understatement. It was anounced on the radio because I had just moved and hadn't even gotten a phone installed. No one knew how to contact me, so the local radio made the announcement to ask for anyone listening who might know to make sure I was informed.

It was an incredible shock - and literally changed the course of my life.

When one looks back, things fall into better place. But while in progress, it can be utter chaos. But we find the perspective again and continue, usually enriched by experience and deepened with understanding.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Billy. I appreciate you!

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Your Hubs are such a satisfying blend of words and pictures, and this one is no exception. In the tradition of the best of memoir, you invite us into the past to sit down with you for a spell, to see and hear and feel what was inside you, in front of you. Thank you so much for the visit, Nellianna. Now Jan is going to live on in each of us as well.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

That's a lovely response, Sally - - I hoped you'd feel invited in to share the memory moment. Jan would be so pleased, too. Thank you!

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Nell what a wonderfully happy story yet tragically sad. You and your best friend had a glimpse of each other through a deep friendship and love and respect for each other. Jan was truly a gift as you were to her sent to each other from above.

You both shared experiences together with the love of art, music and family. She no doubt was a talented lady, it shows in the drawings and paintings you generously included here with your kind words.

I to know the feeling of loss, you read about my father replacement figure George, in my hub, the boy from the bottom of the hill. I knew him from 15 until his passing in 1992, I to received a letter a few days before his passing and did not know that I was going to receive a phone call from one of his daughters of his passing. I again read his letter and smiled knowing of the how happy he was writing to share his life with me.

I am glad that we all have people who pass through our lives that make a difference and shape our lives to some degree, leaving us with pleasant memories, that last us and keep us going on. Thanks you my dear hub friend for sharing Jan, Dallas and Linc with us. May she RIP and await your reunion and share art, music, poetry with each other once for till eternity. A beautiful tribute to your friend Jan. Peace, love and hugs.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dear Ken - Thank you for those words. Amazing that we share that kind of experience of getting a letter from a friend who's passed on or who soon will. A little poem of mine your comments reminded me to share:

There are some who, passing,

Cast longer shadows,

Who, having passed,

Leave larger spaces

Where they dwelt.

These are they who leave

The most indelible traces

Of themselves

Upon the lives

They've helped.

___© Nellieanna H. Hay

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

How true my friend, how true. Having known this man, he left a void in my life, never to be replaced to this very day, his shadow was cast and did leave a larger shadow. I remember once visiting his resting place on a family and business trip to Montreal a few years back. I had a friend with me and he tagged along to the cemetery.

My friend watched me from a distance while I stood over my friends grave site and I chatted and paid my respects, the sun had gone down, and the cemetery was beginning to get dark and shadowy. Just as I was ending my conversations with George a glow appeared over the ground below my feet just for a few seconds, it left me with a nice feeling. I turned and said to my friend, did you just see that, he nodded his head with a yes and stood frozen as I walked back to him with a smile on my face.

I felt that George had reached out to me and I felt so reassured of his peace. I prayed that he is in some big library in heaven tending to the books, he was such a journal keeper and it would be fitting for him to be carrying on that work with our creator.

So Nell this piece of exquisite poetry you send to me brought back some reassurance for me that George has left some indelible traces of himself, by glowing for me on that visit. Peace and hugs.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

My beloved George Hay, I'm sure, frequently reaches out to me here in the house we shared for 25 years. Little things demonstrate it. We had a "thing" that when the clock said 11:11, and we happened to notice it unintentionally, it was a favorable sign. Of course, we didn't need a favorable sign to lift our days but this was a special thing. It happens twice a day but the chances of just happening to notice it are only there for 2 minutes out of all 1440 minutes in any one day so it's rather special. Now when I happen to notice it, it gives me a warm feeling of sharing it once more. That's one of many special instances of that kind of sense of his presence.

Thanks for sharing that beautiful moment when the George who meant so much to you reached out so visibly!

M Selvey, MSc profile image

M Selvey, MSc 6 years ago from United Kingdom


While reading this, I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps at the same time. I truly felt as I was reading it that Jan's spirit is alive in your telling of the story. It is so beautifully written! Just from her photograph, you can see her "sparkiness".

I love the painting of your farmhouse. I am continually awed by your talent!

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Margit - I'm glad you felt the reality of it. Writing it refreshed her realness for me, as well. It brought back her kindness as well as her spark. You're so kind about my efforts. I appreciate it!! Thank you!

lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Oh, Nellieanna-it is such a tragedy to lose those we have loved and shared histories with. You both had art in your blood and it so, so shows.

We must prevail in this life and death is an unfortunate part we must learn from. You have the grace to write of this friendship with beauty.

Thank you for such a gift.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Lorlie, thank you for those kind words. It's so - it's hard to lose loved ones - but you're right, death is part of life. It doesn't frighten me for myself. I think sometimes it's worse for those who are bereaved than for those who go on into that next step. Whether or not one thinks it is a final step or a step into another manifestation of life, it is a "next" step after this life and the organic, natural one! No point in thinking of it otherwise, I guess, since it's one-on-one equal with birth as an event one can be sure of in life as we know it. I prefer life and hope to keep mine going in good order for quite a while longer, but I'm not uneasy about dying. There are just so many things to do which being alive makes possible! :-)

I love your profile picture, by the way. You look like a person who is fun to knonw and you always have such sweet comments. Thank you!

Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 6 years ago from Louisiana

Thats one thing we must always remember. to live every day as if its our last to enjoy the little things and be with the ones we love as much as we can and tell them we love them becuz tomorrow is not promised today. anything can happen at anytime its all a matter of if its your time to go. I had a brother who died when he was 2 days old that i never met becuz i wasn't born yet. and i have a tattoo in memory of him to this day. how can u love someone u never knew is beyond me but i do i love my brother and wish i could have known him, and i love God/jesus whom ive never met either and sumtimes i belive that Timmy Jr is my guardian angel my brother still watching out for me even in heaven.

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

We never HAVE tomorrow or yesterday, and no promises. We only have the day at hand, where our memories of loved ones continue. Perhaps Timmy is watching out for you, Nikki. How sweet that you hold his memory dear to you.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

What a sad, tragic story. I am sorry for your loss. I realize that even though it happened long ago, that loss is still felt. The My Tale is Told sketch is a special gift for you, the sly wink of a loving friend forever. ( I just love your sketch)

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Oh my, a treasure -- a friend like that is always a treasure, this hub is dedication to your friend, you lost her but the memory is always there, I am touched with this one, Maita

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Nellieanna that was such a sweet and sad story and you tell it so well. Your friend was very lucky to have had the time that she had with you and she seemed like one of those rare pearls. Thanks for sharing this one. Cheers.

billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Nellieanna I can only imagine hearing it on the radio and as you said the engulfing chaos. All hats of to you for what you have achieved since. :)

Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dolores - I nearly said it was sad but not tragic, but, yes - it was a tragic situation, one which was a result of a series of such tragic missteps, one is prone to utter a lot of ". . .if only's", wbich come piliing in on the mind. But still, I think Jan would like to be remembered with her bright spirit lighting it all up. She was one of those rare folk who seem to rise above adversity & somehow to creatively make the best of a bad situation. Hard to see how death could be made the best of, I guess, but she probably did.

I feel the loss deeply and possibly it's because it rises to the level she gave joy to me & to all around her. So it is, isn't it? We miss the most those who have given the most to life.

For sure that little sketch and caption were special gifts from her to me. Thank you, dear friend.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Maita - yes she was a treasure. After all these years, she still is. Her delicate approach to everything was so palatable - her very essence. She made me feel good just to be around her. That's surely the definition of real charm.

I think most of us have someone or maybe several someones in our lives who have had that kind of specialness about them. Of course Jan isn't the only one. My Mother was such a person, to start me off!! And I think you are one too!!

Thank you for coming by and sharing your response.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ladyjane thank you.

As I think about it, I guess Jan & my time together was dominated by both of us being young wives and mothers and having many interests in common.

A dear friend of mine now just emailed me a lovely thing about the value of girlfriends to each ohther. A health study shows that: ". . . quality 'girlfriend time' helps us to create more seratonin--a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being." I think it's so true. The study goes on to explain that we relate to each other on a level where feelings are and that is healthy. (we could have just told them that, right?)


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

It was incredibly shocking to hear about my sister on the radio, Billy. I'd lived with her and her family for my first college semester @ SMU, been part of their family, actually. We'd been close and she had been my mentor through all my college. There were unfinished issues too. The overriding fact was that she was gone forever and it was too late for amends. But I frequently do feel she is satisfied with how I've turned out, anyway. ;-)

Thanks for the heartfelt words.

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SilverGenes 6 years ago

Nellianna, I had to come back to this after reading it, to give it time and a bit more perspective. You mentioned tragic missteps in an earlier comment. There is almost no other way for a young, vibrant person's life to be cut short except by this. The back of Jan's letter must bring all the sweet, funny memories flooding back - what better way to say goodbye than with something you can hold in your hand, feel her presence, and smile. Friendship is a treasure and you have a lovely one with Jan. I think she would be very pleased that she can still make you smile.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, yes, Alexandra - that's the truth. "...if only" they hadn't been there at that place and time with those circumstances, but it's part of mortality, isn't it? Being a mortal being is being a being as we know it. Beyond it, we really have nothing but speculation. I'm sure she would most definitely be pleased to know she makes me smile - and cry - and FEEL sadness and fun and all that it means to be alive and human. Of course I wish she still were, too, but she was so much so while she lived. I imagine she packed more into her brief years than some folks do in many times over.

She wasn't just all smiles, but she had depth, as well. I've often thought of her mentioning something that has always been significant to me. When they adopted Linc, they had no idea of his parentage but he was obviously of another ethnic heritage. When they would be out and about, she noticed people's reactions - in those much less acceptant times - and she felt it told her a lot about the persons. Of course the responses ranged from one end of a spectrum to the other. But she could read them by even the slightest thing. Nowadays it would be unheard of for this to be of any consequence, but then it was a biggie. And above all, what mattered to her was her precious little boy.

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lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Thanks Nellieanna, so do you!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you lorlie - what a lovely thing to say!

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equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Nellieanna. There was one thing that struck me harder than the loss of your friend. It is sad, I admit, but as you said in the comments as well, it is part of the road we walk.

What stood out for me, was the fact that although your friend was down and out, living in poverty and batteling to get back on her feet, you've never deserted her!

That is what I call a true friend. I am sure Jan is looking down from the balcony of heaven,pointing a finger to you. She adresses every newcomer over there and say:

You see that lady over there..... now THAT is a perfect example of how true friends should be!"

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh equealla - it was never even a consideration. She was the same beautiful person she had been whether she was "on top" or struggling with things as they had turned out. A person's value has nothing to do with what the person owns, just with what kind of a person he or she is. And what one treasures about a friend is herself, beyond any other thing about her.

Thank you for thinking of such a major thing about real friendship!

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epigramman 6 years ago

Top ten time:

Top ten reasons why Nellieanna makes the rest of us feel so young:

10. because she drinks from the fountain of youth

9. flowers are revived when she enters the room

8. the sun rises because it has a purpose and to smile upon you

7. the birds sing because you make them happy

6. the wind stops blowing and asks you in what direction

5. Cole Porter and George Gerswhin used you as their inspiration

4. ..and you gave Gene Kelly his happy feet

3. Both Hilary Clinton and Sara Palin would step aside if you ran for President

2. Oprah Winfrey wants you on her show

1. ...and Larry King on his ...before he retires because he knows you never will.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

OH, WOW - You silver-tongued angel, you! That was fun. Hard to say which of the 10 I like most but I've always loved Cole Porter and George Gershwin! "Night and Day" -um - um! ;-> Thank you, sweet person!

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epigramman 6 years ago

yes Night and Day - one of the most beautifully written songs of all time. Let's face it - they don't write songs like the way they used to ..... also love - The Way you look tonight - The very thought of you ...........

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

All those good oldies! Gorgeous music!!

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Arthur Windermere 6 years ago

Hey Nellie!

I must admit I'm saddened, although I could see the way the story was going.

But this is a lovely memorial for your friend. I was discussing with SilverGenes a few days ago how those who don't make historical waves are lost and forgotten in history, no matter how many people they've touched. With the internet, anyone can be given a lasting memorial. There's no adult life truly insignificant historically, however indirectly the tendrils of influence spread throughout time. Jan helped make you who you are today, for instance, and however slightly you help shape your friends like me.

Something about death is like dividing by zero: it somehow doesn't compute in the mind. Non-existence and existence compute fine, but a transition from one to the other makes no sense. Death is absurd.

On a happier note, I enjoyed some of your prose here, such as cold arriving in 'regalia.'

Later alligator!

p.s. I'm back!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Of course, your being back or here is cause for joy, A.W.!

Thank you for the thoughtful comments about death and its frayed ends. Yes, Jan was a sweet influence in my life. Passing along the good we get from others is a kind of bridge to immortality, perhaps, though I tend to think it is what we do now that matters most - and it continues through each ongoing now for as long as they are.

Whew - glad "regalia" passed under the wire. It was a bit of a stretch. hehe. Thank you.

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rose56 6 years ago

Well wirten I loved your touching story. True fiends I have two best fiends that i feel the same way about. I love them dearly.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes - friends are very dear. Thank you for coming and reading - and commenting, rose!

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Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Nellieanna, A very touching story. True friends are so precious and their loss always is difficult.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, it is so, Pamela. Thank you for reading and sharing your response.

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the pink umbrella 6 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

Nellieanna- this was just beautiful. I dont want to take away from what you wrote about your dear friend, but i couldn't help but notice the pictures of you on this hub. In compareing them to your profile picture, you have this youthfulness about you that feels to me as though you havnt changed at all from then until now. I get a vibe from your page that your just full of energy and youth. Awesome hub. Im voting it up. And i really do like your profile picture, i think you look lovely in it. Its always nice to see a smile instead of a pose. (even though im guilty from time to time of the pose!)

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Pink Umbrella! Thank you, dear person. What lovely things to say about a stranger. But it seems that here on Hubpages, that can change so swiftly from 'stranger' to 'friend', doesn't it? I am very pleased you like my picture. I am 78 and I snapped it about a week and a half ago, with my computer webcam. You know - set for 3 seconds delay and then try to not blink! (but your eyes water just as it snaps!) LOL. I do live in the "now" in essence but it now includes remembering some of the times that led me here. It's amazing how it begins to feel like a continuous thing, time.

I visited your hubsite and like you, too. Trust me, most of the turmoil is just smoke and mirrors. It's what is inside YOU which you can find and trust.

Thanks again for a lovely comment!

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Pachuca213 6 years ago

This was such a sad tragedy. I am truly sorry for your loss of a friend so dear. Thank you for sharing her story.

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Healing Touch 6 years ago from Minnetonka, MN

Oh my gosh Nelliana, how beautifully you portrayed the relationship betweenyou and Jan. I am so sad yet so amazed at how those who leave us somewhere in their psyche know they are leaving this life. The outer envelope and how she wrote on it and that it came right at the time that you could not say it was coincidence. It was so divinely planned whether she understood it or not. Thanks for the story. How beautiful

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Pachuca - thank you! Yes, it was a deep loss. And sad for one so young and vivacious to go.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Healing Touch - she was a beautiful person and much beloved by all her family and friends. It was amazing how she seemed to know somehow. I believe it was as it was meant to be, though it's hard to understand. Thank you for visiting and adding your very lovely comments.

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Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, this is a lovely tribute to your friend, she sounded such a lovely person, and what a shame that this could have happened.things may happen many years ago, but they stay in the forfront of your mind. I am sure she would have loved to see you writing on here, and this special place that you have honoured her with. nell

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Nell - that is SO true! Jan would have been pleased to be commemorated on here. Just think - there were no personal computers then, just the beginning of the technology that makes this possible. This would have been so amazing to her. And possibly it would amaze her to be remembered so vividly. Good thoughts, Nell. Thank you.

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ralwus 6 years ago

Such a sad yet beautiful story. You sure know how to write and give me chills. You have stirred up some old emotions in me that I shall not get into here. It is good to have friends like your Jan and it is very hard when that friend dies. Have you written about the tragedy of your sister? god bless dear woman, and keep warm now, next winter.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thanks, Ralwus. I hope the old stirred-up emotions are not too painful. Truly not my intention.

No, I haven't written a hub about Harriet. Believe it or not, I haven't been someone who wore her heart on sleeve, as the saying goes, nor have I felt a need for catharsis and certainly not seeking gloom. But I admit that writing about losing Jan has been quite a big experience, even with her death having comparitively fewer aftereffects than that of my sister, her husband and their three children & maid (not the least knowing that I would have been along on that fateful outing instead of the maid but for a rather significant change of plans). I just can't justify laying all that out and on folks. It would sound like pushing the gloom unnecessarily, probably. It's always simpler to just not, rather than try to explain why not. Know what I mean?

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ralwus 6 years ago

Well then, you've said enough. My emotions are intact, and once in awhile at my age I do reflect on them, the old days, friends who are now gone, old lovers and relatives. Life is grand and I make the best of it while I can. Good health to you. Charlie

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

That is a good policy, generally, so long as one really does stay intact and not just glossing over. I think it's part of being intact to sometimes reflect on all those who've been part of the whole of oneself whenever they come to mind.

Life is grand & what better thing to make of it than the best? It's never dependent on any time other than what one has to invest in it, is it? Starts at birth. Ah - Charlie - I'm pleased to meet you. And good health to you as well! Good health is surely one of the very best things to make of "it"!

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dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Perhaps the Oriental concept of I Ching, Book of Changes, or the Yin Yang of life and death is a balance. On one side is the joy your friend brought to your life. The other is the sadness you felt. As you have said, "Life is grand." You generated a positive experience and shared it with us. Thanks!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Yes, Dallas - I very much affirm that balance. In fact, it is part of the same whole Thank you for your observation and appreciation! To me, it's all a choice and you perceive that mine is to find the positive (without ignoring its counterpart, without which it would be static, at best - or non-existent. Thank you!

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Micky Dee 6 years ago

This is all beautiful. Thank you Nellieanna!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank YOU, MIcky! I'm glad you came by and left a lovely comment!

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DREAM ON 6 years ago

You have once again put things in perspective for me.What people we share our life with is the most important in our life.Everything in life comes and goes though our fingertips.Thank you for sharing such a personal story.I can not help but ask what ever happened to Dallas and Lincoln ?

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

I believe Dallas remarried and there is a Dallas, Jr. Unfortunately my own marriage went on for more years which were not good years and my ex managed to claim most of the friends, which had been part of his strategy all along. Since they had met in the Air Force, especially, - he was able to do so. Recently I researched online, though, and Dallas, Jr. responded briefly - it was on a business networking site, not a social one.

I'm sure Lincoln has grown up and has a family of his own. I hope to find out more. Thank you for asking, Dream On! And thank you for your kind comments.

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dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Endings are beginnings! Notwithstanding your past, perhaps in spite of it, you have managed to assemble yourself into a diamond with many facets! Your inner beauty radiates...

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

You're so right, Dallas! In fact every new day is a beginning! Actually my part in my past was constructive and probably was the assembly plant which happened, perhaps more than it might have any other way. What's happened in my life since then has had its own value. Thank you for the very nice compliment!!

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DREAM ON 6 years ago

I often wonder why some people go through so much suffering and other people have a carefree life.Is it just the way life turns out or is it just are time to learn a new lesson.I have never experienced sadness and the pain that many feel.I feel guilty that some other people have so many things on their plate.It could be health issues,crisisses from time to time,misfortune,or maybe just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.I think I am truly blessed.

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noorin 6 years ago from Canada

Once again i enjoyed reading one of ur hubs =) Great paintings , shows lots of talent. =) I like how u still have the oil sketch of the Rockies after all these years. Makes me wonder what gift would I still treasure and keep decades from now.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dream On - well perhaps you've mastered the abiltiy to meet adversity with a more positive attitude, which always helps resolve it more quickly. If you've been able to avoid it, perhaps it's because you learned to make wise choices. Even more likely - maybe your guardian angels are on the job!

I can honestly say I had some severe adversity at times but I also honestly believe I met it with equanamity and fortitude so that it was much less damaging. There's no way one can change what others do, though, so there are consequences whenever there is trouble. I know that taking the responsibility for one's own part in it, for the choices that were unwise, is what lets one move on wiser and freer than before.

When things happen such as to Jan, it is surely from a combination of factors, including some poor choices. But it was not deserved in any sense of the word. And with such a tragic conclusion, she wasn't spared. But she left a legacy of much love and goodness. Who is to say which is the better reward? We're not tested for our perfection but for our ability to learn from mistakes and to bounce back better for it.

Thank you for visiting and for your very good comments!

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Noorin - thank you again! Yes - that was a trerasure. It's not even framed - but I've had it propped up against some books on a bookshelf in my room where I see it every time I go to my closet which is next to the bookshelf in there - for at least for the last 26 years. I may have had it in a box of keepsakes (where her letter has been) before that, which was when I married and moved into this house.

My keepsake box containing things of that calibre is not very large, considering how long I've lived. Of course - there are other treasures which are in curio cases or on end tables or shelves around the house. Part of my beloved clutter. But the kind of things one saves just for their sentimental value, not for display - are not so many. I laugh and say that if a keepsake survives 2 or more purges, it's probably there for life. Examples: an old Argus camera which used 110 film (just a little upgrade from a Brownie) which a boyfriend gave me for my 16th birthday and a real "fountain pen" which another boyfriend gave me for Christmas at a young age, too. (He began to break up with me just before Christmases and then make up after New Year's after that - haha!)

So - yeah - I have saved some ancient treasures. The Rockies painting was especially dear, though, because she painted it herself.

Thanks again!

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Shadesbreath 6 years ago from California

Dammit, you made me cry. I was going to say how sweet this story is and honest and available your heart is in your writing, but you made me cry, so now I'm not going to tell you that. I'm going to say stuff about beer and make a gruff comment about how much I dislike cats or something instead.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

OK Shades. :-)

Thank you.

I'm going to publish something silly! ;->

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Hi Nelliana,

I was so sad after reading this tragic story. I read one of your poems just before I read this, which I didn't think was going to being such a tragic story.

It is never easy to lose someone we love, especially some family member or a close friend. You lost both and my heart goes out to you because of this. You have certainly written a fitting tribute to your dear friend Jan. I know how hard that would have been for you, as I lost a good friend. She was only 37 years. She was married and had three beautiful little girls. All three are married with their own little ones.

I still think about them. Even though my mother was alive, it was difficult to talk to her, and Margot was like a second mother to me. She told me all about the growing up story because my mother never liked to talk about that subject. However, when I lost Margot, the kids were so used to me being over there, they were so young that they thought I was going to be their new mum. I had to leave home and I joined the Air Force and did nursing as it was too painful to be around them.

I have been out for a few years and married now for twenty years. I joined Hubpages about nine months ago and it helped me at a time that I was lost for something to fill in the time I needed to after I had to give up my job because I got very sick. I was diagnosed in 2006 with an incurable neurodegenerative disease and I started writing poetry as a secondry thing to hubpages.

I love it so much now. I have written nearly 50 poems.I just can't believe it. I have read some of yours which I think are good and I am going to become a follower of yours since we have something in common.

I look forward to hearing from you hopefully. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers Nellieanna. Love BB xx joined

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you for such a nice comment about my hub and about your life and experience. Thank you for following me!

YU_First 1 profile image

YU_First 1 6 years ago from Uganda

Nellieanna I have a feeling I am going to love you for a long looooooooong time. You loved your friend so well, you kept her envelope for 40 odd years. I love you.

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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

YU_First - I visited your hubsite and it looks to me as though we may be friends just waiting to happen! YOu're a most inspiring person. Thanks for the lovely comments!

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Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

I was right there with you when you got that envelope, Nellieanna ... your description of that walk down the lane was so vivid. How desperate you must have felt when you found out Jan had died so tragically ... so infinitely sad.

Sometimes it comes home to us just how easily we humans can be snuffed out ...

With much love, m'dear.

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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

Oh, yes, Angie. It is like yesterday in my memory, with every detail as sharp as then. I can almost feel the gravel of the driveway underfoot as I walked to the mailbox; and then I can see myself from some objective viewpoint as I notice her little notation on the outside o the envelope, and I smile at first at her typical humor and offhand creativity, though perhaps sensing more to the message, even before I knew of the tragedy.

Yes, it does come home to us, and more and more so, as we outlive so many who have played vital parts in our lives. I look forward, realistically, to many more years of productive life, but it saddens me to realize it will probably mean outliving even more of them, though among my closest contemporaries, there are few left already.

I appreciate your visit here. It's an older hub I haven't visited in quite awhile, so a special pleasure that you found it and chose to comment with such kindness. Thank you! And thank you for the follow and fan message!

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ThomasRydder 5 years ago

Miss Nellie...Lord have mercy. I can't begin to imagine the myriad of feelings that must have swept through you that evening...the shock and abject grief, coupled with the otherworldliness of that sweet message turned prophetic. Holy cow. As usual (in one way or another) you manage to bring out the sharpest of emotions in us, your followers. Jan can hardly hope for a more able person to pen remembrances of her life with you. God bless and Happy Thanksgiving! :)TR

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Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS Author

ThomasR. Oh yes. All those feelings. Friends were not teeming just around the corner then. No internet and I happened to be in a rather isolated situation, besides. Losing such a dear one was especially devastating. Jan and I knew each other primarily through our husbands, who'd been in the AF together, which was when she and I met. But a lifelong friend could not have been closer and more beloved. I remember so many little things about her, even now - so many years later. Her goodness and realness. Her creativity and uniqueness. What a loss. . . Thank you for a lovely comment - and I wish you the happiest and most thankful of days, too.

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Eileen Hughes 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia

You tell it so well, I understand your loss. I have always said that we have to tell people how we feel about them because you do not know how long we have them.

We should still keep there memories alive and that way they are still there wish us in spirit.

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Nellieanna 4 years ago from TEXAS Author

Thank you! That's so true, Eileen, when someone so young as she was is suddenly gone, so unexpectedly and beyond recall to let the person know how much they're valued. Coincidentally - I was thinking about Jan yesterday. She said one of her luxuries was paper products! Paper towels, writing papers, paper picnic supplies, origami, Japanese paper lanterns, Mexican paper flowers . . . . It was a unique kind of luxury,- unique like she was. I'm glad that I let her know I loved her dearly.

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