Thursday, April 11, 2013

Reading the Obits

My mom used to turn to the obituaries of her local paper every morning, and often said "Any day I'm not in the obits is a good one."  Even when she and my dad moved to Raleigh for a few years in the 70's, she subscribed to her local paper by mail and the obits were always what she read first. I used to chide her for that - but now I often do the same.

We only get the paper delivered on Sundays now, but the online version is available, and I check the obits every week here in Raleigh, as well as those of my home-town paper, The Charleston Daily Mail. 

Today, I saw an obit for one of my childhood friends; one with whom I had lost touch after we were in different schools. She and I used to attend the same summer camp as well, so we played together often until my family moved from that section of town, when I was in junior high school. 

Ellen Andrews was her name. She left WV after college and moved to a city in Ohio, where she taught school for years. She never married, and that is likely why I noticed her obit; recognizing her maiden name.  Ellen and I were fast friends from the time we were nine until we were about fourteen. Joined by the only other girl who lived in our neighborhood at the time, Juliet R., we were often found huddled in a dark closet, telling  ghost stories, while shining a flashlight on each other and making the scariest faces we could muster. Another pastime was playing with paper dolls while making up stories about them. On pretty days we rode our bikes, jumped rope, played on swings, waded in the creek and climbed trees. Lord, how I miss those carefree days. 

I got reacquainted with Juliet while were were both students at the same local college, but I never reconnected with Ellen and I was always sorry that we lost touch. About ten years ago, I got word that the summer camp we had attended was having reunions. I asked someone to find out if Ellen was planning to come to the next one, but she was not - so I didn't either. 

It makes me sad to see that she is gone....now we will never connect....and she will never know how fondly I remembered her. She left only some cousins and nieces, and there was no contact information in the obit. It's a shame. 


10 comments:

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I know of what you speak, Judy...I guess it is another reminder to find the time for old friends---especially as we get up there in age....
I'm sorry you did not get to see your friend, once again....
As to reading the Obits; my mother did the same thing and I find myself doing it, too....I look at the NY Times on the net and the two 'trade' papers....The Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety----both no longer having a daily print issue---I look at them on-line. It's not the first thing I look at, but I certainly do check it out fairly regularly. I guess it comes with the territory.

Snaggle Tooth said...

My Aunt Lois died at Hospice in Raleigh a year ago Thanksgiving. My Mom always went to all the wakes n funerals of those she knew in the city.

I find I really can't- Work won't let me n I can't get to many funerals due to the old vehicle I stay local.

Now obits are all online, n everyone learns on facebook- but I don't do FB, so depend on calls.

btw., Annie sent me.

Celia said...

I do it too, checking for old friends and noting how many people in our local paper are well into their 80's and 90's, assuring myself I'll be around awhile. Kind of goofy I guess.

sage said...

Sorry about your loss. The older I get, the more I learn of people who meant a lot to me have died, but they generally come in batches when I'm back in NC and catch up on the news.

robin andrea said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your childhood friend. There are so many ways now to connect with old friends, but there are some old friends who just don't do social media. I learned of an old friend's death a couple of months ago, not through an obit, but his ex-wife called an old mutual friend. I have moved around so much I don't have a "local paper" to check for the old names.

Granny Annie said...

And now many of us know about Ellen Andrews and mourn her loss.

Gilly said...

I read the obits too. Usually its people my age that are there, but it always makes me shiver when I see younger people dying.

But I've lost touch with so many people I used to know, from school, from college, from work. I know the reason but I'm not putting it on a public blog!!

Pat said...

MTL stopped reading the Telegraph Obits towards the end of his life as he said all his friends were dead.
Happily most of my old friends -going back 80 years - I am still in touch with.

Ginnie said...

Every life has a drama. Hers sounds like a lonely one and it's a shame she never knew you thought of her.

rosneath said...

My mother does that! Every morning she goes through the regional paper and once a week, the local one. Today she was concerned that the Deaths ran to two pages.
I'm so sorry you didn't reconnect with Ellen ... I have been thinking of old friends that are still alive, too, and have tried to reconnect.