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.