This past week I learned of the deaths of two people that were close to her. One, Ray Salo in Olmsted Falls, was a childhood friend of my late father. I have fond memories of him, his wife Tynne, and their boys during my own growing up years. When Mother and I were in Olmsted in 2006, we stopped in to see them. Tynne died some months later, but I kept in touch with Ray. This week I was playing around on Zillow and discovered his house is on the market, part of an estate sale.
Tuesday I got a call from the family of the only friend that was truly hers here in Athens, Mildred Epps. (as opposed to being one of my friends first) Mildred had just died at 82. She and Mother used to go out to lunch every month or so. One of their most frequent pass times was shopping for greeting cards. Mother couldn’t see well, so Mildred would read card after card until they found the perfect ones for birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
I went to the visitation on Mother’s behalf and told her children the story of how they met. My parents had lived in St. Charles, MO for five years after selling their house in Olmsted. They attended St. Charles Christian Church. One of the church members, Marcia, worked at a local funeral home.
A couple weeks after Mother moved in with me in 2005, a funeral was held for a certain man. His sister, Mildred, flew to St. Louis to attend. When she signed the guest book and Marcia saw she was from Athens, GA, she exclaimed (you’d have to have known Marcia to know that “exclaimed” is the right word!), “I have a good friend who just moved to Athens! You’d love her. Here’s her daughter’s phone number (mine).”
The rest is history. Even after Mother became ill, Mildred would send notes and little gifts.
I told Mother about both deaths yesterday. She didn’t remember Mildred at all, which didn’t surprise me. She did remember Ray and Tynne. I thought she was relatively oriented until she asked,
“And how are the folks? I need to write to them, but I don’t have their address.”
I assured her that her address book was safe in my drawer at home and that the next time I come I’ll bring paper and an envelope and write whatever she wants to say to her mother and grandfather.
Below is a picture of Mildred, left front, at Mother’s 95th birthday party. RIP, sweet lady.
Here is Ray playing the organ, using Tynne’s (closed) potty chair as a piano stool! At 94, he went weekly to a local nursing home to play the piano for the “old folks.”