Sunday, June 28, 2015

This weekend was the 80th birthday of the lady who lived up the street from us. Her daughter asked me to write a note to her to share at her birthday and this is what I came up with but really it does not even really touch my feelings:
Dear Mrs. Read,

You have always been in my life. I really do not have a memory from my childhood that was before you were there. You were always Fread (Michael's name for you). I always love to hear that story where you were babysitting and he kept saying "Fread, go home! Fread, go home!" then "Fread, you still there?!".

Mrs. Read, you were there when I hit Michael with a belt (the buckle end) and sliced his head open. You were there the time I came home from school and the doors were wide open and the house was cold and no one answered when I called out. I ran up the street to your house and you braved our house to find Marc asleep (passed out!) downstairs. You were there every day when I went to your house for lunch while I was at G.B. Little. Sandra and I would race each other home to be the first so we could arrange for the largest pieces of dessert (brownies or date squares).

And of course there are the wonderful memories of vacations at the twin cottages, the picnics in Morningside Park with our families.  I am certain I do not have an actual memory of Sandra and I fighting over the water pump and throwing sand in each other’s eyes but hearing that story told time and time again over the years, I have imagined it and have made up a memory. It is indeed Faubert/Read lore.

There are so many other memories. Mrs. Read.  You were always one with a quick smile, quicker wit,  loads of empathy and a big heart. I remember once you told me you were worried sick and stayed up all night wondering how my drive home from Windsor (after taking the train home from visiting Stephen in Minnesota) was because you had heard that the fog on the 401 was so bad that night.

Mrs. Read, I really feel as though your family is my family. I love hearing about everyone and how they are doing and what they (or their children) are up to. It is wonderful that even though they are spread far and wide, you visit them often and they clearly adore you. It warms my heart when I see photos of your family on Facebook.

I have a friend who once, when I was explaining about “The Reads” who lived up the street, said she also had a family like that who lived on her street. But I know that her “that family” was nothing like our “The Reads” because they did not have a “Mrs. Read”.

Mostly, Mrs. Read, I remember you as my mom’s friend. You were her closest friend and her confident. I used to envy the times you would come over and sit in the Mrs. Read chair and talk to my mom. I always wanted a friend like that when I grew up. As the years passed, you were always a constant in our family’s lives and in my mom’s life. And now, when she is failing and frail, blind and confused, you are still there and I cannot be more grateful or thank you enough. And it is not just your shared history that makes you be there for my mom. It is because you are such an exceptional and generous person. And a wonderful friend. Thank you.

So, on your 80th birthday, I would like to wish you the happiest of days to a remarkable lady.

You will always be my Mrs. Read.

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