I heard the news today that a high school friend passed away after a battle with cancer at only 50 years old… way too young. I reconnected with Ellen (aka Harper to her Idaho friends) on Facebook about this time last year.
I noticed that in some of her photos, she had lost her hair and was wearing a hat to cover her baldness. When we first made contact, I don’t know where she was in her journey, but I didn’t ask any details and just wished her well with treatment and recovery. She said that she had a Caring Bridge site up for those who wanted to follow her story. I wrote back and said that I would like to keep up with her in that regard, but I never heard back from her with a password. So until someone who knows more can share information, all I know is that she had been battling some sort of cancer.
Ellen’s mother was my English teacher in 12th grade, and I can only imagine the grief she’s experiencing right now. I plan to buy a card tomorrow and send good thoughts and sympathies her way.
My most vivid memory of Ellen is from a Saturday night probably in 1978 when she and my friends Mark and Beth were at my house watching Saturday Night Live. It was a show that Steve Martin (in his heyday) hosted. There was a scene where he and Gilda Radner were in a bar and they “locked eyes” across the room, then began to dance. It started off well, but then collapsed into one of the funniest dance scenes ever. We were all literally on the floor laughing until our sides and faces hurt. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed that hard since.
Part of it was the funnyness of the show, but I’m sure part of it was just having a belly laugh with good friends that then becomes contagious in its hilarity. It’s one of my favorite memories from my teen years. I’ve since reconnected on FB with Mark and am so glad to have rekindled our friendship, if only virtually for now. I hope to reconnect with Beth some day. And even if only for too brief a time, it was good to reconnect with Ellen.
I took this picture on the way home tonight, and thought these irises were beautiful. Since I won’t be sending flowers to Ellen’s memorial in Idaho, I thought I’d send them along virtually (as that’s how we last connected) and pay tribute to her with my blog post for tonight.