Today I should be at a funeral in San Antonio.
Instead I am in a cabin in Colorado, about 1000 miles away.
My dear friend Liddy's mother passed away this week and I should be at the service. Unfortunately, time and miles do not permit that to happen.
Me and Liddy back in 2006 looking
Liddy's mother, Verlyn, was my other mother in middle school and high school.
We all have/had friends that, during our school years, their houses would be the home base for the weekend. Their parents set the rules for the weekend and made the meals and made sure we were where we were supposed to be.
Liddy's house was one of my home bases.
And man! was it a home base.
A beautifully restored home that had been picked up and moved to it's location in a neighborhood nearby.
Meals were home cooked and served at lovingly set tables.
Both of Liddy's parents were usually at home, doing projects around the house.
Because here is what I just realized.
Liddy's mom was Martha Stewart when Martha Stewart was still in elementary school.
Liddy's mom was her own personal HGTV show.
Hell, she was the whole channel.
She cooked. She had her own cooking school.
She sewed. Clothes. Clothes that people would actually want to wear.
Also bedding, curtains, table cloths. She sewed it all.
She decorated. Beautiful houses.
She did DIY before it was even an acronym.
She and her husband Dave even flipped a house or two- buying and restoring and selling.
And she raised three kids and was active in her church and travelled and ran businesses.
She was also sharp as a tack and so very adept at catching her precious daughter at whatever she might have been doing. Not to say that Liddy ever tried to get away with anything she shouldn't have, but still. Verlyn always caught on.
(I will say Verlyn occasionally had the aid of Liddy's older siblings when it came to busting us coming in past curfew. I am eternally grateful for my brothers being a little more lenient with me-possibly because they weren't home on time either.)
One summer our two mothers rented an apartment in San Miguel de Allende for six weeks and took us two girls down there along with Liddy's cousins. Liddy and I were 15 at the time. What were they thinking??
Verlyn, Cousin Nancy and Jean Mom.
I truly think my mother needs to have this photo enlarged and framed
and hung over the fireplace. (Except she doesn't have a fireplace.)
But Goodness! Doesn't she look gorgeous?
There were parties.
Verlyn snagged a girl from one of the shops to teach me and Liddy how to do macramé. Virgilia did not speak a word of English but I still use those knots that she taught us that summer.
There were field trips to areas near and far around San Miguel. This was 1970- pre-drug-cartel-Mexico. Safe as it could be.
There were picnics. I remember one picnic where the moms had brought some wine but no bottle opener. A passing gentleman was engaged in hopes that he might have an opener or an idea. He took the bottle, smashed the neck against a rock wall and handed it back. Lots of gesturing and broken English and Spanish ensued. Finally it was determined that No, we wouldn't all die from glass shards in the wine because they had been forced out when he swung the bottle. I guess he was right. We all lived.
A picnic somewhere out in the country in Mexico.
The cousins, Verlyn, Liddy and me in braids.
Verlyn had poodles. Her favorite was a miniature named Jacque. I was at their house the day that Jacque was run over and killed. As a kid you seldom see your parents cry. It is even rarer to see a friend's parent cry. But that day Verlyn cried. She loved that dog.
And Verlyn loved me. I was the only friend allowed to call her by her first name when we were still in high school. She believed that I was a good influence on Liddy. We'll just leave it at that.
She wasn't perfect. She was a red head and had the temper to go with her hair. But I was largely spared her wrath.
I often think of all the kids that have been through our home in the last twenty years. Which one of those kids will remember me like I remember Verlyn? Certainly plenty of them have travelled with us. I have fed kids, taken them to the beach and shopping and even to get pierced. Many have called me mom.
Because when it comes down to it, we can all use an extra mom.
And Verlyn was a good mom.
Rest in peace.
Liddy, Me (sporting some fantastically large glasses) and Cousin Nancy
at the top of Tres Cruces, San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Mexico.
I do believe Liddy is carrying a bag that she macraméed.