When I was a teen, I was part of a church youth group called EYC. It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me as a teenager as I got into only limited trouble and had an interesting group of friends who were there because they were there - not because they were fashionable or into sports like the cliques in high school.
Four sets of parents also became close and enjoyed each others' company as well as shared the woes of trying to raise teens into good, responsible adults. My mom and Dad. Mr. McB and his wife Miss Eleanor, Geo and Nan, Pete and Auntie Em. Every now and then, when their respective children were driving them crazy, one of the set of parents would call PARENT ALERT! at which point, each set of parents would drop whatever they were doing and they would meet at a specific restaurant for coffee and hot fudge cake for commiseration and bucking up.
As their children graduated high school and went off in different directions for college or jobs or marriage, we, the kids, lost touch with each other, but the parents remained close. We would all come together on occasion for weddings or baby showers or Christmas-time visits, then drift away again, but the parents got together regularly - still comparing notes on children and dealing with getting older, facing retirement.
In the last couple of years, I've made reaquaintence with Mr. McB and Miss Eleanor's daughter BB. She lives in my neighborhood and we sometimes walk dogs and visit together. She was a comforting presence when my parents were going through their trials this past month, offering love and support. She's also a lot of fun to hang out with, and Z and I like to go visit her sometimes.
Last night, a different kind of PARENT ALERT! went out. Miss Eleanor died rather unexpectedly from a drug interaction. The parents gathered together to mourn the first of them to go. And I went to sit with BB. We told stories of Miss Eleanor - she was such a pistol with a kooky sense of humor.
Like hosting the Christmas Eve party every year that included multiple generations. And her collection of firetrucks. She got one for Christmas one year and drove it over to our house so we could all go for a ride. She loved her camper and going to the beach. She was always a cheery presence in our lives, grown quieter in the last few years as back pain, diabetes, and a heart condition narrowed her world to mostly her house. That is not the woman we will remember though, the one in the house. The Miss Eleanor we will remember is the one with the fire truck, the one with the big jewelry and the big smile and a wicked sense of humor. And a rubber chicken in her chandelier.
Rest in peace, Miss Eleanor. We will miss you more than you will ever know.