I Miss You Lucy


You know that one house and that one friend’s mom that you remember from your childhood? It was the one place you always felt welcome by that one mom who was not yours. You felt special because you knew she really wanted you around and it wasn’t because you were her kid and she had to feel that way. It was your first experience of knowing your worth and feeling valued because of who you were and not because of who you belonged to. Sure, I knew my mom loved me and that mattered to me, a lot. But there is a time in your life when you feel funny and interesting and likable because you are who you are, and only because of that. And someone else enjoys you and wants you around.

I grew up in Palos Verdes California, down the street from Lucy. She was that mom in my memory and always in my heart. I was about eleven when I met her. My mom was an artist when I was growing up and Lucy was always decorating something. I am not sure what ever came of the meeting or if my mom ever painted the mural she inquired about, but I do know that her oldest daughter, Kathy and I became fast friends along with all of Lucy’s daughters. She had four. It was like I hit the Jack Pot meeting them. They all went to a local Catholic School and because they didn’t go to our public school, the neighborhood kids were small minded and slow to embrace them. Well, all I can say is… their loss was surely my gain!

I took turns being good friends with each of her daughters during different stages of my life. And then a few years later, Lucy went through a divorce and met a man named Bob, who she married, bringing two more kids into the fold. It was a wonderful family and I loved each one of them in different ways throughout my life. But Lucy ended up being my friend that I’d go visit years later. I remember staying up late at night for hours at a time talking to Lucy. I loved spending the night at their house and when they moved, I think I went into a small depression. Until, we reunited when my mom discovered a phone number that had gotten “misplaced.” That summer, I promptly moved in with them in Orange County where they’d moved and spent several weeks hanging out with Lucy as she picked out new wallpaper and tile for the 6000 foot home she was building in Fallbrook overlooking their several acres of avocados that Bob was going to manage.

The plan was for me to find a job somewhere in Fallbrook and join them. But between getting very engrossed in a serious relationship and missing my own mom a little more than I thought I would, I didn’t follow through with the final plans to move there with them. Though, I did get a job offer after I’d moved back home. And always kind of regretted not getting to live in that amazing house that my sweet Lucy built for her family and included me in that plan. Even though I never lived there, I visited several times a year for many years until I got caught up in having my own family. Slowly, the visits became less frequent. Though Lucy and  Kathy, attended my dad’s funeral and Bob and Lucy attended my second wedding, and Lucy even came to stay at my house a time or two, I regret letting life interfere with our visits and I often wonder how different my life might have been if I’d moved into that wonderful home.

A few years before Lucy died, I took my daughter to visit her and we had such a neat visit. I wanted to share a piece of Lucy with her and I really feel she “GOT” who Lucy was to me. I will always be grateful that she agreed to go and that we have that memory.

Tonight, while I was driving home, I drove past a house with a long driveway filled with cars and it reminded me of that house in Fallbrook. It always looked as if it was having a party, because of all the cars parked there. But they all just belonged to her family, each in their own rooms or in different parts of the house just living there. And it gave me this warm melancholy feeling. And it made me think. Legacy isn’t just something physical that you leave, it’s not a building or a fortune, but something intangible. Something far more valuable. It might leave a hole when it’s gone that takes your breath away, but even more, it gives you that place in your heart to fall, the one person, or place you remember when no other place works quite as well.

 

It’s been over a year since she has left this world

and yet, sometimes knowing that she’s not just a phone call away any longer,

takes my breath away.

lucy

winnie goodbye quote

 

The Other Side Of The Fence


Today I have a wonderful neighbor. Their backyard is magical. And I appreciate living next to them everyday! I have been blessed with great neighbors in the different places that I have lived. Some have become life long friends. But I do remember once upon a time when my neighbor was horrible. She hated me till the day she died I think. It was sad. I even had dreams of her liking me. It bothered  me so much. I’d gotten a notice about BIG Refuse Pick Up Day that our city offered annually. It was a day that you could put big things out and the city would come and haul them away.

I was young and probably not as gracious as I am now  🙂  And looking back, I could have been a little more tactful. But I left a note on my neighbor’s van offering my husband’s help to move her washers and dryers out to the curb if she so chose. I thought that it was an innocently helpful and quite neighborly offer. The appliances had been facing my kitchen door since we’d moved in almost a year earlier. She’d never been particularly friendly even before we moved in, but that note caused WORLD WAR III between us. She was not a very happy person to begin with and later I learned that she had a lot of issues that I was not aware of.

They say hind sight is 20/20 and I think that I understand her position better now. She was probably about my age then, that I am now and I was barely 30. She might have been a little offended because I was so much younger and perhaps she thought… came across as pompous though I really just wanted to make sure she had not missed the notice. Though if we are being honest here… I really did not want to look at her appliances staring back at me for another year, I wish that I’d done nothing now. I don’t like when someone doesn’t like me. But then not everyone liked Jesus. So why should I expect more?  But it really wasn’t worth it. And looking  back if it had not been that note… it would have been something else. She was just looking for an enemy. There are just some people that I have run into in my life, that I haven’t been able to win over with my irresistable charm, believe it or not!  😉

backyard1

Though she did have a daughter that ended up being a blessing and we became friends when she found The Lord and we discovered that our birthdays were on the same day. It was a friendship that evolved with a lot more hard work than I am used to when it comes to cultivating  friendships; We had kids around the same age and when they did not get along, I think she expected drama between the moms, where I felt it was important for the kids to just work it out. But in the end, a friendship evolved and the kids grew up and got along and  it is a sweet memory how I see God worked it all out. And now I am glad that I made the effort.

This morning I’ve been watching a marathon, a show called House Hunters, and one of the episodes was about a couple looking over into the neighboring  yard filled with junk and it made me flash on my memories of those neighbors….

Soooo…. I thought I’d write a more lighthearted post today with a little message to remind us all about judgment even when we feel we are on the right side of the fence. Today I am getting ready to work in my yard and it made me wonder what “my neighbors” see on their other side of the fence.

The Other Side Of The Fence

I looked over the fence and what did I see?

A few  piles of junk staring right back at me

two washers and three dryers lined up in a row

If they ever worked, I guess we’ll never know

washing machines

As I peeked through the fence I was so horrified

it looked like a graveyard where someone had died

a few bird cages, an old bike and a barbecue now twisted

all toppled on each other as if they never existed

backyard mess2backyard mess3

I tried to smile and I tried to be nice

and tried not to scream when I saw all the mice

I even waved hello when the neighbors came out

to see what it was that I was  shouting about

backyard mess

I didn’t want to offend them by gawking some more

even though I’d just purchased the house right next door!

backyard

Diane Reed

2013

(Sometimes we don’t always see past our own fences)

Lord help me to not be so fast to judge!

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Luke 6:27 ESV