There are people who come and go in our lives - some passing by without so much as a glance, and then those that sit and stay awhile on our minds and in our hearts. The ones who fly by are here for a reason - teach us to have self preservation, to maintain our composure, and keep a level head because to smack them would land you in jail.
The ones that stay on our minds and in our hearts though - well those are the ones that teach us how to love, be compassionate, have a moral compass, live with integrity and push us to not only better ourselves but the environment around us. Those are the ones that I personally treasure - and thank GOD for every day.
Don & Connie - their daughter Liz (Elizabeth) and I have been lifelong friends. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to Darby Elementary School together, laughed, giggled, shared secrets, dressed up for Halloween every year and felt pretty damn much like big shots because we were able to trick or treat all the way out to Reseda Boulevard. Don & Connie had blue carpet, hanging mobiles in the living room, and just about the best backyard in the neighborhood. I could fill an entire page and then some with the stories of hanging out in their backyard of Amigo Avenue, in Northridge, CA. Liz and I were and will always be "Valley Girls". None of this "fer shure, or gag me with a spoon" speakese, but real Valley Girls. We grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the 60's and 70's, Summers spent playing in backyards, building forts, walking our dogs, swimming at my house because we had a dug in swimming pool, going to Girl Scout meetings and looking at boys. Those were some of the best years of my life.
Don & Connie are the epitome of great parents. They listen. They hear you. They are interested in your life and want to encourage you to go above and beyond. They are artistic, funny, eclectic, savvy, smart, warm and so bloody beautiful. In my eyes, they have not aged at all. They look exactly the way I remember them when I was little. To this day I find myself seeking out their opinion so that I can make smart decisions. I believe our political differences make us much more apt to see things from different perspectives. Our faiths are different, but again, I find myself so keenly interested in their lives, that at one point I considered converting to Judaism. I simply can't fathom my life without them in it.
Liba Feurestein - She was a great mentor. Liba was my AP Honors English Lit. teacher at Granada Hills High School, in the Valley. She introduced me to literature, a passion for the written word and to believe in myself. The Book of Job - well having spent many years in Catholic School prior to transferring to GHHS in 11th grade, I had read the bible. It was mandatory reading. But Liba had me experience the Book of Job through the writings of Archibald Macleish through, "J.B." To this day I find myself looking back fondly at the play we performed in her English class. Liba also took time to invite a select few students to her home to celebrate Passover. Having had such a deep respect for the Jewish faith, the thought of having a truly Orthodox, Kosher sadar was a honor. She introduced me to Elie Weisel, the Nobel Peace Prize author, who wrote "Night" about the nightmare of the Holocaust and those who found themselves in the camps. When others were putting me down, or ignoring me, abusing me and bringing me to all time lows, it was dear Liba who told me to believe in myself, and to push myself as far as possible. When others were saying "no you can't"...Liba was saying "Yes, you can"!!!!
Dale - Oh sweet Dale! I miss you so much! A gentle giant, a steadfast member of our local law enforcement. Dale was an all around great guy. He was a professional police officer, loving husband to Judy, and father to Bekah and Daniel. He was a brave man who, for 4 long months, battled cancer until it took him on Dec 4, 2010 at age 48. This man truly saved my life in every single sense of the word. Never judgmental of me, and always accepting of my outrageous opinions, passion for debate, Dale was the type of friend that made you feel special. His death hit me very hard. Not long before he died, I took care of him in our local emergency room. His wife had slipped out to run some errands, and so Dale and I had a chance to talk. He was so worried about his family. He never stopped thinking of everyone else in his life. He wanted Judy to be looked after; always so worried that she be taken care of, and that his death would be difficult for her. Indeed, it has been difficult for everyone who knew Dale. During his memorial service, we were able to hear Dale's words of advice for those of us left. His 4 Things as he called them.
*Do the right thing;
*Be self motivated and content with yourself. Do not do things for recognition. Do them because they
need to be done;
*Help others, and do your best to make things better;
*Realize how blessed you are to work with good people and live a place like this.
Dale left some pretty hard shoes to fill, and big footprint on society to match.
There are many, many people who have breezed in and out of my life that have left some sort of lifetime print on my soul. Thank you.