Monday, June 11, 2012

Losing a Teacher, a Mentor, a Friend

OK Floy. This is my second try. We never were sentimental. I did love you though. And considering how you made me a part of your life, you loved me.

I called to check on you. I got your grandson, he said. Oh, Floy, for a woman who didn't marry till her 50s, you did good. You love well. They love back.

I know that. I never expected to keep in touch, but you did. And we did. You were my high school English and journalism teacher. Thanks to you, we became lifelong friends.

Lifelong. Well,hell.

You told me the cancer was back and this time you weren't going to do anything to stop it. You have volunteereed and given for years. You are--what? late 80s? I don't need to know. But I am a lot younger.

You are deaf as a post, almost. I've left a few messages. Hmph. for a dying woman, you certainly gadded about a lot. And I smile at that.

You loved the view of the valley from the foothills. You did so many things besides being my friend. You...the obit will have all of that.It will have your accomplishments. They were many.

But it won't tell people who you loved. And you did love me. Besides Fred, your late husband, and a few many others.You loved a flawed pupil who went on to work for a newspaper, then brought my sons back for your late husband to talk to about stamps and for you to talk to and assess.

You were my teacher. Later my mentor. Later still, my friend.

You gave such a great gift, your friendship.

We became friends. We talked for 50 years. And now you are dying, my old teacher, mentor and friend. I'm glad I know. I hurt, and that is right also.
I'm glad you have loved ones there.

Floydean Wilburn Gage, I love you.
Fly, fly soon with the angels.

I can hear that cranky voice: "I'll go when I want to,Charlotte."

Yes, you will. Ever as my teacher and mentor, I always knew you had a mind of your own. The lovely, wonderful part is, you always knew I did, too.

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