Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Sunday I saw friends I’ve known since grade school, Sally and Chris.  Besides spending time together in school and at each other’s homes, the three of us were very active in Girl Scouts (thank you, Mrs. Dussel, world’s best Girl Scout leader!) 
Sally was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) about 30 years ago. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS shows up in about 1 in 1,000 people.  Our home town -- a village of 4,500 people -- has well over 30 people with MS, most of them living on or near just a few streets, and Sally has been an activist in trying to find out why there is such a high incidence of the disease.   Her persistence helped determine that contaminants called neurotoxins were released by several now defunct local industries.  Sally said this information probably won’t help those already diagnosed, but it might help our beautiful hometown and the younger people who live there.
As for Chris, in 1969 she went on a first date. Her date -- a man with good instincts -- asked Chris to marry him that very evening.  Chris, a more cautious sort, said no.  Along came date number two; said date asked for Chris’s hand again, and this time Chris said yes.   Her guy, Charlie, happened to be in the Army and within a month of that first date he was also in Vietnam, where he was for 11 months. When Charlie got home he and Chris got married, had three children, and were together until Charlie died unexpectedly two-and-a half-years ago.  
No one story defines a person and that’s certainly true of both Sally and Chris.  Sally, a music lover/musician with a wonderful husband/family/friends, is so much more than her MS.  Chris, who will never get over losing Charlie, is looking for her new normal and planning to move closer to her mom and sisters.  Thank you, Sally and Chris (and your families) for sharing my growing-up years and impacting my life.  Sara, I might not see you this trip, but you know that sentiment is for you, too.
Bev, Sally and Chris on Sally's deck and surrounded by Sally's beautiful yard. The three of us went to grade school, junior high and high school together.

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