It had been a long, long time since I had received a letter. A real letter handwritten on pretty stationery. When I saw the return address, I knew that it was a very special letter. It had traveled from the home across the street from Meem's home on Rockview in Waco, Texas. The writer was familiar to me. A large lump gathered in my throat. It was a busy day. I knew that the words would fill me with emotion, so I set it aside. I would read it at the end of the day when the house was quiet and my eye makeup was no longer needed.
Here is the letter. Below, I have typed it out for you using her exact wording.
When we first moved to Rockview in December of 1995, I hosted a writers group monthly meeting at my new house. Lee Hill Nelson [one of Meems' dearest friends] was one of our writers and said, "My good friend Helen lives across the street, you have to meet her!" After the meeting - over we went!
Your mother was a very special person; interested in others and caring about their lives and family etc. Within a few days she was knocking on my door with brownies and the most special of gifts. A hand typed 3X5 card with all the neighbors names, address and phone numbers. I still have that card; added to & changed as old neighbors leave & new arrive.
Helen would always host a neighbors xmas coffee one Saturday in December for ladies only! We loved it! This past December a new neighbor in conjunction with one of the originals did the same. [Here comes the part that catapulted me into the "ugly cry" zone.] We all shared memories of your mother's gatherings and expressed hopes to continue the gatherings tradition.
When I look out my front window or walk by Helen's old house I still remember her smiling, and waving at me to come up. Sharing a new plant that she bought or important information about a neighbor or her family & grand childrens' adventures.
Helen is indeed a special lady, a gem, always interested in others. I am so glad that Helen and your family has had these special years to share.
This explains Meems' insistence on packing 3 sets of china for her move to a small independent living apartment when she came to Lubbock. She was already planning get-togethers with the new friends she was going to meet at Raider Ranch. Together, we packed up linen napkins, "pretty" paper napkins, her favorite games and seasonal decor. "I'll start with a Christmas coffee," she said thinking aloud, "I'll need games for a New Year's Eve Party!" We then went to her closet to pull out clothes that she would need for special occasions: dancing shoes, evening wear, bathing suit & cover up (for water aerobics) and workout clothes (for chair yoga).
That was technicolor Meems. Thanks, dear De, for taking me back in time to the season of life that gave my mother great joy. Oh, how she loved people and parties! Your handwritten words will be tucked into a safe place so that I can savor them long after Meems is partying in Heaven.
I hope that for years to come, cups of Christmas coffee will be raised on Rockview in Waco, Texas in my mother's honor. Cheers to you all.