Traditionally, women have been uprooted from family to follow their husbands’ careers, though that may have changed today, back in the 50s it was the norm. Women welcomed one another to town and friendships solidified over back porch chats, coffee clutches and church circles. There is no greater testimony to friendship than my mom, Lenore, and Shirley DeJarnatt, who have been BFF ever since they met half a century ago.
They met when my folks moved to Sterling and they have been friends ever since. Like sisters they talk on the phone almost every day and stop over at one another’s homes to drop by this or that just to chat. They have shared hundreds of meals, thousands of cups of coffee, and millions of stories.
When my mom was leaving the hospital with her newborn, Shirley was arriving to have her first girl. Born just days apart, naturally, those girls, Karen and Michelle, went to become friends to this day even though they now live 400 miles apart.
Shirley raised 3 boys and a girl, whereas my mom had 3 girls and boy. As kids we shared hand me downs and potluck dinners. My first bike used to be Barry’s and I coveted Mark’s fringed, cowboy vest that he finally outgrew so that I could inherit. Eating at DJ’s house was a special treat because they had a “cow machine” where milk squirted out of the spigots and they served homemade ice cream from the hand turned buckets.
When we were in high school, my sister was hired to clean the DJ’s house and Shirley was always calling to ask where Susie put the frying pan, the hair dryer or the phone book.
In later years, long after Shirley’s mom had passed away, she adopted my grandma when Grandma moved from the east coast to live in Sterling. When my mom was out of town, Shirley would check in on Gram Olson and take her to lunch or give her a ride to church.
Whenever my parents returned from long trips, Shirley would fill their refrigerator with groceries, so they wouldn’t have to run out and shop. And oh no, it was not just any ol’ store bought stuff, but extra special treats, homemade chili and BBQ, banana bread and blueberry pie.
When Shirley’s beloved husband, Carson, died, my folks were there holding her hand, helping her let go and staying by her side through the lonely days to follow.
To my own children she became known as the Bear Lady. During Christmas holidays, we visited Shirley’s beautiful home to see her teddy bear collection. Though Shirley had her own 10 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, ever so generous, she spoiled my kids too bringing them books and Beanie Babies on their trips to Sterling.
For over a half a century, they belonged to same church where Shirley directed and my mom played the chimes. Both kindergarten teachers, married to high school teachers/coaches, they had so much in common especially kindness. It would be a toss up to determine who was more thoughtful.
During every celebration or setback, birth, or death just like sisters, they have been there for each other to share in the joy or heartache and endure whatever life threw their way. Divided by two, no problem was insurmountable.
Happy Mother’s Day to two wonderful moms and BFFs
Beautiful tribute, Pat to two wonderful ladies!!
And you, too, are one of the wonderful ladies of Sterling! Happy Mom’s Day
What a blessing it is to have such a friend to go through life’s ups and downs, celebrations and sorrows. Wish my BFF weren’t so far away, but at least having the internet and VOIP phone calls helps keep the support coming and going. 😉
Happy Day Super Mom! So grateful, BFF, that we stay connected across the miles.
Girlfriends are the best. Your lovely tribute shows the long-reaching, positive impact of these friendships. Beautiful, Pat!
Girlfriends are the best and we cannot overlook the impact of those special cyber friendships. Happy Mother’s Day, dear friend.
What a remarkable legacy women in your family have, Pat! Brings tears to my eyes….
Thanks, Patty, and I would venture that the women in your family are equally remarkable beginning with dear Grandma Marie.
Such a good example your mom and her BFF set for all you kids — that friendship, like sisterhood, is forever. Your post almost makes me feel like I knew these two lovely ladies, though of course I didn’t. Well done, Pat, and Happy Mom’s Day to you!
Among all the other gifts passed on from dear Lenore, I learned from my mom how to treasure friendship. Happy Mother’s Day right back at ya!
How blessed we have been to have our own wonderful mom, Lenore, and an adopted mom in Shirely. What a lovely tribute to two very special ladies, Pat. It is no wonder they have been such dear friends for so many decades….they share so many of the same qualites….their compassion and kindness lead the list, for sure. And they have shown all of us how to “do frienship” right. Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful women who have shaped our lives.
Pat. Your mom and I were desined to be sisters from the first time we met. We both believe in the same principals of life, sharing, caring truth and love. Each day we share the lives of our families.There have been wonderful times and very sad times. You left out the the many times your mother used to leave coffee because you had one of your many accidents. Like catching your tongue in a toy truck.It has been a pleasure recalling these many years of memories with you and your family. I always look forward to reading your blogs. Shirley
Yes you were destined to be sisters and everyone should be so blessed to have a friend like you. Not only did you become Lenore’s best buddy, but you also influenced the lives of your dear friend’s three daughters. I am grateful for all the kindness you have showered on the McKinzie family. Oh yes and about that toy truck, where to begin because there was also the split head, lilac branch in the throat and all the other crisis of my rough n tumble childhood. Thanks also for supporting my mom through all of misadventures.
Sis, you have me laughing and crying reading this! Great memories of the DJs and our dear Moms very special loving lifetime friendship. Hoping everyone is blessed with a BFF!!
What an admirable relationship Lenore and Shirley have experienced!! These two amazing ladies have been such an inspiration to friends and family! Happy Mother’s Day!!
Happy Mom’s Day to the world’s best neighbor. We all have such fond memories of your days on Carriage Hill Drive.
A wonderful Mother’s Day tribute, Pat. Thanks for sharing it.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope you had an extra special Mom’s Day.
I absolutely adore this story of true, lasting friendship. What a beautiful relationship these two have, and an amazing legacy for their families.
I feel so blessed to have not only a wonderful mom, but also a great example of what it means to be a loyal, lifelong friend.