Life is strange. Relationships occur. Then end for no particular reason. A time comes when one would like to renew the relationship and it is too late. Death has interfered.
Geraldine E. Weigand was a high school classmate. Back then, she was known as Geraldine “Gerry” Houlihan. High school was 1949-1953. Utica Catholic Academy in Utica, NY.
Gerry was born with a physical defect. She was hunch backed. Very much so. Only on one side which made her look more strange. Her head was lowered and a bit to the side. She stood less than five feet. Considerably. Not a particularly attractive girl.
Always with a smile and a cheery hello, however.
I had no particular relationship with her. I would say hello and she would respond. We never conversed further.
She was generally ignored by her other classmates, except for two who became her close friends. They were not physically attractive either.
I never saw Gerry again. I did hear from her however some 6-8 years ago. Out of the blue, I received an e mail from her. How she found me, I do not recall. I was living in Key West as a resident. She was now living near Buffalo. I suspect she came across the blog.
Her e mail was cheerful. I responded. An instantaneous relationship developed. It was as if we had been close friends forever. We continued e mailing for a couple of years. Sometimes once or twice a week. Sometimes not for two months. An occasional telephone call.
Gerry had written a book. She self published it. She mailed me a copy. A Thorn With Every Rose. Published in 1997. It was the story of her life from day one. Honest, bold and frank. She was aware she did not look like others. She was cognizant that people avoided her. Whatever, there was a smile in every word she wrote. The glass was always half full. An amazing individual!
She wanted a family. To be a mother, grandmother, etc. She found Adam. They married. Adam had children from a previous marriage. Gerry had her family! Even grandchildren as time went on.
Gerry’s book to me bore a brief note: Louis, I am happy we have connected again after almost half a century. Hope you enjoy my book – and let’s keep in touch…..Gerry Weigand 2/16/01.
I have a ton of books sitting around the house. I am from the old school. I still enjoy having the hard copy in my hand rather than reading a book on the tablet. Once a book is read however, it is of no use. I am a pack rat, however. I never get rid of anything. That is why there are piles of books everywhere.
Yesterday, I was looking for a book that someone gave me a couple of years ago and which I had never read. It was time. While looking for the book, I came across the book Gerry had sent me in 2001. Holding the book once again brought back memories of our relationship which developed some fifty years after first meeting.
I cannot recall why we stopped e mailing or telephoning. That is the way life is, I guess. We just stopped. Finding her book was a reminder to renew the relationship.
I went to the internet to search for her. Her email address and phone number were long gone. What I found made me sad. Very sad. I found her obituary posted by a West Seneca, NY undertaker. Gerry had died “…..after a long illness” April 24, 2009.
I shed a tear for this lovely brave woman. I felt bad that I had not continued communicating, though I would blame her also.
I plan on rereading Gerry’s book. This time will be different. I am a sentimental at heart. A tear or two will be shed.
Enjoy your day!