Friday, 18 August 2017

 

 "The Road Back to Hell"

 This is the bittersweet story of growing up in an extremely dysfunctional home in the 1950's and 1960's. As the oldest child of my biological mother, Bonnie, and my adoptive father, Stew, I was the only daughter who benefited from the strong love my parents shared during the early years of their marriage. Shortly after the birth of my first sibling, Judy, their marriage started to crumble.  

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Thursday, 27 July 2017 14:03

My West Side Friends

Peace and tranquility surround me as I sit on the porch of my Greenhurst rental and view the beauty of Chautauqua Lake. I am reminded of the many times in my teens when I spent the day at Lakewood Beach with my West Side friends laughing, swimming, and sharing stories. Fortunately, I renewed those friendships at my 40th class reunion and have invited them for an evening get-together every year while I'm staying at the lake. We still laugh and share stories. However, the beach is no longer an option because it is closed, and we're all past the point of donning bathing suits and 'jumping in the lake'.

I can clearly remember my fear as I walked up the sidewalk to enter Lincoln Junior High School for the first time. Although I had entered several elementary schools without knowing anyone, I had never been afraid― just a little nervous. This time was different. For some reason, I understood the importance of making the right friends on my first day. Once again, my guardian angel directed me to the 'right door' where a smiling, chubby-cheeked girl named JoAnne Ottoson greeted me. She quickly introduced me to a group of girls I lovingly refer to as my West Side friends, who have remained my friends for over fifty-years.

These girls helped shape my years at Lincoln into the best years of my youth. We walked to school together every day, were members of Delta Zeta and Theta Gamma sororities, had slumber parties at each other's homes, attended school dances, met at the Tasty Freeze on summer nights, and yes, went to Lakewood Beach as often as we could in the summer. I spent a lot of time at JoAnne's house during those years where we would sit at the piano singing songs from popular musicals, devour the delicious baked goods her mother, Greta frequently made, and talk until the wee hours of the morning. These wonderful memories have sustained me throughout my life.

This is a special year because we are celebrating our 50th JHS Class Reunion on Saturday night.  This week, JoAnne Ottoson, Sue Young, Lorrie Marker, Mary Anderson, Cherrie Swanson, Laura Cusimano and Mary Carla Cala (maiden names), joined me at the lake house for a pre-union party. It was the best gathering yet as we sat round until 1:00am sharing memories of those happy years. The fact that one of my best friends from Lincoln, Leslie Hauck is flying in from Omaha, Nebraska  for the first time in thirty years, makes this year's celebration even better! She will be staying with me at the lake house, where I am sure we'll stay up at late as possible talking about our junior and senior high years, as well as all that has transpired in our lives since we last met.

With over two-hundred and fifty classmates returning for our reunion, I am looking forward to seeing many other friends. Having reconnected with many of them via Facebook, I am anxious to visit with them at the social gathering on Friday night and the reunion on Saturday.

As a people person, I have always valued the friends in my life. While writing my memoir, I realized how important each one of these friends is to me. By sharing our stories, I have come to understand the uniqueness of each one, and to treasure their special gifts.  In turn, I hope that I have been able, in some way, to make their lives a little happier.

Thank you to each of my friends for joining me on my  journey through life.  

3 comments

  • Comment Link Mary Carla Champ Saturday, 05 August 2017 02:54 posted by Mary Carla Champ

    I want to say something, but I do not have a way with words. But of course I will try.
    Thanks so much for having us all over to the lake house. Your efforts and energy bring us together. I love every minute. You are one of the best listeners. Everything you do is so gracious, and so typical of you.

  • Comment Link Cherrie Wednesday, 02 August 2017 22:53 posted by Cherrie

    Diana is a joy. When she came to Lincoln Junior High School, it was so much fun watching her. She was (and still is), happy, bubbly, cute, beautiful, honest, and so full of energy. For a quiet/shy girl like me, she was amazing! It is a blessing to know Diana and all of my wonderful friends, and to get together every year to celebrate that friendship.

  • Comment Link Lorrie Tuesday, 01 August 2017 11:15 posted by Lorrie

    Thanks Diana..............we treasure our friendship with you. You evenings "at the lake" are always full of hours of laughter and conversation. It is amazing how many memories each of us have that sparks the trip back to the 50's and 60's. Your enthusiasm for life fires us up with each visit. Thank you for being you.

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