Nancy is like a sister

When I am feeling down and out, she knows how to light up a dark room

Her smile is big as a bright red apple

I don't have to go too far to look for the funnies; I know who to resort to for comedy

When I am drowning in the water with my sorrows, she is at the end of the line with a hook to save me

A person full of life & energy and is as bright as a fluorescent light; Lights up a pitch black room

_________________________

I was very fortunate to stumble upon my very good friend, Nancy, at McClory School in Markahm, Illinois. I met her by a yellow shelving unit that held toys, educational games, and story books. At that time, I was 4 ½ years old and Nancy had just turned 7, two months prior. We were in a classroom with other children who had similar disabilities as we did. Nancy had a heart defect along with a learning disability, and I was, and still am, visually impaired as well as having a hearing disability. Our friendship developed helping and supporting each other during school days. For example, when we went down the hall for different activities, she would guide me safely to and from our destination, and I would counsel her when she needed advice. Eventually, we became social friends outside of school.

During the years following our formative years when I was 7 ½ and Nancy was 10 ½, we decided to exchange phone numbers and started to have play dates at each other’s houses as well. She was in school with me until I was 8. When I reached the age of 9, I was placed in a class for visually impaired children only, and Nancy was starting junior high at the age of 13 with students that had all types of disabilities.

We began visiting each other’s homes frequently and became very good friends. We started sleepovers when I was 12 and Nancy was almost 15. Our friendship continued to grow - the same year I started junior high. We used her tape recorder to make sounds of ghosts and placed it under her sister’s bed! Her sister got even by scaring us with strange noises. Every sleepover was fun and now, I remember those nights with fondness.

In 1981 Nancy entered Oak Forest High School, and I advanced to McKinley Junior High School. We continued our close friendship throughout those years. Nancy remained in high school until she was 21. I graduated McKinley at 15 and advanced to Homewood Flossmoor High School where I remained until the age of 20. After graduation, I got a job at Sertoma Center - a workshop for people with all types of disabilities. During my working years, Nancy remained at home caring for her niece, Jessica, as a babysitter. We continued going shopping together, having sleepovers, going to fast food restaurants, and just enjoying each other’s company. When Nancy was 25, she began working with me at Sertoma workshop where we met daily for lunch and breaks.

And the friendship continued. 

In 1994, Nancy had serious surgery at Olympia Fields Hospital. I lived a short distance from there, and I was able to visit with her twice with the help of my parents. This was a very worrisome time for me since I was afraid she would die during her surgery. Nancy said she was happy that I was there for her and  expressed her gratitude for my support. Her words made me feel joyful.  

In November of 1996, she moved to Plymouth, Indiana. We continued visiting each other at least once or twice a year.  Every time we got together, we recalled the good times, and our favorite songs: “Through The Years,” by Kenny Rogers, “Kokomo,” by The Beach Boys, “Here We Go Around The Mulberry Bush,” and “I Love Rock And Roll,” by Joan Jett.

Nancy was always there for me, like taking time to attend my dad’s funeral. We both have been there for the happy times, as well as the sad ones. And that’s what makes a good friend.



Comment