Jackie was my best friend in junior high and most of high school. Someone described her as a “spark”. And she certainly was. Athletic. Energetic. Big Blue Eyes with eyelashes out to there. Tiny, standing a little over five feet and maybe 95 pounds soaking wet. One early spring day, circa 1970, I took her as my guest on a family outing to Lehman Hot Springs in Oregon. Still snow on the ground, she was the first one to jump on the slide; a slide covered with 2 feet of snow. Down she went with snow exploding all around her and into the hot, steamy water. I thought this girl was the coolest being walking the earth. I adored her.
The last year of high school and beyond we grew apart. Nothing went wrong; we just took different paths. Only occasionally seeing one another. A couple of years ago we reconnected online. We now only lived less than 100 miles apart—so we promised to meet for lunch someday with a couple of other school friends.
Yesterday, I learned she died from cancer. Never making it public—I never knew. Always the picture of health, she maintained her trim, muscular figure and energy. To say I was shocked is an understatement. Although she has not been a close friend of late, she was such an important part of my life during those difficult adolescent years that a piece of me died yesterday, too. She was special and I will cherish her memory. I love you, Jackie.