Colorful Memento

We moved to this house in May 1983, when second son was a couple months old.  Our neighbors to the east were friends of my in-laws, and the lady had arranged for a welcome/ birthday party for our then 3 year-old son.
Our neighbors across the street to the north were invited.  Their oldest daughter is about 8 months older than our oldest son, and they played together just fine on the porch and catching lightning bugs in the yard.

I felt very welcome, indeed.

A couple weeks later, again we found ourselves on the neighbor’s concrete porch, this time with a huge bowl of popcorn to share.

The little girl, called PJ then, announced there was a baby in her mommy’s belly.
Her mom looked taken aback, but sputtered that Yes, it was true,
the Due Date would be close to Christmas.

Having a new baby myself, and the depression which followed,  I didn’t do anything extra about being a great neighbor.
There were play dates, and greetings while doing yardwork, but much of memory is a blur.
Sometimes sewing tips or rhubarb crisp was involved.

The birth announcement was in the newspaper on a cold, snowy blowy day, during a month when I was trying to keep a crawling baby away from the kerosene heater because the power wasn’t reliable.  Christmas Eve Services were cancelled, which tells how bad the weather was.

After the Spring thaw, when neighbors were doing more than nods in the breeze, I finally got to hold baby girl Rachel Ann.  She’d had troubles from birth.  She seemed so tiny next to my son, who was walking by then. 

Over the years, we have been ‘house’ neighbors, but not ‘best friend’ neighbors.  Enough information that says we are holding our own with life, not great, not dreadful.

Yesterday, we got word that Rachel had passed away.
Her dad told my husband; her sister told me.

most of the obituary in this morning’s paper

Rachel ++++++

Monday, May 28, 2007 12:49 AM CDT

Rachel Ann ++++++, 23,  died at 8:35 p.m. Saturday (May 26, 2007) at her residence.

There will be no services.

She was born Dec. 27, 1983, in Normal, a daughter of Robert and Linda ++++++.

Surviving are her parents; her beloved sisters, Roberta and Phyllis; her special brother-in-law, Clinton; and a large extended family.

Rachel attended ___ Academy in Normal for 13 years and received her diploma. She was a member of ___ Church.

Rachel was a precious gift and loved by all who had the privilege of knowing her. She loved her sisters and her Aunt “Ebby” very much. She loved Jesus and praying with her special friends, Jane and Sue. Rachel was a selfless princess who captured the hearts of those around her. Her positive attitude and concern for others will never be forgotten. Even in her illness, Rachel was an encouragement to others.
She was loved very much and always surrounded by people who loved her.

Then came a personal request of me as a neighbor, quite unexpectedly, and which I was glad to accept and carry out.

It seems that Rachel loved to play with yarn.  The craft store was one of her favorite shopping destinations.
I have a very dim memory of sitting on my front porch step with hook and yarn and trying to show Rachel how to loop crochet stitches.  She didn’t quite get the idea, and I worried that it could be me being left-handed and unable to get the idea across.

She was good at tying knots, and so she worked what she called her macramé.  Some very cute decorations.

On Sunday afternoon, her older sister came to my back porch with a bag of yarn in her hands.  This one was special.  Bright colors, soft.

Would I be willing to make this into some sort of small blanket to use as a keepsake of our Rachel?

This would be quite an honor.  Oh yes.

So last evening I began a lap robe.  I had to twice change up the hook size, and decided for the wooden one inherited fom my Grandma, who used it to make rag rugs.

This morning, I finished weaving in the ends, Husband took a couple pictures, I bagged it up along with a tiny cross enclosed in a sympathy card, and across the street I walked.

They cannot believe I worked all that yarn overnight.

They love the results.

~~love and Huggs, Diane


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