Nothing seems to stay the same. Kids grow up, dust accumulates, hair changes to gray. The longer I'm at my job, more duties are added. (I'm not complaining. It translates to job security - or as secure as one can feel these uncertain days.)
I've lived in my current home nearly 11 years. In that amount of time my dear neighbors across the hall moved away. I really enjoyed them. They were both retired school teachers - Helen taught Latin; Harry taught French. His parents were missionaries to China. When he and his sister turned 18 and 19, respectively, the folks sent them to the USA to attend St. Olaf college in Northfield. It was there that Harry met and fell in love with Helen. I used to go across the hall to visit them and ended up staying two or three hours. Harry loved to talk. And he was interesting. He would watch my cats when I was gone on vacation. Eventually Helen began to show signs of Alzheimer's, so they moved away. It was sad to see them go. I still miss them.
This past Saturday my upstairs neighbor moved away. He and his wife had lived here 22-1/2 years. They moved in when the building was new. From my first day here, I got the impression his wife didn't like me. I remember that day so well . . . it was July 30 and very warm outside. My sister and her husband, my brother, Peder, and and my nephew, Keith, helped out. My niece's husband, Bobby, may have been there too. At any rate, it was a big job, and trip after trip, we came in and out the door. I noticed Barbara in the window above my cottage - watching everything going on. I'm sure she was curious about who her new neighbor(s) was. I always wondered why she didn't come down to greet us, or to offer cold water or lemonade - but that's another story. Anyway, she died this past September and her poor husband struggled to live here alone these past months. He is getting frail; fell a few times - giving me a scare; and barely managed the long flight of stairs. Now his unit is up for sale. Who will be my new neighbor? More change.
Tonight one of my cousins phoned to say his mom, Lillian, passed away today. She had been in a nursing home in St. Peter for several years. I remember her as a very sweet, gentle lady - and a good cook. As kids, we went to their house and always had a great time. I saw her last year at her 90th birthday party. Another cousin died unexpectedly two weeks ago. He was only 52. More change.