Monday, October 6, 2008
Hi, I'm back! Not my usual "nice girl" jargon, but times have been tough and if you want to survive, you've got to be the same! On a late summer afternoon a few weeks ago, I ran into my good friend David, working on the Ocean Beach Boardwalk. I candidly told him that the only gravesite I would choose to visit my friend Paula would be a commemorative board on the Ocean Beach Boardwalk. But that I couldn't afford the $100 donation that S.O.B. ("Save Ocean Beach") was requesting. "Twenty dollars a month!" said David. Good old David! I know David from the early eighties when we each rented a room in a Victorian house just outside Willimantic, where I went to college. Shared kitchen and bath upstairs, and shared many meals together as well, including a dinner on my birthday one year. No matter how much time goes by, I always manage to run into him, no matter how many years have passed since our last "meeting." We met when I was just a college girl in my twenties, he being fresh out of the Navy and working in dentistry in Willimantic. We have both since moved to New London. I know Paula must have been whispering in his ear that day at the beach, because the $20 monthly installment for a "grave" for my buddy on the Ocean Beach Boardwalk is just the thing. I don't want to go to a cemetery to "talk" to Paula; stones are too cold for me. I remember last summer, newly mourning her "death" to this Earth, I used to say to her old buddy Bobby on the phone, "The ashes of my girl are still warm!!" To which HE laughed. Now, you may or may not take offense to this, but my girl and I shared some crisp humor in our day! I'm not for everybody. My friend from church has plans for those ashes in a local memorial garden. But Ocean Beach and 190 Vauxhall are both where Paula's Spirit comes alive for me. Where I can "talk" to her!! Hence, I will have a commemorative board from the Ocean Beach Boardwalk purchased in her memory and carved with words I choose with care... "In Loving Memory of Paula Gillespie??" "In Memory of Paula Gillespie, 1938 - 2007, Love, Denise??" Or, how about -- "We'll always be friends. Paula Gillespie & Denise Hickey 2001 - 2007" She didn't like to reveal her true age, remember?? Yes, I like that last one the best. I received a phone call from "S.O.B.," questioning my payment plan. She said that something could be worked out. As an avid Ocean Beach goer, I asked my caller about doing volunteer work in the gardens at Ocean Beach. Enthusiastically, she said that "S.O.B." could use my help. That there are only about six or seven members on the Nature Walk Committee. That, yes, some of the work can be done alone! And that there are also organized group clean-ups. And that some of the work is done in alliance with the United States Coast Guard, based here in New London. That there is a need for year round work! For more information, go to: http://www.saveoceanbeachpark.org Got my next gig without hardly tryin!' Doin' somethin' I love! A gentleman of my recent acquaintance, Larry, who purchased my friend's house a year ago, taught me a most valuable lesson this past summer: "You push too hard. If you push too hard, things won't happen. Sometimes, you have to allow things to happen. It's going to get done!" (On the interior renovations of my best friend's house!) It's the most valuable lesson anyone has ever taught me, and from a fine gentleman at that. A far cry from what my father taught me: "You have to be aggressive. If you're not aggressive, it's going to be a horrible world for you." Which, I'm sure, is also appropos at times. Tough times like these.