On Saturday I went to the Celebration of Life for my oldest friend, Deana.  She wasn’t my oldest friend in terms of age but in terms of longevity; there are folks that I have known longer but they fall into the acquaintance category.  I met Deana in 1977 and we were fast friends from the beginning.

When she met my then-boyfriend, she used to refer to him as “the Greg Person” which eventually became “the GP”.  Once we got married, if Greg picked up the phone receiver and then after a few seconds of silence, he would hand the phone to me saying “it’s Deana”.   She always said she was so surprised when a man answered the phone that she was temporarily speechless.

At one point I took a cake decorating class from a visiting artist and one of the things we made were pink elephants sitting in champagne glasses.  Deana adored these elephants and when her youngest got married, she had me make a groom’s cake covered with pink elephants and tipped over champagne glasses.  It was hysterical.

Deana loved to travel – all her traveling involved throwing her bags and various children/grandchildren/great grandchildren into her big van and heading off down the road.  She even included YA once when YA was about 10.  That trip went to South Carolina and Florida.

She never wanted to retire – she always said she would work until the last minute.  After leaving the food industry, she ended up at a support and housing organization for the intellectually disabled, a place where she worked for close to 40 years.  She also worked at the local grocery store, managing the floral station. 

Once when I visited I discovered all my Ukrainian eggs along with some shiny holiday ornaments hanging from the ceiling in the front room.  She said it was too dangerous to have a tree up that year with her youngest having just learned to stand and walk but she didn’t want to entirely forego her ornaments.

I wouldn’t call her a hippy but she did love bright colors, especially tie-dye.  She actually told folks before her death that she wanted people to come to her service in vibrant colors – no black or gray or, heaven forbid, navy blue.

Deana was a collector of people.  If you wandered into her orbit, her gravity would grab you and never let go. She was very close to all of her family as well as those she considered family.  The house was always full of kids and grandkids.   If you needed a hand, Deana would be there to offer help.

At the service we sang one of her favorite songs, Puff the Magic Dragon.  Normally a tear jerker for me but considering that Deana is gone, it was particularly poignant.  And as always, I did not come prepared with enough tissues.

Who is the friend you’ve known the longest?

22 thoughts on “Deana”

  1. Thanks for sharing her, VS – she does sound like a real gem.

    I’ve known Broxann since day one – our dads were in college together. Since they lived in Ames, we’d sometimes get to see them when we visited my dad’s parents, who lived 10 miles away. Her family shows up in our home movies. We were out of touch for several years before I finally settled back in the midwest, but since then we’ve kept in touch, and we went to each other’s folks funerals when possible. She is such a character, and I’ve mentioned before here that at one time had 3 great danes. She was also on my 50th birthday train trip itinerary, at the time living in Folly Beach, SC.
    Thanks for the question – I should call her.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My longest acquaintance is my friend Gloria, who I met when we were in the same Grade 1 classroom. She is the one I helped out last year when she had a knee replaced.

    I am an only child, and we tend to adopt people in our lives. She is like my sister. Her only sister died of Covid in 2021. Her parents are gone. Husband and I decided that when we all finally retire, we will live together and care for each other as we get old.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When I saw the title of today’s blog, I thought “vs, knows Deanna?” Deanna, is also the name of my domestic fairy (my cleaning lady).

    So sorry for your loss, vs. “Your” Deanna sounds like a true friend and fun person to be around. Some friendships are just special, and it sounds like you found a soulmate in her. I hope you find some comfort in your memories of your joint escapades.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It has been fun to connect with my high-school classmates on Facebook. There were only about 120 in total, and most of us started in Kindergarten and all attended the only elementary school and Jr/Sr high school in town. We knew each other pretty well after all those years together.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My first best friend was Mickey (Michelle). We met when I was 6 or 7. She lived across the street from us in Owatonna. She barked at me and I barked back. We became very close friends. When I was 12, my family moved to Cannon Lake near Faribault. Mickey and I lost touch but we have reconnected on fb. I like that aspect of fb very much. I have reconnected with many childhood friends from Owatonna. I think leaving those friends without realizing that it would be a permanent loss was a big deal for me. You don’t realize at 12 that you probably won’t see them again. Later, you feel it as a loss-at least that was my experience. I don’t think the friends I made in Faribault were like the friends from Owatonna. It’s been really wonderful to reconnect with them. One other early friend, Jan, is a good friend on fb now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. YA had Covid in July, but I have not. I have had two colds in the last year which is unusual but through YAs Covid and both colds, I tested repeatedly and no Covid for me. Yet. Fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think maybe going to the doctor is a good idea, Barbara. For sure try to isolate yourself from your husband for 5 days, if possible. Linda’s right-try to get a prescription for paxlovid.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So far, so good; neither Hans nor I have had it. I’m extremely cautious, Hans not so much. I haven’t had a haircut sine March 16th, 2020 because I haven’t wanted to risk. We are both fully vaccinated and boosted.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. I dated the sister of the man who married my x wife’s sister. Confused? So am I. No matter. Jeff became my best friend. When I went to her (the dated one) senior prom in a small town in North Dakota, I spent the weekend their parents home. She became distant but Jeff and I grew closer. He always mentioned with appreciation my throwing the football with him. After some years, he and I had married sisters. We were now brothers-in-law. My marriage ended in divorce. His continued until his death of colon cancer. As many know, I love music and enjoy making connections to the submitted articles. This one is personal as Jeff fought cancer.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I suppose the friend who has been there the longest is my sister, since she is three years older, so she was there from day one.

    My friend from my junior high school years, Nicky, sort of fell away – we used to write each other with regularity, but over the years we wrote less often, and then one year a card I sent came back, unable to forward. Her daughter is on Facebook, so when Nicky turned 60, I sent the daughter a message asking her to just say happy birthday for me. The daughter passed along the message.

    My friend Gina also knew Nicky, as did my sister. We were all friends, back in the day. Nicky cut ties with Gina and my sister around the same time, so I don’t think it’s anything any of us did or said. She just wanted to step away, I suppose.

    Gina has had a stroke and is diabetic, and also deals with depression. We still see each other, but less often since the pandemic. In warmer weather we have dinner on a patio somewhere. Someday soon!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.