Friday started out so wonderfully. I knew it was going to be a great day because I was able to hit all the green lights on the way to work. Seriously, not one red light. When I got to work I thought that was pretty amazing! My students were presenting their Genius Hour projects on Friday, and I was so excited for this. You could feel the energy in my classroom when the students entered. It was electric. Friday was our minimum day which meant I was going to start my spring break at 12:56. Yes, everything was lining up for a perfect day. But, it wasn’t to be.
On Friday, I learned that a dear friend was not expected to survive complications from an aneurysm. I am devastated and shocked. I wanted to take a moment and share a few things about my friend, LaRie. I met LaRie over 20 years ago when she transferred to the school I was teaching at. The school was Pomerado Elementary in Poway. Through the years at Pomerado, we formed a tight-knit friendship with other teachers at the school. We lovingly referred to each other as the Pomerado Princesses. Man, we went through everything together. LaRie, Laura (another friend), and I were the youngest teachers on staff. We were single back then. We experienced the boyfriends and the breakups with boyfriends. We all got married in the same year within months of one another. I married Kevin in February 1995. LaRie married Tom in May, and Laura married Dean in August of the same year. The three of us went through pregnancies together. I was first, Laura followed, and then LaRie had her son, Michael. Those were fun years. We were truly a family at Pomerado.
Sadly, our Pomerado family split up. A few of us moved to a new school, Shoal Creek (where I teach now). Some of us remained at Pomerado. LaRie was one who stayed. We did not let the fact that we were separated stop us from being present in each others’ lives. We decided to form a book club. That way we would have to get together at least once a month and keep our family ties strong. We laughed at the beginning because book club was just another excuse to have a party. I think that is when LaRie gave our group the name “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Party.” Yeah, we loved a party. Sometimes we talked about the book we read, but mostly we talked about our families, and work, and what we were up to. This was the best part of book club.
This is why it is so hard for me to believe that LaRie will no longer be with us. Well, I know physically she won’t be with us. But, her spirit is so strong. I know she will continue to be present. There are so many things I will miss about my friend. She was always so assertive. She was never afraid to speak her mind even if she knew people did not agree with her. I always admired her for that and wished I could be more like her. Family meant everything to her. She was a loving wife to her husband, Tom. She was a wonderful mother to her son, Michael. She was so proud of her family and talked about them often. LaRie always made you feel welcome. She was always in for fun. She had an infectious laugh. However, the one thing I will miss the most about LaRie is how she always greeted me when I walked in the door. “Hey Jude!” This was always followed by a big hug. Yes, I will miss that happy greeting and that hug the most.