One of my mothers best friends died decades ago in the early 1980's. I wasn't living at home when she finally left this world. I was in California going through the final months of a really rotten marriage and wasn't anywhere near my family.
When the phone call came, I was very sad. I hated to be so far away from what had just happened. Sister Sarah had been a very large part of my mother's life and my childhood for as long as I can remember. My mother and Sister Sarah had been friends since college days.
I don't know or remember the details, but they met when they were both in the novitiate (convent). Sarah went on to become a fully fledged nun and my mother left the convent to marry my father.
Their friendship remained. Sister Sarah used to visit us when we lived in North Dakota. I even remember Sister Sarah's parents visiting us. She was a bigger part of our lives when we moved to Minnesota. Sarah's convent was in St Paul and she was able to visit us regularly. We also visited the convent. I actually liked visiting Sister Sarah in the convent. It had a huge pool table in the basement and we would play for hours. I also liked talking to the other nuns and novices.
Sister Sarah was a gentle and loving friend to my mother and to us kids as we appeared in the world. When my first child was born, Sister Sarah sent handmade pajamas for him. She made a white nightgown type garment that tied at the bottom. It was perfect for an infant whose bottom needed changing often. My son Ian wore it to bed almost every night. Later when he got taller, I pulled the bottom cord out and he just wore it as a nightgown.
I wish I had at least one photo of Sister Sarah. I can't believe I don't have a single one. I have been thinking about Sister Sarah a lot today. Of all things, it was the death of Shirley Temple Black that brings Sister Sarah's memory to the front of my mind.
Isn't it funny how the memory works and what will be a trigger to a deeper memory?
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