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Till We Meet Again

Kathy Werner - Columnist
Posted 4/8/21

Several months ago, I wrote about the long journey taken by a printing project I had ordered. It spent a month in the nonspeedy hands of the USPS.

The project was called “The Olden Girls”, a …

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Till We Meet Again

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Several months ago, I wrote about the long journey taken by a printing project I had ordered. It spent a month in the nonspeedy hands of the USPS.

The project was called “The Olden Girls”, a book of photos and accompanying verse about the reunion of my high school friends. I had gone to all the Delaware Valley Central School Class of 1970 reunions over the years and enjoyed seeing my classmates, but two of my besties were never there—Barbara Rosenberger and Mary Phillips.

I talked to Rita Kobylenski Burns and Deb Hess Darder, and we decided it was time to track them both down. Through their super-sleuthing, we discovered that Babs and Mare both lived upstate, not far from Rita. Next on the agenda was a reunion, which we set up at Rita's house for April 2016. The Olden Girls were born.

To say the day was a success would be an understatement. We all arrived with tons of food and wine, but we spent so much time talking, little was consumed. Babs arrived with her HS paraphernalia, including her cheerleading letter, and gave us each one of her name cards from graduation. Mare brought tons of mementos as well, including the complete script for the Class Day Celebration of 1970, which included our scandalous Class Will and Testament. The mimeographed copy was faded but still readable, and we still “got” most of the jokes.

And we laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

We got together three times after that, trying to fit our reunions around our busy mom and grandma schedules as well as our doctors' appointments. We visited Callicoon in 2016, Skaneateles in 2018, and Callicoon again in 2019. Mary got to see her beloved Delaware River, and we drove up the River Road so she could see the house where she grew up.

In that house, cozily paneled in knotty pine with its wall of windows looking over the river, she and I had spent many a night baking and eating dozens of oatmeal cookies, telling each other our deepest secrets, and just being friends. Mary was a great listener and a born nurturer. And, of course, we shared the same fabulous sense of humor.

Mary loved the Delaware River so much, and we were all so happy that she got to see it once again. She wanted to see Big Rock in the river by her house, and Babs and I took her as close as we could. I took a photo of them on the riverbank that day, and Mary looks like she is about to cry. How she loved that river.

The pandemic messed up our plans for a reunion in 2020, so I made “The Olden Girls” book and sent it to the gang. Mary loved it.

Beset with many health issues, Mary left us this February, the day before her birthday.

We are bereft at the loss of this cherished friend whose vibrant personality and caring soul filled and refilled our lives with love and laughter, yet feel so blessed that we were able to renew our friendship. Mary, we love and miss you.

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