My childhood mentor became my friend

In the mid 70’s, when I was 10 years old, my father died by suicide.

My memories, from that time in my life, are sketchy, which “they” say, that if you experience something tragic, you could lose or block some memories.

I remember that my father was found and taken to the hospital, and was on life support for a week or so. My 4 sisters and I were sent to family friends to stay, while our mother dealt with all of this.

My next memory is that we all came home and were told that daddy had passed away.

The funeral service and burial happened shortly after. My memories from that day are also limited. I recall being at the temple, but I do not remember the service. I remember being in the limo, driving to the cemetery and noticing that the line of cars was so long and thinking that daddy knew so many people. He was a doctor, in our town, so he did know a lot of people. It also was raining that day, so there was a tent set up, at the grave site, for the immediate family.

Everyone came back to the house afterward and visitors and food continued for days later.

I remember that I did not cry the day of the funeral. I was angry.

After my father died, my sisters and I started going to day camp in the summer. I was still angry and I had a problem with authority. I went to that camp for 3 summers, I believe 2 years, as a camper, and 1 year as a CIT(counselor in training).

Right about that same time, I started playing the flute. At camp, there was a music program, which included singing, acting, and playing instruments. The program was run by a music teacher Ron. There was even a play at the end of the summer as well. I only remember 1 play, that I participated in, which was The Sound of Music, and I played Brigitta, in the play, that summer. That was a lot of fun.

As difficult as I was at that time, Ron really took me under his wing. He was informed, by the owners of the camp, that my sisters and I lost our father and we might need some extra attention, during this difficult time. Ron was patient, understanding, and kind, right when I needed it the most.

This started me down the musical path and I continued playing the flute from elementary school to high school. I was in Marching Band, Concert Band and I was even in the Chorus at some point, where I had ONE of my most embarrassing moments of my life. Now you want to know what happened, right? Ok, I will tell you…

I don’t remember if this was junior high or high school, but the time I was in chorus and during a concert, yes, in front of a packed audience, we were singing Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. I love this song. I sang out the word Sweet, from the chorus of the song, before everyone else! I was sooo embarrassed. To this day, that song haunts me, lol.

Anyway, during the school year, between summers, Ron and I kept in touch. We wrote letters back and forth, remember letters?? I actually still have them. Letters from 1978-1985. Stamp prices were 15 cents to 22 cents during that time. Ron was also very creative and drew pictures and wrote music on the outside of some of the envelopes. He even wrote some poetry in some of the letters as well. One even had a Peanuts cartoon glued on the back…

Needless to say, I really enjoyed receiving his letters, over those years.

So the years went on and we stayed in touch, mostly by phone, instead of letters, except for birthday cards. Ron got married and eventually I met his wife, who is very nice. They both attended my wedding in the early 90’s. They had 2 kids, which I attended their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I also attended their weddings. Ron is in his 70’s and is still a teacher, but is retiring soon.

Speaking of birthday cards, in 1992, Ron sent me this card…

The inside says, “…We’d kinda like this card back after you finished reading it”.

He already had it numbered, on the inside left, so we could each write a little note, each time we sent to each other. You can see a lot of my notes to him, over the years. It’s fun looking back at what we wrote. We are now on the back of the card. The problem is, his birthday is at the end of November, mine is at the beginning of December, so I have to hold onto this card for 11 months!!!! He only has to hold for about a week or so. SO NOT FAIR!!!

We have been sending this card back and forth ever since. OMG, I just realized that it will be 30 years this December!!!

Ron came into my life at the perfect time. I was a kid, going through a huge loss, and I really needed some direction. Ron gave me that direction and I am forever grateful for his guidance, when I was young, and for his friendship as an adult.

Thank you Ron

4 thoughts on “My childhood mentor became my friend

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