She is one of the few memories I have from childhood. Maybe because she had such big impact. She was a very good friend of my mother and everyone loved her because of her bold personality. She always said what was on her mind, she was caring and compassionate, and didn’t put up with any bullshit.
She was the first person to let me “drive”. I remember that day so clearly. She was wearing tight jeans and cowboy boots and pulled me up on her lap to let me steer her blazer. We started off right by our local DMV of all places, but everybody let kids drive in our small town. She smoked a lot, cussed like a sailor, and her favorite color was purple. I always found that odd because she was so tough.
Moving on to the summer when I was 17 years old. I was a wild and rebellious teenager ready to see how much trouble I could get into before my senior year. Until, Jane got sick. She was diagnosed with cancer. Started off in her brain and spread throughout her entire body. She could no longer drive herself to doctor appointments, chemo, or the grocery store. Too proud to hire a nurse or take advantage of hospice, I stepped in. I gave up my summer to be at her beck and call and I was happy to do it.
I drove her into the city 3 times a week for chemo. While she was there, I ran “errands” for her which meant going to the mall to buy her rock candy, going to her favorite mexican restaurant and picking up cheese dip and punch. After chemo, we would spend hours at the grocery store looking at and buying meat, then coming home so she could put it in the smoker, then feed it to her beagles, Fred and Ethel or call friends to come pick it up because her appetite was small.
We went to head shops, smoked weed together, and tried to make the most of every day. Of course, each day, each week, and so on she got weaker, chemo was just barely keeping her going. The doctor made some kind of net cast of her head and drew a tiny X on the only place the disease hadn’t gotten to yet. It scared the shit out of me.
School was approaching and I to pack my bags and go back home, a few blocks away. Soon after, she passed away. She was finally at rest, no more pain, she was free. Jane will always hold a place in my heart.
Julie made me think of Jane today. I didn’t know her, but I know she had a huge impact on a lot of you and you are all so blessed to have known such a wonderful woman. Rest in peace, Julie.