Former Brazil resident
Linda received a Christmas card from Nancy Lawson, an old friend from high school. Nancy had lived in Florida for years but recently moved back to Indiana to be close to her mother in Indianapolis.
She wrote a short note in her card. "Wishing you the best of the season. We now have Mother home with hospice care. The Red Cross was able to get Jerry home, so we had our family Christmas this past Saturday."
Linda's heart sank as she read the words. Nancy's mother, Katie Lawson George, was her friend, also. A very special friend. Katie was the perfect example of how one individual can make a difference in another's life. And now this wonderful lady's own life may be nearing its end. She has been fighting an illness off and on for the past couple years.
Katie had such an impact on Linda's life. She went back in her mind remembering how their paths had crossed.
Katie is a registered nurse and years ago worked for Dr. McBride, an ophthalmologist in Terre Haute. Her husband, George Lawson, ran a refrigeration repair business. He drove a van that had, "Keep Cool, By George" printed on the side panel.
The Lawsons lived in a big, two-story house on the west edge of town. Linda's family lived in a modest, little four room house on the east side.
Nancy and Linda met in the 7th grade at Brazil Jr. High School back in 1956. They shared a few classes and ran around with some of the same kids. Eventually, they became friends and Linda was invited to Nancy's home. That's how she met Katie who had the stereotypical gruff exterior with a heart of gold. But she was like no other lady Linda had ever met.
The two girls joined the same Girl Scout Troop in high school. It wasn't an ordinary troop. They did little scouting. Their leader, Juanita Shearer, planned a trip for the 12 members to go to Europe. They spent four years trying to earn the money for that trip.
One money making project was running the concession stand in Forest Park for a summer. The girls helped but the parents did most of the real work. Katie usually worked with Linda's mother.
Also, during that period, Linda's brother Bob, dated Nancy and he spent considerable time at the Lawson household. So through various avenues Katie got to know Linda's family pretty well.
Linda came from very humble origins. There was no one nicer or kinder than her parents. And they were intelligent people but due to her dad's lack of a formal education, he languished in low-paying jobs.
They were very poor but they had pride and taught their children a great work ethic. You worked for what you got or you did without. You didn't expect or accept charity. Some people treated Linda's family badly just because they were poor. But not Katie. If she was your friend, she was your friend under any circumstances
At some point in time Linda decided that she wanted to be a nurse. The high school required college-bound students to lock into the science course. Linda's mother was concerned because it didn't have any business classes.
There was no shorthand, bookkeeping or business math offered. Without those subjects, her mother was afraid Linda wouldn't be able to get a decent job if she couldn't make it to college, and her family had no money for schooling.
Being bull-headed and young, Linda just assumed things would work out. So she signed up for the science course and planned to go to college even though she had no idea how she was going to get there.
Tomorrow: Katie tries to advise her young friend but can she make her listen?