Putting Cindy’s memory to rest

 Note:   I wrote this 10 years ago and could only find the printed paper copy and not the Word document, so I had to scan it into my computer. Hence, there may still be typos that I missed from the scanning. I edited the writing last week.)
     Background: For some reason, I was looking through friends’ posts two weeks ago, and ran across some on Nancy Deany’s(Cindy’s mom) face book page. I saw that one of Cindy’s son’s had a child and a wife and wondered what else I had missed in Cindy’s childrens’ lives. I looked through Nancy’s friends and found all four of Cindy’s sons listed as well as Arlyn, who has remarried. I then realized that Jacob was going to be getting married soon and that perhaps this synchronistic timing was inspired by Cindy herself from the other side. I have felt nudges from her numerous times in the past and always felt she wanted me to share some of her history with her sons someday. It was her spirit which nudged me 10 years ago, to get it all down on paper before I forgot it.  I find things tend to work this way, I get a nudge to explore or find something and then later I understand the motivation behind it.  I feel Cindy wants her family to know she is watching over them and is still connected to them.  So I drop this pebble into the waters of life and see how it ripples out.
     I remember when Cindy first arrived at our grade school, the Cathedral of the Risen Christ. We were in the fifth grade.  I had only come into the school two years earlier. Cindy and l quickly became close friends.   Every day after school  it seemed like we either went to her house or to my house.  We’d ride bikes together, play games in her basement bedroom or go to the DQ nearby. We took typing classes in summer school together.  We took tennis lessons together in the summers and then spent  lots of time on the courts trying to beat each other. We were both pretty competitive.
     During the winter snows, we’d meet at Southeast High School and go sledding down their incredibly steep hills.  Once in a while, if we were brave enough, we’d ride with the kids riding toboggans.  You were guaranteed to be thrown off the sled at some time on the journey down the bumpy, steep hill.  The hill was so steep and ended abruptly at the flat, hard ground at the bottom.
     In 6th grade, our teacher, Sister Leonilla, got upset at the girls in the class for having rings from their boyfriends. Sister Leonilla stormed into the bathroom one day and told all the girls in there, “Give me those rings that those boys gave you!”  I was not one of the lucky ones to have a ring, but I’m pretty sure Cindy was (John Keady ?). Anyway, I felt compelled to defend the girls and stand up to Sister Leonilla.  I talked back to her and told her that she had no right to take their rings away. I ended up in trouble with the rest of them.
     In eighth grade, Cindy and I went on a retreat with 8th graders from all around Lincoln. We had a great time, meeting new friends; especially boys.  At night, we snuck out of our rooms, through the first floor windows. I remember it must have been a full moon because it was so light out in the middle of the night. We arranged to meet this one guy from the retreat, whom we both liked.  We three ran off to the top of some hill together and hung out, outside for a few hours, just talking and having fun. We were competing again, but this time it was for a boy. I was pleased to see that after the retreat was over, it was me that the boy called. One of the few competitions I won. The photo is from the retreat and the boy was Bruce Lenz; who unfortunately died shortly after our high school graduation of leukemia.  
     When Cindy’s mom forced her to have two different operations, Cindy shared with me that she didn’t want to have either operation and that her mother was overly concerned with Cindy’s appearance. One operation was to fix her broken nose and to make it look pretty and one was to stop some unusual bone growth at Cindy’s chin.  I don’t know how much trauma she suffered due to these two operations, I can on1y recall the stitch line on her chin was reddish and evident for the longest time.  Sometimes, it got puffy, sometimes, it oozed and it looked pretty awfu1 for what seemed like a long time. There may have been a true medical need for the chin operation, I recall Cindy telling me that if the bone in the chin wasn’t cut off a bit, it would never stop growing.  We were just kids, and I’m sure no parent can make you truly understand the whys of it all.
      I loved high school with Cindy. We remained great friends throughout high school.  We took drivers education together at East High School in the summer. Cindy and I did everything together that we could when she wasn’t busy with her then boyfriend, Bill Franklin.   We’d get drunk together on cheap Strawberry Hill wine or Mad dog 20/20 and then we’d go to the football games and be obnoxious and have fun.
     Senior year was the best year as we had open campus, where we were allowed to come and go if we didn’t have class.  We’d go to McDonalds for lunch everyday, to Valentino’s for some munchies in the afternoon. We’d skip school for an hour or so each school day and go driving around in Vicky’s Corvair, or “Ralph Nader’s death trap” or “DT” as we called it. We’d smoke pot, get high and have a great time driving around, just being silly; for some reason we spent a lot of time driving around some golf course on the East end outside of town. Afterwards, we’d head back to class or get food first. We’d smoke cigarettes occasionally to be cool. We also hung out at our senior apartment; an apartment that was rented by one of the seniors who was already 18 years old.  It was an upstairs apartment, above a house, on the Northeast side of Lincoln. We’d skip school, go hang out there and play cards all day.  We played cards like hearts, spades, rummy and pitch.
     On weekends, we went with a large group of girlfriends to two different bars on the edge of town to listen to the Sandy Creek Pickers; a bluegrass band play.  We had some fake ID’ s and we were their favorite groupies.  The drinking age was 18 at the time.  We’d eat at the Village Inn and have pancakes and hash browns in the wee hours of the morning on the weekends after all our partying.  Cindy and I also went to tons of rock concerts together; to see bands like;  Jethro Tull, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Crosby Stills and Nash, Kiss, Kansas and many others.
     The senior year girls Easter break ski trip was also one of my fondest  memories with Cindy.  Fourteen of us girls left Lincoln during Easter break and went skiing at Breckenridge in Colorado. Some of us knew how to ski, and most of us didn’t. We all somehow learned to ski and had a great time.  We stayed seven girls to a room, never telling the hotel that we had more than 4 per room. Half of us had a great time each night, partying, playing cards with guys we’d met on the slopes that day.  The other half of the girls were grumpy and kept getting mad at the fun ones for staying out so late at night; without telling them where we were.  We quickly labeled our groups as the “partiers” and the “bitches.”  The last day we skied, it was warm and sunny, so we all took off our ski goggles and skied without them.  As a result, all 14 of us got serious sunburns on our faces.  The next day, we all drove back to Lincoln in 3 cars.  It was the longest 8 hour drive of our lives.  We were so miserable. Some of the girls’ faces swelled so much from  the sunburns,  that their eyes swelled shut. My nose was so sunburned that it felt cold to the touch.  I recall my nose peeled for days after that.  It was such a great adventure anyway.
     After we graduated,  I went away to Doane College in Crete, NE. I don’t recall if Cindy  went to college at first or not.  I remember her working at State Farm for at least a year.  I also recall her telling me that working there taught her that she really wanted more than that out of life and that she was ready to go to back school to learn.  That may have been when she went to nursing school.
     In the fall of my Junior year at Doane college, I remember Cindy coming with me to my  boyfriends’ rented farm house in Roca.  We went out riding on the gravel roads on his motorcycle, a small bike, maybe 125 hp(?).  His motorcycle wouldn’t start normally, you  had to run with it to get the engine going and then jump onto the seat once it started.  So Cindy and I took a little ride in the country near Roca on the gravel roads.  We were having a great time until coming down a hill, we spotted a telephone crew truck parked on the right side of the road at a left curve. Being a real neophyte on the motorcycle, l was not prepared to take the left curve with out using the whole road. I tried to negotiate the turn with less space and I lost control of the bike and we wiped out.  We fell down; I fell into the handle bars and Cindy fell onto the ground. I was pretty shocked, freaked out and embarrassed. The two workers saw us wipe out and asked if we needed any help. I couldn’t catch my breath as I’d had the wind knocked out of me. Embarrassment overruled lack of breath and we told them we were fine.  We struggled to pick up the bike and then we trudged it back up the hill until we got it to a flat road where we could start it. Even though I was in incredible pain and could barely breathe, Cindy didn’t know how to start the bike, so I had to rally. I was sure that I must have broken a rib or two. Once we made it to the top of the hill, I made a little run with the bike to get it started, we jumped on and rode back to the farm.
     Cindy immediately drove me to the hospital in Lincoln (Lincoln General) where I got x-rays taken of my chest.  Two young, handsome male doctors came and told us the results of the x-ray.  One said, “l have good news and bad news.  The good news is, that you have only bruised your ribs and the bad news is,” and he paused, “That for a while, you will only be able to have sex if you are on top.” The two young men were smirking away and I think Cindy and I tried to laugh about it too, although, I know it killed me to breathe, let alone laugh.  Later, I had to lie to my parents and tell them that I’d bruised my ribs from crashing on my 10-speed bicycle.  Our family had a rule about never being allowed on motorcycles (due to previous occurrences of family friend’s children being killed on them).
     Cindy was such a dear friend for so many years. I enjoyed visiting with her at my wedding and  I think she and Arlyn got married shortly after we did.  I visited her at the farm when we each had at least 2 children.  My oldest son, Isaac played with Jonathon.  Later, we kept in touch through Christmas cards and home schooling stories.  I also enjoyed the dinners we had with the girlfriends at Tico’s restaurant in Lincoln, whenever I came to town.  We’d drink and talk for hours; always the last ones to leave the restaurant.
     I lost a dear friend this year, one that was important to me in my life for many years. I am grateful for her friendship in it’s many forms.  I felt the need to chronicle our friendship and perhaps it will  help me let her go.     Susan  Wisniewski I0/15/02