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My First Friend, Ever

September 11, 2010

Before I begin today’s entry, I want to give a special Memorial shout-out to Tom Burnett, Jr., fellow Jaguar, who lost his life in 9/11/01 on Flight 93. I didn’t know Tom back in the high school days. But I have met his family since and am not surprised by his calm heroism.


I woke up at 7:30 this morning and just knew I wanted to drive down to Zumbrota, town of my childhood, childhood town of my dad and paternal grandparents. Well, not their childhood town because Grandpa emigrated from Norway when he was 18 and Grandma came from another small town.

Zumbrota’s got this great art center in the old Carnegie Library and I’d wanted to show it to CiNDy when we drove through there this spring, but it was closed because we drove through on a Sunday. But here it was, Saturday, and I had this hankering to go down and make CiNDy go with me. I waited until later in the morning to give her a call and was glad the she wasn’t already running around the Twin Cities, and willing to go on a ride with me.

After a potty break in the new Zumbrota McDonald’s (afterall, we’d been in the car a whopping hour and ten minutes) we stopped next door at the Memory Maker antique store. I almost bought myself a John & Jackie Kennedy commemorative plate but didn’t really know where I’d put it so opted out. Cindy found an old Frozen Food manual that her aunt had written. Not the one that this links to, but this is what her aunt used to do for a living. Cool, huh? Pun intended. I travel with the famous people, let me tell you. Cindy never told me about this famous food freezing aunt until recently. I think she withheld this information for almost 30 years because she wanted to know that our friendship was because she was interesting, not because she was related to the queen of freezing.

Our friendship is from here on out based on the fame of her aunt. Not her relationship to the Sees candy people, Hostess Twinkies  or the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

We drove into Zumbrota and went to Crossings Art Center at the old Carnegie Library (the library of my youth, the library who’s entire contents were read by my Uncle Kenneth). We didn’t know it at the time, but Zumbrota was having an Arts Fair today. There were two of the artist’s showing their paintings.

Cindy and I wandered through the art center, both buying cotton scarves; then headed out and back downtown. CiNDy went into a gift shop but I spied a store across the street called Busby’s Furniture/Busby’s Hardware Store. (How do businesses survive these days, without a website?) I thought, hmm, I wonder if this the Busbys who lived behind us. So I told CiNDy I’d meet her later, I wanted to see if this was my Busbys.

It was not. But it was a first cousin of my Busbys. Our conversation lead to this Busby asking me when I graduated (a polite way to ask my age) and when I told him 1977, he told me that I might know Lauri Rockne, who was having her art shown at the old library.

And it dawned on me. I’d just seen Lauri at Crossings. We’d nodded and said hello a few times. Held eye contact a few times. I figured it was because of my bald head. It does that to people. They want to be kind and say hello.

“Does Lauri have long, curly, grey hair now?” I asked.

“I think so,” he said.

I went back outside and told CiNDy that we had to run back to the library.

Once inside I made a beeline for Lauri and stood there while she talked to some guy who was definitely not as important as me, so I just stood and stared at her. She said, “Let me move out of your way,” assuming I was trying to get her to move so I could get to the snack table they’d provided.

“I think you might know me,” I said, “I’m Kathy Juveli.”

And then the hugging began.

Lauri Rockne is my first friend, ever. Since I first began to have friends.

Lauri’s beautiful work

People. How awesome was this? We had, out of the blue, walked into the public reception at an art center and one of them was my first friend, ever?

Later on CiNDy would laugh at how I’m always surprised when this kind of stuff happens to me. It happens to me too often for it to be an accident. I don’t know why I get surprised at my small world run-ins. Maybe because if I expect it, it will no longer happen? It’s kind of cool on one hand and kind of freaky on the other hand. This run-in, while really cool, also made me very sad about my childhood days in my dad’s childhood town. A dad that I adored and miss every day.

I knew it was not a good time to play catch-up with Lauri so I got her information and will meet her for lunch in the new few weeks. She lives in St. Paul now but will eventually be moving back to Zumbrota, living in her childhood home that my grandfather and dad built.

How cool is that?

How awesome was this day?

CiNDy and I had lunch downtown and then headed out to Red Wing. But after Zumbrota, Red Wing was definitely a let down. We stopped by my Aunt’s house because I haven’t seen her since before my cancer and I wanted to show her how well I was doing, but she wasn’t home. Which is good for Aunt Myrna, because when I feel a desire to visit someone I haven’t seen in awhile, they die soon after.

Which has happened to me once. But still. Aunt Myrna owes me a thank you for not making me die.

We shopped a little, dropping it at my Uncle’s old store – now turned purse store (hurray!)  then headed home.

By the way, I got pulled over by a police officer because I was “going 78” in a 55 mph zone. Oops. Funny thing, though, when his lights came on and I pulled over, I didn’t get that sinking feeling that one gets when one is pulled over (a feeling I haven’t had since I was last pulled over in 1987 but assume I might still get it). I think I knew he was going to take one look at my bald head and let me go.

Which he did.

Go slow-growing hair! I’m going to speed until the chemo look turns into the lesbian look.

Hey, CiNDy! I called my mom to tell her that Lauri’s dad was not dead. “I knew that,” she said. So I’m beginning to wonder which one of us going senile after-all.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2010 8:26 pm

    The frozen food lady reminded me of an old gentlemen I knew…when I was in high school. He was a retired chemist from General Foods who now worked part time in the library, just as something to do.

    He was the one who invented sugarless Jell-O, a remarkable product some sixty or so years ago. As was the practice, all discoveries and inventions by individuals were the property of the company; the individuals were supposed to sign a bill of sale for $1. “I didn’t mind turning it over to the company,” he said, “but they never gave me my dollar!”

    The world is full of interesting people…

  2. September 11, 2010 8:32 pm

    That is an amazing story! How totally wonderful! Things are falling back into place for you in so many ways. Huzzah!

  3. Gretchen permalink
    September 12, 2010 9:31 am

    I just love hearing you mention all the southern (sort of) Minnesota towns. I grew up in extreme northeast Iowa and I think half my relatives must have lived in SE Minnesota and somebody was always talking about those towns. Gives me a nice, homey feeling for some reason. I probably need therapy.

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