A high school classmate passed away this week. Becky. A friend noticed the obituary and sent it to a group of us via email.
We're not sure how she died - I suspect it had something to do with her heart since donations to Go Red for Women were suggested.
She was living in Italy. Rumor had it that she had met and married a count while on a trip there years ago. For once, rumor actually reflected real life, except, according to her obituary, she met him on a trip to Greece, and relocated to Italy, where she "transformed a faded, tired country house into a magnificent, lively villa. Her gardens flourished and she had a magic touch with flowers. Her meals were legendary, especially her lasagnas and cheesecakes. Although her home was filled with antiquities, it was her own artwork and personal touch that made the home colorful, happy, and welcoming. She had the gift of healing people with her humor, kindness and endless generosity."
Humor, kindness and endless generosity. Yes, that sounds like Becky. I remember in 6th grade I got upset with her because she would do what other girls told her to do, for example, return their empty lunchtrays up to the window. I hated that they seemed to be using her and felt she should stand up for herself. She just shrugged, smiled, and took the trays.
Humor is what I remember most about Becky, though. Oh my gosh, she could make me laugh till I had tears in my eyes! At one slumber party, she had us all rolling on the floor with her impersonation of Johnny Cash - only she was "Johnny Trash", strumming an air guitar, making up lyrics as she went.
Maybe it was a real guitar. I wouldn't be surprised. She was so talented.
Besides Johnny Trash, she had another nickname for herself: Boosam (pronounced Boo-Sam)...sometimes "Becky Boosam" or "Henry Boosam" (Henry started out as the name of a ladybug she drew.) She had a ventriloquist doll named Edwin (who really creeped me out) and at one point she had a dead fly in a coffee can named Charlie.
Her "pet" fly.
In her living room, above a piano, hung an old mirror with an age spot in one corner. She swore the spot moved around on the mirror, and that a ghost-girl sometimes appeared to her who claimed to live in the spot.
Yes, Becky was one-of-a-kind. And sometimes her imagination was a little much for me, even though I had a pretty good imagination of my own! But we had lots of fun, riding our bikes around the neighborhood, listening to albums in her garage (she introduced me to Emerson, Lake and Palmer) and making Barbie furniture from cardboard that we intended to sale, but never got around to. She was one of the group who sat terrified with me on the front row of a theater watching the "Dark Shadows" movie.
When I first heard the news of her passing, my mind went to the notes she wrote me way back then...silly, silly notes with funny drawings...just my kind of humor. I read them so many times I had them memorized.
It took me a few minutes, but I dug around in my closet and bedroom until I found the scrapbook that held them, safe and secure with yellowed tape, along with other pieces of my life I'd forgotten about...report cards, birthday cards, invitations to parties I don't remember, newspaper clippings, letters...even a "divorce decree" from a boy named Jarrell Wilson, complete with "attorney" and "witness" signatures. I have no memory of that, whatsoever!
But I do remember Becky. Looking through that scrapbook I realized many of my most vivid memories of those years are of Becky. We drifted apart by high school, but I kept hoping she'd come back for one of our reunions so I could remind her of these notes that still make me laugh, and tell her thank you.
Now it's too late for that... but what I can do, and what I plan on doing, is tuck them inside a card and send them to her parents...reminders and keepsakes of their special daughter.
Rest in peace, Becky Boosam.