I wonder who my next next-door neighbor will be...
In a sense, my new next-door neighbor will be living in Betty's apartment, because there will always be a part of Betty left behind at Gillespie Tower, even if she ends up living Down Under in Australia.
Yesterday (April 20, 2015) was her going-away party (along with a celebration of April birthdays in our seven-story neighborhood), almost all of it her treat with several of us also helping her out with it in one way or another.
We had a wonderful turn-out, and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.
You've seen some movies and TV shows when that time when the end credits rolled included exhibits of boo-boos and rough spots.
We had some of those behind-the-scenes sort of things going on with us.
One of the people who was providing some of the decorations and parts of one of the games ended up being a no-show -- but it really wasn't her fault, because she ended up needing to go to the hospital. We were able to tweak the game (a door-prize raffle) and do it well, and some of the decorations that she had ready to hang but were in her apartment or somewhere where they couldn't be reached.
However, the decorations at people-level (the ones that the involuntary no-show had were balloons and streamers to hang from the ceiling) were all there: things such as tablecloths with glitter and candy strewn along them. None of the food was missing, either. We had more than enough. As for the balloons and streamers, Betty will, likely, be using them to help decorate when her youngest granddaughter, Lizzie, turns nine years old on May 12!
On top of health problems keeping that volunteer away, she wasn't even able to enjoy some of what was left of the refreshments when she returned home, as she had been put on a liquid diet.
Betty was also thinking that the white of the decorating icing would be a different shade of white from the frosting icing and that the lettering she'd put on one of the two cakes that she'd had baked and frosted by somebody else where she would just be responsible for decorating them. Anyway, her message was almost invisible against its background with the exception of the purple lettering and other decorations.
I asked her if she had any white icing left, and she said that she did, so what we did was to smooth out the surface of said cake so that the purple and white would blend together in a nice shade of lavender. Then, I applied some more confetti sprinkles, after which I wrote a simple "Bye-Bye Betty" on it and used the rest of the white to make nice designs consisting of squiggles, hearts, and a smiley-face at the top.
Betty was also sick over the weekend and still wasn't quite well during the party. However, very few people who didn't already know that she was sick would realize how sick she still was. In fact, once the party was over and everything was picked up and packed away, Betty wanted nothing more than to head for bed.
Even feeling really punk, she was a very gracious and fun hostess. That's just Betty for you!!!
She had a beautiful cardboard for all of her guests to sign. I wrote on it that I had no idea that, when I bought some much-needed Scotch Tape from her shortly after moving in (she would have, more than likely, given it to me free, but I wasn't about to let that happen -- even though I accepted several wonderful gifts from her in the months to come), that the two of us would end up becoming "adopted" sisters forever!
You will be getting to know Betty better when I write more about her in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. I'm not sure when I'll be writing in here next, but, likely, it will be after she's gone and either while I'm next in Anderson or else when I return from Anderson to Muncie again.
That means that I'll, likely, not be writing anything else until at least May 4. Then, I'll be writing about the days to come.
When I have more time to do so, I'll be writing about what it was like having Betty for a neighbor as well as keeping up with her life in the Southeast.
I wonder what will happen to her plastic bag angel (will explain that in a future writing) after she leaves. We both believe it might take off and fly away on May 1. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it lands in another tree -- this time, in Suffolk, Virginia -- to keep her company.
However, by then, she will be living with her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, so only God knows whether the angel will go there to be with all of them; if it will stay here for at least awhile longer; or if it just might go to find a place where Lover-Boy (what I call her husband, Charles) will see it.
Even though Betty and Charles do better with their own places, they still visited each other nearly every day, and, with hundreds of miles between them, this is a part of their lives that will be coming to an end, even though they'll, likely, still be on the phone to each other a couple of times a day.
I made up the invitations to Betty's party. At the top of them, I put this one baby picture of her that really melts my heart. Even at eighteen months, she looked so much like she does today at 58 -- that same determined expression of an empowered survivor and a very special angel in a human body.
The picture had been creased at some time, and the creasing made a couple of white lines that formed a cross. Betty hadn't noticed this until I pointed it out to her, but she thought it was really neat.
God has created Betty for a very special and empowering mission of bringing courage and hope to people and helping them to see Jesus more clearly. He's used her in a mighty way already, and He's far from finished with her!!!
Like Glen Campbell, Betty has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's. She sees signs of it in herself already, but I'm amazed at how little it shows. Had she not told me, I never would have guessed it. In a lot of ways, Betty's more organized than I've ever been.
I'd like to close this entry by dedicating a song to her that describes what kind of a person she is when it comes to making the world a better place. It's an oldie but a goodie by someone who is, in his own place-in-life, taking this challenging journey with her...