Category Archives: Friends


IMG_8219.jpgFollow your dreams,
reach for the stars.
but never forget
where you came from.

– Audrea Harvey*

I wrote about renting “our” house in Loveladies, Long Beach Island, NJ,  two years ago. We rented this house for a family reunion and to celebrate my sister’s 60th birthday.

At that time I wrote about all my memories and the good times our family had here. (LESSON #57 – MEMORIES)

Here we are once again!  This time it is for a different reason. This time we are here to celebrate my 70th birthday.   OMG…REALLY?  How did I get here in ALMOST one piece?? Where did all those years go?  I know where.  I was in the business of living and growing up,  traveling, college, being married, raising two children, moving, watching my children be married and having children of their own.  I shouldn’t have blinked! Damn.

I can hardly believe I am at this juncture in my life.  Many of my family and many friends will be gathering here for my Birthday Party.  I am grateful I have these people in my life and I am grateful that we are celebrating in the very house where I turned 21 so many years ago.  How many?  OMG…49 years ago!  When I wasn’t looking!  So here we are ready or not.  Say hello to the ’70s!!  Like it or not I intend to make the most of my years ahead of me.

It was like yesterday.  I remember the details.  I remember it all.   My father handed me his gift.  It was a beautiful heart-shaped diamond pendant in white gold.  This gift was the most appreciated and such a special gift.  It even topped my very own Princess phone given to me at the age of 15!

A surprise party of fellow Long Beach Islanders driving to the house across the dunes with revved up engines, doing wheelies in the sand.  (It must have been cool???) At that time I had a small group of year-rounder friends that seemed to all stick together.  Islanders do that and still do I’ve been told.

I was a ‘single’ 21-year-old young woman.  I had fun and laughed a lot.  I was feeling no pain as I stood in the middle of the bar dancing to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”  Alcohol may have been involved!  Ouch!

Funny how more nostalgic we get the older we are.  I look out at Barnegat Bay now and remember looking out at the same Bay all those years ago.  I decided then that I loved the Bay more than the ocean and beach.  The Bay still relaxes me.

As we all begin to gather here I am reminded that I feel at home and it is appropriate that I spend my 70th birthday here.  I am a Jersey girl for sure!  I was born in NJ,  I went to High School in NJ and I spent many summers and years here on Long Beach Island.

When family and friends arrive, I will feel even more at home.  There will be no cars driving over the dunes!

I’ll try not to dance by myself in the middle of the room dancing to Zeppelin!!  Oh, who am I kidding?  It’s in the plan!!

Love, Leigh

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY CLASS AT CHHSW!  We are in this together!!


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IMG_7739.jpgAs I repot this Dieffenbachia plant, I find myself thinking about my Mother.

My Mother passed away in March of 1997.  She was ‘only’ 74.  Over 22 years ago.  I received a call in the morning on a Saturday.

I was in my office at the time when that call came in.  It was my sister telling me my Mother had had a stroke and she was in the hospital.  It didn’t look good.

Funny what we think about in times of crises.  The years passed before my eyes.  A few days before, my Mother had called me from Houston and I hadn’t picked up.  I decided I would call her in a few.  That conversation never took place.

As we all waited for our flight.  I found my way to the Airport chapel where I knelt and prayed to please not take my Mother before I reached her.  I needed to say goodbye and to tell her I loved her.  I knelt there for a long time.  Suddenly the Holy Spirit told me that she was gone.  I felt it in every inch of me.  A feeling of peace enveloped me as I accepted that this was as it should be.

My sister had had her palm read by a friend.  The palm reader had told her that someone very, very close to her would soon pass away suddenly and that this person was elderly and a woman. My sister wanted both of us to fly to Houston that weekend.  I declined thinking it was important that my sister spend one-on-one time with my Mother.  I did not believe that my Mother would pass that very weekend.  She did.

At our age, we all have been through the trauma of losing someone we love.  The older that I get the better I understand that we all handle loss in different ways.  There is no right and wrong answer to coping with the loss of our loved ones.

This particular plant I am repotting is a new offshoot of the plant I carried home with me from my Mother’s funeral service in Houston.  This plant is very special.  It is a living, thriving memory of all my Mother represented to me.  It has given joy to me for all these years and as it grew, it gave joy to my sister, to my daughter and circled back to me when the Mother plant decided it was time to give no more.  Yet, here was another new plant spreading its leaves to the filtered sun.  It still brings me happiness.

I’m still unsure why and how the Airline let me carry this plant onto the plane. Perhaps, they saw the pain in my eyes. I just don’t remember flying home since I was walking in a fog with so much sadness that I couldn’t feel anything more.

Why had I decided not to go to Houston?  Why did I not pick up that phone that evening?  Why couldn’t I have told my Mother I loved her one last time before she had died?

So many whys and so many questions.  I know now not to take life for granted.  We all face our medical problems as we get older and if I have learned nothing else, I know to tell family and friends that I love them without hesitation.  If by chance God calls me home unexpectedly the people I love will take away the memory that I loved with all my heart.

Love, Leigh



































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