A Letter From Larene

You have always been a second mom to me.  Your daughter Renee’ came into my life in Jr. high.  We became fast friends, two kindred spirits attracted to each other because of our similar backgrounds.  Both raised by our grandparents and are from big extended families (my mom is oldest daughter of seven and all our relatives are back in Ohio).  Both of us came to Berkeley to live with our single moms as pre-teens.  I’d come over and you’d be in your room, our giddiness would force you to come out and see what all the laughter and noise was about.   I’d sit at the piano and attempt to play chopsticks and you’d come and play the main verse and show me the scales.  This eventually turned into a mini lesson periodically when I would come over.
Although I don’t bake, I appreciated you teaching us how to bake from scratch.  No Bisquick boxes at Gracie’s!  To this day when I make waffles and the occasional German pancake from scratch, I think of you.  
As we grew older, you would always ask how things were going for me in college.  When I told you about an internship I landed, you had me come over to pick out a few suits for my new job.  That was my introduction to the power suit and classic style.  You gave me a few classic pieces that I treasured well into my adulthood.  
When Courtney was born, I came to stay with you and care for Courtney while Renee’ continued her recovery at the hospital.  That was my first experience with a newborn, and you allayed my fears and gave me the confidence that I could be of help.  
As we matured into adulthood, all of us women would gather at your home to discuss women things- careers, life, relationships.  I treasured those times.  You always had innovative ideas, was incredibly tech savvy and ahead of your time. I remember a conversation when you said there should be baby wipes for adults.  You said they should in small packages that you can put in your purse like a pack of Kleenex.  Fast forward more than ten years later, toilet paper wipes were introduced!   
Gracie, you will always have a special place in my heart.  I thank you for my friendship that is now a true sisterhood with your daughter, Renee’. I will always cherish our conversations and your encouragement.  I am forever grateful that you were such an integral part of my life.  I will always love you Gracie!

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