In Memoriam Joyce Turner

I had a post all ready to go, about the chipmunk eating my tomatoes; but chipmunks, squirrels, and tomatoes don’t matter much this morning. My dear friend of many years, Joyce Turner, died yesterday.

She’d had health problems for some time, so though I hoped she was getting better, I can’t really say the news was a shock. But it’s always a shock, isn’t it? Are we ever prepared for this? The permanent removal from this world, from our lives, of someone who has been a reliable and expected part of them?

We were young together, and so in my mind we both still are. We ended up living far apart, but any time we met or spoke it was as though no time had passed. A few years ago when she proposed Doug and I go with her and Ed on an Alaska cruise, her grown son laughed – all you ever do, he said, is sit and talk. Why bother with the cruise? Just sit in each other’s living rooms. He was right, but the cruise was wonderful, I’m very glad we went, and I would never have done it if not for Joyce’s enthusiasm.

Joyce was a Special Education teacher, and possessed by the boatload patience, enthusiasm, and optimism, big hearted for her students as for her friends, and fierce in the face of any threat to them. Once when she saw the then-governor of New Jersey at dinner in a restaurant, she marched right up and chewed him out for his lack of support for public schools and teachers. Though she loved animals, I’m sure if I’d gotten her out to my garden, the chipmunks would not have stood a chance.

Rest easy, Joyce. I don’t think I believe yet that you’re gone.


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