Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 1999

ANNA MONICA / L’Observateur / September 8, 1999

It was a Sunday afternoon. A light wind bent the tree limbs and the setting sun was just a glimmer of its once brilliant self. An abundance of birds circled above while the water in my pond made a rhythmic sound flowing through the little fountain. GoldfiOsborne, had just died.

Life has truly blessed me with wonderful, lifelong friends. I have others, but for 38 years I have had Lynn, Helga, Joycelyn, Eleanor and Jerry. We have always been very involved in each other’s lives. Eleanor and Jerry were especially close to me, and fowere my homes away from home. Their husbands and children also embraced me as a friend and their entire families accepted me as my family accepted them. They loved me – just the way I loved them. I still do, because until Sunday, they occupied a large parJerry succumbed to cancer on Sunday. Her late husband was also named Gerry, so for over 25 years, to me he was “Mr. O.” and she, “Mrs. O.” Sometimes I called her, Jeroline. It became a permanent habit. If I called her anything else, she thought I was angrI first met Jerry on the job in 1961. Our friendship of caring and sharing blossomed throughout the years. She retired long before I did, but we always found time for each other. On New Year’s Day, she would be the first to call with good wishes. Birthdaythoughtful were part of her usual habits, no just for me, but for the abundance of friends she developed and nurtured over the years.

Jerry’s three children, Tom, Pat and Teri Ann Gordy, grew up with me always in their home and became adults who made her proud, as did her large step-family, Mike, Jerry, Rick and Steve Osborne. She never made any distinction between them. I was privilegechildren, their ups and their downs. Jerry did a good job in keeping together her family and friends. They were so important to her. She was filled with energy, enthusiasm and a total zest for life. So organized was she that the calendars she kept each yeIn earlier years Jerry would join her husband on a business trip and I moved into her home as “house mother.” My friends were always welcome there, too, for dinner or for a visit. Sometimes it was like a circus, with some friends coming in while others weThere are no words to describe what Jerry was to me. She, Joycelyn, and I sometimes did things as a trio and Joycelyn would refer to each as a one-third. Now we have a missing piece and, obviously, we will never be a whole again.It was impossible not to not love Jerry, even when she was giving us orders. It was her way. No nonsense and no deceit. She was very real and very physically beautiful throughout the years.I cannot think of the fine, unique lady of courage as she lay passing away from us. Instead, I remember the stimulated working woman who had to try on all of her new outfits at home for me, complete with shoes and purse, so I could pass approval, or the mwe rushed to Canal Street to get her ears pierced. She talked non-stop and made fingernail marks in my arm because she was so nervous.Mostly, I remember that I can never forget my friend. Goodbyes of any kind have always been difficult for me. But I have no choice. Dying is part of having lived, I know. Some are going out, others are coming in. Jerry’syoungest grandchild is 4 months old. My family has said goodbye to cousin Sal and friends Polly and Jerry in the past two weeks. We are grateful to have had them. We wish we still did.This is difficult, but I had to tell you about my friend. This goodbye is for the rest of my life, and there is an emptiness. She meant so much to me.

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