My best friend's mom died yesterday morning. I'm a long way from Houston right now. I'm a long way from my best friend. She understands. Of course she would. I may send a proxy - a close girlfriend lives in Houston, I may see if she can go stand next to Carolyn for me. Or just be there. Carolyn will be fine. It will be a hard week, but she is strong, she can handle this. I know she can, because let me tell you about her mom.
I met "Mom Frusco" my junior year in college. I showed up over Christmas break at their house. I was raised in a WASPy family. Always loved, but family dinners never involved alcohol or singing. When Uncle Larry broke out into song, I'm not sure I knew what do. She knew I would be fine, I probably just joined in.
I was immediately welcomed in, and later was told I could stay. So, I stayed.
She taught me to love Pasta Fagioli. Although, for years, she said I wouldn't be able to cook it, because it would "take hours and hours". I did finally get the recipe. It doesn't taste as good as hers, but I always knew it never would. Carolyn and I would wake up in the middle of night and go to raid the kitchen - we ate plenty of Pasta Figioli in the middle of the night.
She was always there to listen. Give advice. (We now refer to that advice as WWFD - What Would Fran Do). It was fun to help her in the kitchen. Or just hang out on the bar stools with. Or watch movies in the TV room - as we would sometimes have movie marathons and she would join us to laugh and cry. Maybe that's why I like to join the kids when they are all hanging out. Or talk about books. She loved to read.
Things I remember, that won't make any sense to anyone but Carolyn:
- Sometimes you need to just get in the closet
- Find yourself a "nerd" (and this could be a dork, but I'm thinking it was a nerd) They rule the world.
- Writing "hi mom" on the memo section of the checks Carolyn would write as she would balance her account.
- I think you two were a little "tipsy" - okay, tipsy is not the word she used. I will think of it in the middle of the night.
- "A pitcher" is the usual???"
- Coming to see us at college
- Easter baskets - where you don't use a basket. You use shorts, or something else. A tradition I carried on with my sons.
- Hearing stories of her teen years. While driving barefoot and using her forged birth certificate as a fake id on the Jersey Shore.
- Shopping at Sam's club for "spring break supplies" or for the New Year's Eve parties we through at the house.
- Laying on the bed and telling her our grand idea of Carolyn having the girls, me having the boys and deciding that one of them could marry the other. Her replying "And that would be the end of a beautiful friendship". (ironically, Carolyn has the girls, I have the boys)
- Teaching us that the song "YMCA" actually has a movie!
- Her singing "Achy Breaky Heart" on the karaoke machine when we had a pool party after college.
- Her losing weight and us all sharing clothes for a time.
- Love her referring to changing her hair color as "Visine ing" her hair - as in "getting the red out".
- She was the expert "tooth puller" and Duncan remembers her pulling one of his teeth
She was at my college graduation. My wedding. I think she actually knew before anyone I was pregnant with Duncan - she and Dad Frusco were in California visiting and we were all out to dinner. I didn't like my wine. I didn't figure it out, but I think she did. She was on the phone with me at the hospital when I was in labor with Duncan, as Carolyn was in Mexico. The first flowers to arrive at the hospital were from her.
She had a stroke 15 years ago. And while, she was still "Mom Frusco" she became a different "Mom Frusco".
Twenty-five years is a long time to know someone. I could go on and on with stories.
They told us she went in her sleep. We'd like to think she went telling someone what to do and God finally said, "That's enough Frances, come home".
I'm missing the services. I'm missing being there for her daughter. And I will always miss her.
Rest in Peace Mom.