I’ve been putting this off. As prepared and accepting as one can be regarding the death of a loved one, I suppose we are never really ready. We lost one of the great ones on October 25, 2012.
Faye Peterson wore many hats- literally and figuratively. She was my best friend’s mom. She was my mom’s best friend. She was my friend and 2nd mother. She was the press release office spokesperson for FDA. She owned horses. She loved her dogs. She always had a cool car, and was never afraid to press the pedal to the metal. She was an amazing linguist and loved to pick apart the English language- which was very entertaining to those with half a brain. She was a great listener and she always told you the truth, however hard it was to hear. She told you out of love. She listened out of love. She was generous and helpful. She had big red hats, sleek Indiana Jones style hats, and everything in between. Sometimes, underneath those hats, she had purple hair. She is the first white lady I ever knew who got extensions. It looked great. She was beyond stylish, even if she was just hanging out in the kitchen, smoking Virginia Slims and having a drink.
When I think of Wayout Mamas in my own life, Faye is at the top of my list.
We met Faye when her son, Chris, got off at my bus stop because he didn’t want to go back to his day care. Someone there had been mean to him, and is little 4 and 1/2 year old self decided to hop off at my stop. Such nerve! We tracked down Chris’ mom and she came to get him at our house. Since Chris was so against going back to daycare, my mom offered that he could just come home to our house after school. So we started watching him then- which was great for me, because we lived in a neighborhood where our youngest neighbor was around 50, save one other boy who was my brother’s age. Chris and I became fast friends. We watched him every day after school until they moved out to Fulton when Chris was starting 2nd grade. Even then, he still spent every day during our summers until we were 16. Chris and I were embroiled into each other’s lives. His parents became mine and vice-versa. We were together as much as we could be- taking all of our family vacations together and playing in bands together from small kids well into our 20’s. I will be thankful for the choice Chris made at such a young age- to choose my stop to escape his daycare. It sparked one of the best friendships between families that we have experienced.
Growing up, Faye was always so cool. Not like the other moms. She didn’t baby us. She spoke to us like adults, never dumbing down her excellent vocabulary for us. This is something both she and my mom did. If we didn’t understand something, “Look it up!” Chris and I were left with a better than average grasp of the English language, being surrounded by all these smart ladies. By the time I was a teenager, Faye and I were more like good friends than anything. From then until recent years, we’d sit and talk in her kitchen, or by phone. Either way, they were mostly marathon sessions. We’d talk about everything- music, books, tv shows, football, family, friends, relationships- you name it, we talked about it. Like I mentioned before, we would often list out all the irritating grammar mistakes people made on a regular basis. Extra points if you caught a news anchor or newspaper reporter making one of these mistakes. One of my favorites of her “most irritating” list was “for all intensive purposes”- “It’s ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES! Stupid people!” she’d rant. It was hilarious. We shared many many laughs based on simple observation of many stupid, stupid people.
So many years, so many happenings. Countless amazing memories. Sadly, when Chris passed away in 2007, Faye was probably never the same. I’m sure it was the hardest thing ever to go through, and just 5 years later, she has joined him, along with a countless menagerie of beloved animals who’ve gone on before. I know our lives will never be the same without Faye and Chris. They were family to us for so long. They still are, I know- but no words will truly be able to express the loss that I feel not having them directly in our lives.
Thank you, Faye- for always being there. Thank you for “all the beautiful things”… I wear at least one of the beautiful pieces of jewelry you have given me over the years every day. The canvas painting of all the pretty horses you gave me hangs above Patrick’s changing table and he looks at it every day. I will always tell him where it came from, and tell him all about you as he gets older. I’m so glad you got to meet him. I was so lucky to have you in my life for as long as I did. You were a tremendous friend and will not be forgotten.
And finally, here’s a song that always makes me think of you. Thank you for sharing it with me.