I went to the same school for 10 years. Grades 1-10. It was a terrific school and I am thankful for the education that I received there. My Dad worked at the school and in the summer after the 10th grade, I decided that it was time for me to experience a different environment...public school.
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first week of school. I was in chorus class and in walked this short little firecracker, Sabrina Gean. While she was only a sophomore, she owned the school. I loved her immediately. She decided that my "sweet sheltered wallflower act" would just not do. A lifelong friendship was born.
SG, as I call her (still), took me home one day to meet her Mom, Helene. Helene was french and loud and outspoken and hilarious. She tanned EVERY DAY, skin cancer be damned! She was the spitting image of Sabrina only a few inches shorter, if that was even possible.
But most importantly, Helene insisted that I call her Helene. Helene! I mean, I'm 16 years old, she wants me to call her by her FIRST name? I felt so cool and so grown up!
Helene and SG immediately joined our family. They were invited to every family celebration that we ever had from that point forward. Every graduation, every mother's day, every birthday party...not just mine, EVERY PARTY.
She was very fervent in her practice of the catholic faith. She and my father loved to discuss various points of which they firmly agreed on all. My dad dubbed her St. Helene of Gean.
One of my fondest memories of her was when France won the World Cup. She stood on her porch, waived her french flag and shouted, "Vive la France!! Vive la France!!" I heard her screaming as I rounded the street.
Helene was diagnosed with mylodysplasia a few years ago. In keeping with her strong personality, she fought hard. God took a new saint today, St. Helene of Gean. I know she will be watching over us and her beloved France.