I've had a few, but the one I'm thinking of knocked my socks off and I wanted to share it with you. I was about to attend my first RWA Convention and to top it off I was going with my "Big Sister" Marlene Urso. Many of you may know her.
Her eldest daughter, Kellie, had been fighting cancer; we were 3 days from leaving for Colorado when Kellie past away. Kellie was more than just an adopted niece, she was VERY special to everyone who knew her. One of the things Kellie said to her Mama before she left us, was to make her Mama promise to go to National, no matter what.
You tell your children what they need to hear...so she said sure. Kellie, knowing her mama the way she did, said "If you don't going I'm going to haunt you."
Now, knowing Marlene as I do, I can just see her face, smiling and nodding for her daughter's sake, knowing no way was she going anywhere as long as her daughter might need her. Needless to say, Marlene stayed home and took care of business. I went to Colorado. My heart so wanted to be home with Marlene, but she wanted me to go...it was the hardest trip I've ever made.
The following year, RWA convention was in New York City, how cool is that, and yes, Marlene and I were there, together, and so was Kellie. Marlene, Anna Stewart, and I were roommates. Anna had promised to give Marlene lessons in shopping; who knew a woman needed lessons on this topic! We checked in, and decided to look for food. Yes, we love to eat. We found a great sandwich shop across the street from our hotel and had a fabulous New York Pastrami "Sammich"...and then went shopping. Let's just say Anna taught Marlene very well, in fact, we had trouble keeping up with her.
While in New York, we planned to go to Ellis Island, Central Park and a few other places. We'd had a couple of great days when we made our plans for our trip to Ellis Island. It was a slightly overcast day which I was happy for. I wasn't looking forward to the outrageous heat I'd heard so much about. We had a terrific boat ride over, and being typical tourists I had to get a picture of both Marlene and Anna with the Statue of Liberty in the background. It just seemed the thing to do.
So I position Marlene and Anna, look through my viewfinder, when Marlene turns her head sharply and says, "Kellie's here." I can't tell you how that sentence affected us. I suddenly had goosebumps from the expression on Marlene's face alone...she'd turn her nose up into air and said, I smell her.
I thought Anna was going to pass out, right then and there. I was fighting back tears, but determined to keep them at bay for Marlene's sake. I got my picture, and yes, thanks to progress it was a digital picture so naturally I had to look at it. What I saw just about sent the three of us to the emergency ward. Here you decide for yourself.
We just looked at each other, looked around, looked back at each other and did a collective shiver. While we loved out trip to Ellis Island, I remember being silent after that and constantly looking over my shoulder. Marlene on the other hand, grinned like a proud Mama the rest of the day, glad Kellie came to visit.
That day, that picture, still does something to me every time I see it. Not only was that a fantastic trip, great sights, fabulous conference, endless new friends, hey, and I almost got us kicked out of Hooter's for taking pictures. Hey, I have sons. what can I say. And who'd of thought you'd ever find a sign like this?
Post by Deb Julienne
Posted by Beth Trissel | 12:48 PM | Life Experience, RWA National Conference. Deb Julienne, touching non-fiction | 12 comments »