Me as a Friend

I’ve lost track of a number of people over the years – at first because I was a child growing up in an Air Force family, attending numerous schools, and not really understanding the importance of connections. When I became an adult, people moved through my life, and I had varying reactions to their appearance and/or disappearance.

But there have been two people I’m feeling sad about this morning. After my first few Biscuit McKee Mysteries were published, I met Melinda Cowan at a meeting of the Southeastern Independent Booksellers Association. Melinda and her husband owned Cowan’s Book Nook in Ellijay, Georgia, and she eventually invited me to drive up to the North Georgia mountains to sign books at her store.

We developed a delightful friendship. The Book Nook was such a wonderful place. Melinda and her staff were knowledgable about all the books they carried, and they hosted my book launches and signings–I did a lot of signings there–with grace and verve.  When they opened a second store in Blue Ridge I added that one to my list of favorite places to sign books.

I felt devastated when I found out that they had to close the Ellijay store and, not too long thereafter, the one in Blue Ridge as well. Melinda’s email address was through the store’s website. My emails to her bounced back as undeliverable. Her phone was the store’s phone number; she was unreachable.

The second friend I lost contact with was Patricia Schaefer, an educator with the Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services. Again, her email and phone were through the department. Although we’d had a great working relationship throughout the time I volunteered at GCFES, once she took another job, those both became unusable. Patti and her family attended Gwinnett Choral Guild concerts when I sang in them; we laughed together; we were on a hugging basis. And then she was gone.

Now, I understand that people’s work info changes. I get that. But what I don’t understand is why, with all the ways to contact me, they’ve dropped completely out of my life. They both had my home email address. They both could send me a Facebook message through my author page. They both had my phone number.

And I’ve gotten to wondering What does this say about me as a friend? What message does it give me about the value of my friendship?

Have you ever lost someone like this? Do you even know why?

6 Replies to “Me as a Friend”

  1. Fran, no one could ask for a better friend than you! What this says is those people simply had ‘so much on their plate’ and their lives took a sudden turn, they probably lost track of time and you. You can’t take that personally at all. It’s like my ex-fiancé in South Africa. We’ve gone literally years without ‘speaking’ i.e. snail mail, email, etc. And then suddenly a couple of weeks ago there it was: an email from Vic! Seems he had started a new business, was traveling a lot and had just slowed down to ‘say hello’. You are a blessing to so many of us, and if you don’t hear from me for a while, you have to know it’s not you …. it’s me and my wacky family!! Give yourself a warm hug from so many of us that love you so much. And you never know … one day soon those friends you mentioned will be on your doorstep for tea!

  2. Thanks so much for your warm thoughts, Petie. You were definitely NOT on the list of people I’ve lost track of. I know without a doubt I have the loving support of you, Bill, Billy, and Katie, regardless of how often (or how seldom!) we email each other. Here are some hugs right back at you ()()()()

  3. Hi Fran, It’s easy to loose contact with folks. Life happens and we get bogged down in our own circumstances and situations that kind of blur the lines of friends, family and things of that nature. Today, I thought about you and did a web search and was wondering how you and writing were doing. Looks like you are doing well. Very glad to see you have landed a major publisher, you deserve it! Still have your books and would like to finish the Bisquit McKee series. Right now still struggling through my own circumstances and hopefully things will work out where writing and art becomes more of a focus than circumstances. Thanks again for your friendship, even though I kind of fell through the cracks. Blue Skies my friend.– Steven

  4. Thanks for your comment, Steven. I’m looking forward to having more contact with you via the AliceTown project. The next Biscuit McKee book (RED AS KETCHUP is the working title for now) will be out next year (2016). In the meantime, the ScotShop series is keeping me busy. Right now I’m working on the line edits for the second book (to be released 1/5/16). I’m so far behind on all the social media stuff — am I totally hopeless???? On the other hand, maybe for now, writing two series at the same time is enough.

    Take care, my friend. I’ll keep holding the thought of shifting your “circumstances” into the best kind of opportunities.

  5. Hi Fran, I have lost friends like that along the way in life. I can’t say anything you don’t already know I’m sure. The universe puts people in our lives when needed, removes them when not, sometimes that’s a good thing sometimes not so much. One of my yoga students gave me a copy of Orange as Marmalade I really just wanted to thank you for a wonderful story. As a potter I loved the names, if I had a son he could have been named Clay. Again thank you I look forward to reading more of your books. Keep breathing.

  6. Clay? Great name! Thanks for contacting me, Stephanie.

    I’m not a potter, but I did go to a pottery studio for a tour (I try to research my books thoroughly), and I even had a chance to try out a potter’s wheel. My gosh! I have so much respect now for people who do that well. My little pot turned out looking more like a lopsided gravy boat. < >

    I hope you’ll eventually read through the whole Biscuit McKee sequence. I’m working on book #8 now. If you have a trade paperback (5×9) print book, the stripe at the top of the book gives the color of the next book in the series.

    Again, it was a joy to hear from you.

    p.s. My other series, the Scot Shop mysteries, features a young woman who practices yoga…