That’s One Amazing Friend!

Hello, Patrons of Positivo!

I woke up this morning about 1:15 am thinking about a very special person in my life. This post is a bit longer about my friend, June, who is past the age of 85 now, so I hope you will bare with me as I share how I first met this amazing lady. It was back in the mid 90’s and my third marriage had suddenly ended and I had just moved back to Arizona from California. I needed a job badly so I telephoned a friend at work and told her I’d like to work for the Maricopa Community Colleges where she worked. She immediately told me it wasn’t possible because there was a hiring freeze at the time. It’s funny how when you’re desperate you just aren’t willing to hear more bad news. I politely asked her to transfer the call to another department! As you probably guessed, she transferred the call up to the 6th floor of the district office. The gal who answered the phone was very polite but told me the same story. And of course, I asked her to transfer the call to another department. When the next lady answered, she said “Marketing and Public Relations, this is June”. I can still hear her southern accent and the kindness in her voice. For the life of me, to this day I don’t know how she pulled it off, but before you could say “Auntie Em, Auntie Em, it’s a twister, it’s a twister”, I found myself working part-time with June, as her receptionist and occasional comedian!

You know how amazing it is when someone enters your life and literally changes everything for the better, without even knowing they had that type of impact? That was June’s impact on my life. She kindly introduced me to so many amazing teachers. I’m not referring to the district college teachers, but rather, international award winning teachers and authors. These teachers were in the field of metaphysics. And up until that point in my life, I wasn’t very familiar with metaphysical teachers. June knew so many interesting and thought-provoking teachers. She graciously introduced me to Dr. Friedich Plog, a German doctor of Homeopathy. Then, once, she and I traveled to sit and meditate with Michael Singer, whose books and teaching are truly life transforming.    

During the five years I worked with her, I found that being a good part-time receptionist was important, but the joy I experienced from laughing with June was something I will never, ever forget! Every opportunity I got, I’d do something to get her laughing. Sometimes and especially when it was inappropriate, I’d find a way to get her laughing. As hard as she tired not to, she’d laugh until the tears came. We’d be in a training meeting and I’d say something and she’d say “Annie, not now.” And too late! I was absolutely determined to make her laugh. Man, those were the days! 

I remember once Dan Harkin stopped by and left a Christmas wreath in a box for our department. June turned the project over to me with instructions to assemble it for Helen’s door. Helen was the Director of Marketing and Public Relations, and if I may be honest, she didn’t have the greatest sense of humor. Turning the wreath assembly project over to me was big mistake. I have never been able to assemble things, even with the written instructions! I still remember frantically trying to put the wreath together and nothing was working correctly. I thought I had extra pine branches, so I tossed some. Then, I realized I didn’t have enough. It looked absolutely ridiculous! Time was running out and everyone would soon return from lunch and see what looked like something Smokey the Bear managed to save from a wildfire. What could I do?

Well, you guessed it. I grabbed the crayons I kept in my drawer and wrote a note with crooked letters that literally looked like a five year old had written it: “Auntie Helen, I hope you like the wreath”. Phew! This was back in the day before we knew anything about Impostor Syndrome. Clearly, I was pretending to be a well-adjusted adult with artistic skills. If you are wondering if June was upset with me? Nope. This southern lady was a class act. She smiled and went along with the hoax I had perpetrated. In other words, she saved my ass!

Thinking back, we had so many great times together. You see, I came from a hugely dysfunctional family. I had never experienced a large family holiday gathering such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, until June took me along to meet her family in Georgia. Wow! Her family members really enjoyed each other, had huge meals together and even sang songs together while playing their piano. This was like something out of a movie! In my home growing up, unfortunately the guests often turned out to be 1-2 police officers asking my parents to “Keep it down”, meaning their fights were disturbing the neighbors. I don’t know if June ever really knew what meeting her family was like for me? I mean the impact it had on me was profound. It was really nice to know that some families actually enjoyed holidays together, very much like what you saw in the movies.

This reminds me of another amazing thing June did for me. Without my knowing it, she organized a trip to Las Vegas for my 35th birthday. June had a way of doing things without you ever finding out how she managed to pull it off. She organized the trip and even drove her own car while my best friend, Lori, came along on the trip. June crafted a Burger King crown and vale thing I was to wear the entire trip, while sitting atop a booster seat in the back seat of June’s car. Off we went, headed for Las Vegas. Me, sitting in the back looking like royalty from some far off country. Along the way, a state trooper had the audacity to pull June over. I can still hear her saying “I don’t believe this! I haven’t gotten a ticket in over 25 years years!” We were all very nervous and had no idea what June had done to cause us to be pulled over. Then the trooper stuck his head in the driver side window and asked me “Why did you take the crown off?” and I immediately said “Photo opp!” and out of the car I scrambled. This state trooper was very kind and did not give June a ticket for anything. In fact, he played along and pretended to put me in handcuffs, as you will notice from the pictures above. 

When I say June had a way of pulling things off without you knowing it, I mean it! When we got to our hotel room, there was a birthday card type tree waiting for me, absolutely loaded with birthday cards, signed by district employees. Some of these folks I didn’t even know. These employees were in other departments and June took it upon herself to ask them to wish me well for my birthday. And they did! Did they ever! As I sit here typing this, I can barely see through the tears of joy, even now, remembering all the wonderful things that this amazing lady brought into my life. How do you ever thank someone for so many wonderful years filled with so many amazing adventures? If you figure it out, please do let me know.