I also have a memory of going to a church to hear a lady with poofy black hair sing He Touched Me.
Turns out the poofy - haired lady was most likely my cousin Gail. She was probably home from college for vacation. She was fifteen years older than me, so very old to a four or five year old. The only thing I remember being aware of about her back then was that there were two of them. Two girls I never saw who had the most wonderful dolls. Oh, how I loved those precious dolls. They came in little red suitcase kind of things and had wardrobes full of clothes and they were beautiful! I seldom was allowed to play with them because they belonged to those two invisible girls. One of those girls is now QOTW. Actually, she may have been back then, too, but I didn't know.
The other girl was Gail. When I was about nine or ten Gail moved to our town to teach at the Christian school we went to. She was fascinating to me. She lived in her own apartment - alone. I think maybe, other than my grandma, I hadn't ever known a lady who lived alone. It was so cool. And sometimes I could go over and spend the night! And once, she let me watch SNL, even though I wasn't supposed to. It was gross. Gilda Radner was making a commercial for a can of Phlegm.
She taught me in that school for maybe five years. She also hired me to clean her house once a week. She taught me how to do a manicure with all of the little tools she had in her cool box from AVON. Her hands were one of the things I liked about her. So different from mine.
And when I was almost sixteen and she was engaged to be married, I went on my very first date. It was a blind date with her and her fiance' and their best man, who was just a few years older than me.
After I was grown and married, we lived in the same town again and I frequently visited with her at her house. She became one of my best friends.
I learned a lot from her, and sometimes I think about how I would like to talk to her about this or that. Sometimes, though, I can imagine what she might say, and so I know that her influence in my life will never go away. I guess it's true what they say, about how a person lives on in us, or that their presence is always with us. It's not the same, though.