Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Farewell to a Blogging Friend

Last night, I checked Facebook.  I had not seen any posts from a Facebook friend since mid-May.  The fact that she had not posted since worried me, as she loved to post on Facebook.  I also knew she suffered from a number of health problems.

So I went to her page and....found a post from her sister.  My Facebook friend  had passed away a couple of days after her last post.  The sister didn't mention the cause of death, but does it matter?

The sister invited us to tell a story about Billie.  I had met Billie in 2006, and I had only seen her a handful of times since.  The last two times I was in Florida, we couldn't connect.  But I do have a story.

Here is my Billie story. It's one I've told before and I hope you won't mind the repeat.  In the original post, from 2006, I used her name and another name, and I will do so here, too.

As newlyweds, my spouse and I moved from New York State to Tampa, Florida.  We lived there a little less than two years, and then left.

Since the day we left in 1976, we had never been back to Florida.  In 2006,  it was time to return.  Florida bound we were.

We took the Auto Train down. At last, we arrived in Tampa, with our then teenaged son in tow.

I have two cousins who were born, and grew up, in Tampa.   One of them, Barry, and his (now former) companion Billie decided they were going to give us a tour of Tampa so we could see how it had changed in 30 years.  My son came along for the ride.

Barry and Billie drove us around Tampa. And finally, I asked Barry if he would take us back to where we had started our married life.

Of course he would.

We couldn’t believe it.  A neighborhood which was once not too desirable was up and coming and most desirable.   We went past what, when we lived there, was a small neighborhood mall – it was now something spanning several blocks called Hyde Park Village.

Historic sign in Hyde Park Village, January 2020
New construction was everywhere.  The “don’t go there” neighborhood was gone, razed, with condos going up on the site.  Our neighborhood had gone upscale.

The two family house we lived in was still there.  We didn’t recognize the street at all.  It looked really nice.

We parked in front of the house.  And I had to open my big mouth and say “Say, wouldn’t it be nice if we could see the apartment again?”

“Why not?” replied Billie.  She marched up the stairs and knocked on the door.

She came back down.  A young Hispanic man had answered her knock. And yes, we were more than welcome to come in and look around.

So we took our son up and showed him where we had started married life over 30 years before.  The young man proudly showed us around the apartment.   He had restored most of it but the bathroom was almost exactly how we had left it, 30 years before.  We couldn't believe it.

I never would have had the nerve to knock on that door.  But Billie did it for me, brushing my fears away.  And my spouse, my son, and I, were richer for it.

Flowers, Hyde Park Village, January 2020
The last words Billie wrote on her Facebook page were:  "Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the music..."

But right now, I can't.

RIP, Billie. You are the person who got me into serious blogging back in 2011, two years after I had started to blog, introducing me to my first blogging challenge.

Our world is poorer for your absence.


  1. Sorry for your loss. Your story reminds me of something that happened with one of my sons. He owns a home built in the early 1950's, just a small bungalow in trendy Birmingham, Michigan. One day a man and an elderly lady knocked on the door and told them that they were the original family. The son wondered if his mother could see the home where she raised her family. My son invited them in. It was a pleasant experience for all.

  2. What a lovely remembrance! I didn't know about Hyde Park's transformation, so thanks for cluing me in. RIP Billie.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. Bite sounds like a joy to be around.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. Those blogging friends are the best and having lost a few here over the years I get so sad not seeing them here. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope your day is blessed. Billie sounds like she was a joyful friend. Gentle hugs to you across the miles.

  5. Everyone needs a 'Billie' in their lives. That friend who takes them out of their comfort zone and livens up their life!
    Billie's blogging from the other side of the veil now.
    Can't wait to read those posts!
    Rest in Peace, Billie!

  6. Sorry you lost a good friend. I'm glad she was brave enough to knock on that door.

  7. I am so sorry to hear this. She sounds like a good friend. (And this is a good reminder to make sure your FB has a way to pass to someone to take care of it after you pass. They have a feature.)

  8. I am so sorry for your sudden loss. She sounds like she was a lot of fun. I wouldn't have knocked on that door!

  9. I'm sorry that you lost Billie. I'm glad her sister left a note and invited stories. Very special.

  10. Hi Alana - we are of those times ... and it seems she's remembered well ... take care and be at peace for her. Stay safe - Hilary

  11. Oh, Alana, I'm so sorry for the loss of your furriend. Soft Pawkisses to comfort you, her family and everyone who knew her🐾😽💞

  12. I am so sorry to hear about your friend Billie, it really hurts when we lose a friend... may her soul rest in peace..


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