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Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Foursome . . . And Then There Was One

For nearly 70 years the two couples were friends, family, a foursome knit together by common experience, by love, by friendship, by blood.

The two men, brothers, were born just 11 1/2 months apart. Arlyn, the older of the two was a sickly child. Although the two boys started school one year after the other, because of Arlyn's illnesses they were soon in the same class and remained so until they graduated from high school.

The girls, Dorothy and Jessie, met and became friends in 7th grade when Dorothy came to the "central school" in town from her one room country school. While in high school, the two girls worked together one summer in a laundry. They walked many--MANY--blocks from the house where they boarded with Dorothy's aunt and uncle to the laundry. On the way to and from work, they passed a Catholic church. The unfamiliar sound of the nuns chanting morning prayers unsettled them a little. At the laundry they each had their own set of duties, one ran a mangle that pressed the sheets and the other ironed uniforms.

High school passed quickly and graduation was before them. At their class night before graduation, they did a skit that showed Arlyn married to Dorothy and Floyd married to Jessie and living in a duplex. The skit proved to be a self-fulling prophecy. Floyd and Jessie married first and moved into half a house owned by his parents. When Arlyn and Dorothy married a few months later, they moved into the other half of the house.

While they were sharing the house, the two couples continued their friendship. Both women were pregnant during this season. Jessie gave birth to a son and later Dorothy to a daughter. They crocheted together, visited, and helped each other through the early days of marriage. Each couple created a home side by side with the other to care for their budding families. However, after a few short months their paths took different turns.

Arlyn worked on the family farm and Floyd and Jessie went to Bible school in preparation to go to India as missionaries. Although separated by many miles and different life experiences, when Floyd and Jessie returned from India, they settled again in the same small town where they were born. The two couples continued their long time friendship.

For about 2 weeks each year all four were the same age. Floyd was the youngest of the four and Arlyn was the oldest. Between Floyd's birthday and Arlyn's birthday all four would be the same age, then Arlyn would turn a year older and it would be another 11 and 1/2 months before they were all the same age again.

Life was busy with raising children and building their businesses. Grandchildren came along. The blessings and the hardships of life happened.

In their declining years the two women often talked on the phone about mutual interests and the men worked together to track their church's finances. When the Arlyn reached the end of his life, Floyd visited him often during the week he was in the hospital. Unable to drive that far, Floyd's son brought him faithfully. After Arlyn came home to be cared for by hospice and his children, Floyd and Jessie continued to visit, once bringing a yummy rotisserie chicken for Arlyn's family for supper.

As Dorothy faced the grief and loneliness of widowhood, Jessie called her with encouraging words and the comfort of her friendship until Jessie's voice became too weak to be heard over the telephone lines.

Now only one of this foursome remains. Arlyn, Jessie, and Floyd have been welcomed to their heavenly home, rejoicing to be with their Savior, rejoicing to be reunited with their loved ones. Dorothy remains, longing for her husband especially, missing the other dear ones who've gone before. One day the foursome will be reunited and together they will worship the Savior they loved all their lives long. Until then, Dorothy's family cherishes the days and hours they have with her.