Friends and Other Heroes


Kari and me circa 1990. I can't explain the hair or the clothes.

I met Kari when I was in 4th grade.  Her father was a Lutheran pastor like mine.  As part of a learning experience, ALC pastors switched pulpits for a few months.  My dad ended up in Sarasota, FL and was hosted by the Arnesen family: Sig and Jean, and their 5 kids (1 more was on the way).

My dad immediately took to Kari since she was only 1 year older than I, and she thought he was a special person too.  When her father wanted to apply his passion for urban ministry, he found a parish in Baltimore MD pretty near ours.  The Arnesens purchased a house just down a few blocks, and Kari and I became friends for life.  We were maids of honor in each other's weddings.  We have supported each other in every endeavor even though years and distance have taken us far from our old neighborhood.

We both made many other dear friends after high school, but Kari is the first real friend I ever had and she will always hold that special place in my heart.


Lora (helping me hold cake) was my roommate during my freshman year of college!  What can one say about the first girl you have ever shared a room with, far from home and unaccustomed to having only a half of a small space.

Lora grew up with sisters, but for me it was a whole new experience.  How to choose the side that becomes yours, the color of the room, which plants to hang or rules for bedtime.  I think we did ok considering, and we did choose to room with others after our first year.  I've heard of relative nightmares regarding freshmen dorms and roomies, but we fit together pretty well during a time that was new and exciting.  

Lora and I had the chance to meet up again last May at our 35th college reunion.  I think we have a lot more in common now that we are 57!  I wish we could see each other more often, but I can always count on her friendship and dry humor!  Her SNL routines are priceless.  And Monty Python, of course :)  Click below for info on what used to be FPC (college). We still believe in small school culture, though growth is cool, too. Also pictured, left to right: Ed, Sharon, Jeffrey, Glade. More on them later.

Franklin Pierce University

Roberta (Alphabet)

Berta and I roomed together during my senior year.  I had opted for a single during years 2 and 3, but the prized "triple" room at the end of the hall was open and I finally had the seniority to grab it.  All of my other buddies had gone on to other roomies or RA positions, so Berta (a junior) and I ruled the hall.

I spent all 4 years of college on what was known as the Psycho Ward: the 2nd floor crossover hall in the New Hampshire dorm.  The only person I felt confident in regarding the free, open-ended spirit realm of the coveted triple was Berta.  She was fun, respectful of space, and an all around wonderful person.  

These days, Berta and I share the joy of being grandmothers to almost the same-aged grandsons, her Johnny and my Miles.  We have come so far :)

Note: Roberta's maiden name was so "complicated" that her nickname became Alphabet. Interestingly, she was also a member of her home town National Guard, and was called this by her sergeant I believe. I will have to check on this.  Her boots were so small!!!


Dr. Victoria McConnell is anything but "doctory". I met her while teaching together (she was teaching science at the time, but can teach just about anything) at Colonel Middle School in Caroline County. She made some pretty rotten days bearable.  

She has become a buddy for life now, and I am sad to have left her for this trip.  But she is a good and honest friend and we have promised to stay in touch.  Victoria is brilliant, yet humble, sassy, yet sensitive. She sews and quilts beautifully, plays piano, gardens, acts in the local theatre group, and has easily taught 1000 plus kids. 

We have kayaked and biked together and shared thoughts, hopes and dreams about kids and mothers. Her husband, Luke, is a prince. Here she is next to her stunning garden. I am fortunate to call her friend.

More FPC Friends


Sharon and I became closer 30 years after graduation because of a shared struggle with Lyme Disease. Ken and I popped in to see her for a few hours, and he was so impressed with her bright smile and personality.  Me too :) 


Dody and I share lots of stories. Somehow, it became a tradition to call her each year on her birthday. This year, I tried something new! I dropped in on her birthday and it was fantastic. She still lives on Long Island. Great to see her lovely daughter, Tess, too!


In 1978 or so, Nancy and I were so upset with life that we vowed to leave school for Alaska..on foot. We never stopped dreaming! In the meantime, we met up (along with Lis) in Lyons, CO for a cabin getaway. We had fun cooking and playing in the snow! I plan to see her when we get closer to Washington state.