Josey and her mom and siblings lived across the street from my family during my middle school and high school years. She was a year ahead of me in school. She had an older sister and several younger brothers, so in essence we were both the middle child in our families.
I enjoyed spending time with Josey in our neighborhood, but I'm embarrassed to admit that I
Josey had a pretty tough life. Her mom was single and raising five children and there was no money for any extras in her life. She wore mostly hand-me-down clothes, ate the free lunch at school, and was overshadowed by a very popular sister who left home as soon as she was able. Josey suffered from epilepsy which caused seizures and gave other kids a reason to avoid or make fun of her at times.
But Josey had a winning personality and a beautiful smile. I don't think that I truly appreciated her friendship at that time in my life, but she obviously felt differently as you can see by this note she wrote on the back of her school photo.
I don't remember the last time I saw Josey, maybe just a time or two after I graduated from high school. I occasionally heard some news of her and knew that the epilepsy continued to plague her into adulthood. And then I received word several years ago that she had passed away, and I paused to ask myself why I ever thought I was too cool to be her friend. I no longer have contact with any of those other "real friends" I wanted to spend my time with back in high school . . . they were all too busy when my life fell apart after a painful divorce. I like to think Josey would have stood with me through it all - if only I hadn't been too cool to keep in touch!