In Sweet Memory

Sometimes tears say all the words that matter.

How an evening in front of the television can bring you to tears.

I was just watching a tv show that helped somebody track down her ancestors. In her search they visited a museum where an old friend of mine (who was also my arts teacher at high school) worked. And that reminded me, I’ve wanted to get back in touch with her for quite some time. Just to see how she’s doing.

It was a special friendship. At high school I was a bit of a misfit and she was such a great person. That, and we both were Bowie fans. So, within a few months after we’d met, we drove to Ahoy in Rotterdam in her ramshackle 2CV. I had put on way too much perfume in my excitement, but we didn’t even have to open the windows of her car because they wouldn’t shut anymore anyway. We had huge laughing fits over the smell of me and the ramshackle car during our ride.It was the night of my life with Remke…it was her, Bowie and me that night.

This Bowie image here reminds me of our trip. Because at the concert, people were selling posters and t-shirts with Bowie images and I fell madly in love with the elegant and rather feminine photos from the eighties…with his salt and pepper hair and his custom fitted suits. Remke detested those pictures…was even a bit horrified by their slickness! We were both rather big Bowie fans, but each attracted to an entirely different aspect of his appeal! We had a good laugh about that on our way back to the car….. What a wonderful night that was.

And even without Bowie she was a great friend. I went through some rough patches a good few times and she always had her door open and we’d discuss grown up things, for she’d treat me like a grown up. She took me – and anyone – for who I was. She too wasn’t a very common person and many more of her pupils became her friends and visited her at home at times. Most people I knew felt that she was really special.

Later on, we lost touch when I left town to study. But after 8 years I returned, an English teacher at my own High School and Remke and I were colleagues for a year. We were busy teachers, so we didn’t see each other very often, but it was still great having her ’round as a very nice colleague. She was still as authentic and inspiring. We both left that school as teachers after that year. I moved East and she took on a job as a creative director at a museum in the West. And we lost touch again. But I thought of her numerous times throughout the years and have always wanted to go visit her at the museum.

So, seeing this museum in the tv programme this evening, sparked me to google her and try to contact her. To finally look her up. Never had I suspected that I would find an obituary. Only one, of our former school. From what I can gather from the obituary, she passed away a year ago.

What a smack in the face! I must have been living under the pavement not to have heard the news any sooner. And hearing it only now is out of this world. What happened? How could she die so young? I simply don’t know. I couldn’t find any more information. So, I just sit here, feeling deeply sorry I haven’t looked her up any sooner. Overwhelmed with the idea that I will not be able to look her up anymore. And frustrated that I don’t know what happened to her.

But most of all, I’m grieving. We may not have been in touch for a long time, but she was a very precious person to me and an important role model in my youth. She was a wonderful person and beautiful woman inside and out and I will never forget her.

 

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