Jennie Nadeau moved across the street from me when I was four years old, and quickly became my best friend. Like most little girls in the early sixties, we played Barbies for hours on end, rode bikes together in the spring and played in the snow in the winter. Jennie went to Kindergarten before I did, and I remember waiting every day for her to come home around noon so we could play together.
My family moved away when I was eight and Jennie and I lost touch because I went to Catholic School and she went to public, but we met up again in Jr. High and became close friends all over again.
My high school years are measured in long telephone conversations with Jennie every evening during which we would discuss boys, school, what to wear, and how to avoid eating potato chips. She had boyfriends, I did not, so I learned about teenage love vicariously through Jennie while she joked around about my crushes on Al Pacino and John Travolta.
After graduation we went to different colleges, but we kept in touch sporadically through the years. We settled far apart from each other but we did meet each other's husbands and children and tried to visit whenever we could, but I haven't seen Jennie in about five years. Time and life just got in the way.
Today I found out that Jennie passed away suddenly on Friday night. She was 48 years old and had not been ill.
I can't believe that she is gone, and I will never hear her voice again. I would give anything to go back in time, even a week, and pick up the phone and call her. I would do it in a heartbeat.
I don't know how much of the person I am today is because Jennie Nadeau Mayott was in my life, but I suspect quite a bit. Thank you, Jennie, for all the laughter and tears and shared angst and love. You were my best girlfriend ever, and I will miss you forever. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a Jennie in their lives.