My friend Jo Scherb died last week.

Jo was my first friend as a married woman in 1971. Jo’s husband, Ernie worked with Len in Hanau, Germany at the 85th Maintenance Battalion. As I recall, Jo was one of the welcome committee that came to our house the night of my arrival. Jo was from Liverpool, England and that was a huge influence on our friendship. Jo was 16 years older so she was not just a friend but also sort of a mother figure for me when I was really homesick –I was so far away from Mom and only three weeks after Len and I got married. Ok. Jo and Ernie had three teenaged boys and a preteen daughter. She used to say that I was so close to her boys’ ages that I could give her a perspective on their thinking. I don’t know. Len and Ernie would play chess a couple of nights a week..and Jo and I would bake up some gooey thing and eat. We walked for exercise and smoked cigarettes most of the time we walked. When we got tired we would sit on the curb and smoke and look in the lighted windows of our neighbors quarters to see who had bought chandeliers from Czechoslovakia and which ones we liked the best. Jo loved to talk about growing up in England…her family…especially her Dad who was a veteran of WWI who was debilitated from mustard gas. She was in awe of her Mom. I would have loved to meet her…lots of stories about her Mom. But what we talked about mostly—is what I call theLadymouse_Potter.jpg Beatrix Potter England. Little mice and fairies living under mushrooms, crystallized violets, scones, clotted cream, thatched cottages, tea sandwiches, gnomes, etc. I had never been to England but I loooooved it. I became an anglophile because of Jo. During the first three years of my marriage Jo was my marriage counselor, mom, and friend. She created my life-long love of England and all things British. We kept up over the years but as friendships often do it was sometimes a year between visits. We went to see Jo and Ernie in Arizona and Washington. They came to see us in Texas. Jo fought seven unrelated kinds of cancer and had a stroke. I talked to her about six months ago. The other day I was thinking about her but it was too early to call so I sent an email to Ernie to give her. I started with “I love Jo Scherb.” He wrote me back that she was receiving home hospice care suffering from throat and lung cancer. I spoke with their daughter, Jennifer, while she was visiting her Mom from Arizona. Jennifer sent me a photo of her Mom the day before she died. Although Jo had a smile on her face it isn’t the Jo I want to remember. Ernie sent me the newspaper ‘death notice’ but it really doesn’t tell much more than her date of birth and date of death. BUT, it had a grand photo of her from a time when we all needed each other in the early Germany years. I am going to try to get it and put it in here. It may be a while. I love Jo Scherb. Thank you Jo for making my journey rich. I want you to be in the part of heaven where there are lots of green forests, rolling hills, and maybe some elves.

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