To Cousin Jeri, with love

To Cousin Jeri, with love

By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Reading through our messages,

Back and forth throughout all of these years.

A friendship grew between us,

Sharing family, our losses, and tears.

So wonderful she was to connect with,

She had unconditional listening ears.

She was there when I was still alone,

Seeking, yet hiding behind my wall of fears.

She and I exchanged knowledge of our mutual family tree,

Plus, shared resources in an expansive and growing geneology.

Our life paths were different in so many ways,

Yet, similarities in our thought-waves brought us closer with each passing year, and months of days.

She celebrated proudly alongside the joys of our grandchildren and their successes,

Sharing stories of their sports, homeruns, goals, dances, plus, photos of prom dresses.

She read my poems, and shared my photos of birds, and my love of sewing, crafts, and painting,

She really “got me,” and my way of thinking!

As I traveled “Down Under,” we continued to share,

I began to believe, “Cousin Jeri” would always be there!

From Jeri,

I have a pink, Norwegian, hand-wired stone,

An official “Harley Davidson” telephone,

A pair of Christmas light-up bearded gnomes,

Greeting cards and notes, uniquely given,

And, a miriad of insightful messages for which I am so grateful to have received,

And I will fully cherish as long as I am living!

This is just one example of how Jeri became such a wonderful part of my family, not just a cousin…a true friend!

Jeri touched so many of us, including my husband Rick. I am just one of many, however, she had a unique way of helping each of us feel special and important to her.

My grand-daughter Breeze wearing a jumper Cousin Jeri knit for her.


By Valerie J. Laidlaw
September 5, 2020

I coordinated advocacy groups in the ’90’s.

Once, there was a young man,
Whom I watched, while he hosed off
Trays and dishes into a stack.
After completing his task,
He told his boss he’d be back.
He walked by his coworkers,
Who curiously, all asked,
“Where are you going?”
He responded, proudly,
As he smiled, and stood tall,
Flinging his jacket over his shoulder,
And said, “I’m going to class!”
We walked across campus,
Where he met a group of peers,
College students, his same age in years.
As part of their experience, they each played a role,
As “student advocates” spending time, getting to know,
Each person assigned to their group as a goal.
Through time, often, there were some true friendships built,
Pieced together, like a myriad of fabrics in a quilt.

(Extra thanks goes out to the instructors who opened their classrooms to the experience, including the professor showcased below.)



By Valerie J. Laidlaw

No more “Kmart” blue light specials blinking.

No more “Speak Easy” dining and drinking.

No more “Safari” movie viewing in rocker-back seating.

No more “Courtney’s Comedy Club” improvs or reading.

Like the seasons of our lives, our city evolves.

As decades drift onward, and the earth revolves.

We still have our “World Famous DQ Dilly Bars!”