AHS Class of 1962 40th Reunion
Memories from Billy Geer
Carol Anne's Gifts
Carol had the gift of somehow being able to connect with people, really connect, with all kinds of people, and get straight to the heart. Down to the nitty gritty, with the utmost compassion and respect, and sincere love. Ill bet many people feel like I do, that she was their dearest friend too.
Carol had many gifts. She approached life with open arms. She shared her gifts unselfishly with everyone she knew, without strings, without expectations of anything in return. She brought sunshine into people's lives, in so many ways. She truly practiced "random acts of kindness." If someone had a need, she was there. She took in any stray that crossed her path (animal or human). She cared for them and loved away the rough edges until they felt safe enough to show the soft spots underneath. I was one of those who received this gift. She did this sometimes at great expense to herself, but she did it anyway. That is who she was. She was and will always be an example and an inspiration to me. She noticed and appreciated the little things in life and in people. She delighted in them, The Simple Gifts.
Another priceless gift of Carol's was that she had the ability to get people going and pull them out of themselves. She knew how to make fun out of almost nothing. She would get that little twinkle in her eye and you knew that she was about to liven things up. I know my Dad was always an appreciative recipient of this gift. I myself received this gift many times, but most recently, the last time we were together.
Last summer I was down in Ossining trying to help Aunt Sally and Uncle George who were both sick and in the hospital. I was trying to make decisions and set up the care they each needed which turned out to be in separate facilities, in addition to setting up services for them to come home to. Trying to make these arrangements was hard, but relatively minor for me in comparison with trying to navigate the roads down there! I called Carol Anne to tell her what was going on, how completely overwhelmed I was and how completely beyond my capabilities this all seemed to be. To my complete relief, she rearranged her schedule and showed up the next day. I had never been so happy to see anyone in my life. For the next couple of days she held my hand and helped me figure out what needed to be done, and then told me when it was time for me to stop and go up to her house for some R&R. Now I am coming to the point about her gift of turning things into fun in her mischievous little way. And believe me I needed a laugh.
The night she arrived we decided to go for dinner in Tarrytown where I had seen some cute sidewalk cafes. We had dinner outside at a Greek cafe that she decided on because I was beyond making any more decisions. We had a really nice, relaxing dinner. We caught up on each others lives. I must mention that Carol Anne seemed happier, and more content than I have ever known her to be. It made me so happy to see, and I think we all know the reason for it. After dinner we were headed back to the car and on the way we stopped to admire the ivy in the flower boxes along the street. Then I saw that little glint in her eye, and said "oh no, here she goes!" She proceeded to take ivy cuttings from the next three or four boxes and we started to jog back to the car. We got in the car that was parked in front of the police station, and began to explode with laughter as we hightailed it out of there! It was just what the doctor ordered!
Carol had so many gifts. Her warmth, her goodness, her courage, her zest for life, with a healthy measure of wackiness to round out the package. In spite of her health problems and the other curve balls life threw at her, she lived life well, and her life was a gift to us all. She loved wholeheartedly, especially her children and grandchildren who gave her back the gift of so much joy.
Carol touched so many lives. We are all fortunate for having known her, loved her, and been loved by her. She made loving easy, and made the world a brighter place for the time she was with us. I know her spirit will brighten our hearts forevermore.
As a way of honoring Carol Anne's memory and to make us smile, I would like to invite each of us to practice one of her many gifts, the gift of "random acts of kindness" at least once every day. I think she would like that. I also think that that Heaven is a livelier place today and my Dad, for one, is really happy to see her.
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