I’ll start with Cheryl. I flew to LAX, and wanted to take the metro train to the Norwalk station for an easy pick-up, but Cheryl wouldn’t hear of it. We haven’t seen each other for a while, but once in the car, our conversation picked up exactly where we left off, never skipping a beat. We have that kind of friendship.
Cheryl drove to her beautiful hillside home in Whittier as we talked non-stop. When guests arrived, we began a walk down memory lane, having literally grown up together at Kaiser Permanente. Kay guided so many careers, mine included, and she’s still our glue. Roxie’s smile warmed the room, and Bob and I kidded each other like we’ve done for over 30 years. Cheryl T. co-wrote an amazing book with her husband, and it was fun comparing notes and sharing tidbits about the writing process. Connie was a secretary when we first met, now she’s the director of the plastic surgery department. Therese and I were partners in crime for many KP projects, and what a special treat it was to meet, Lauren.
I remember when Cheryl’s mom, Mary, drove her motorhome to the Member Services office so Cheryl could feed her baby. Now Kathryn is 30, and a second-generation KP employee. Cheryl’s daughter, Kristen, is an administrator at a High School, and the proud mother of two lovely daughters. I so enjoyed talking with them, marveling at what beautiful women they have become. Where did time go?
After everyone left, I felt gratitude for everyone’s support and encouragement. I talked Cheryl into going to Veracruz, my favorite Mexican restaurant, for dinner and margaritas. When we got home, her husband, Bruce, tried to entice us to watch a movie with him, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I settled into the comfortable guest room, and barely remember my head hitting the pillow. In the morning, Cheryl made tea and raisin bread for breakfast while we sat and ate, soaking up every last minute together.
Then, my daughter, Kim, and grandson, Camden, picked me up, and drove to their Anaheim home. I hung out with Cam, while Kim prepared our feast and, later that afternoon, had a second book discussion party. Thank you Gaye, Camille, Jenny, Rob, Cyndi, Debbi, & Katie for your support, and insightful discussion.
The next morning, Kim drove me to Westwood College where she’s the assistant academic dean. She arranged for me to be a guest author, and I ended up speaking to four different student groups over two days. I was impressed by their dedication to improve their lives, and they asked such thoughtful questions. The Vernazza Effect encourages readers to follow their dreams, and this audience was a living example. My favorite part was at the end of each session where Kim and I revealed our relationship, and shared insights about our journey as mother and daughter. We had a mutual admiration thing going on, and we reveled in it.
After everything was over, Kim drove me to the Long Beach airport where we said our good-byes, and I flew home. Even though it’s inadequate, I’ll say a simple ‘thank you’ to Cheryl and Kim for creating these opportunities for me. It never ceases to amaze me what gifts are right in front of us. We just need to open our eyes, receive them and never, never, never take the people in our life granted.