FORT MILL --
Who would have suspected that reading an announcement in The Fort Mill Times would change my life?
In the spring of 2010, I began to ponder on ways I could get to know my one and only granddaughter Caroline, who lived so far away. Circumstances allowed me to see her only once a year. There was not much chance of forming a relationship in a three- or four-day visit.
Perhaps she was not very interested in getting to know Gramma Judi at this early age, but maybe, just maybe, she would have some questions about me when she became an adult, maybe after I have left this earthly life.
I had read in the newspaper that a creative writing class would be available beginning the first Monday in May 2010, and would continue four weeks. I immediately thought this would be a great opportunity to learn more about writing my own stories so that someday Caroline could read them. I called immediately to register for this class.
Little did I know as I entered that classroom that night my life was about to change.
As the class got underway that first Monday night, I found the leader, Mrs. Lee Miller, to be a great inspiration as she told us the story of her infant experience in the tsunami. This story I have heard several times after these many months, and I have never grown tired of hearing it. It is definitely a story to hear and pass along.
My life definitely did not begin in that kind of drama. However, our two-story house caught fire while my mother was still in bed convalescing after my birth at home. Someone ran into our room and grabbed me out of the crib, and then four men took my mother, mattress and all, out of the building. After that, all was well. I heard that story so much as a child I almost remembered it!
Even my story does not compare with Lee’s.
Regardless of drama, my goal was to write stories for Caroline. In learning more about how to do that, I began hearing interesting stories from my fellow class members: Bill Homan, Bobbie Harrison, Diane Yarborough, Elaine Linnan, Sarah Dunning and Edie Ryman. Over the coming months, not just weeks, I learned more about these folks and grew to love each one.
About a year after this group started, a couple of us attended an all-day writing workshop sponsored by S.C. Writers Group. At this event, a lady from Sun City named Janie Normile came to sit at our table, and we immediately became acquainted. What a great day we had, and Janie and I had become fast friends by the end of the program.
Now, it is May 2012, and the initial writing group along with Janie is still together. Sometime ago we decided we wanted to continue until infinity, and we really ought to have a name. Thus, we call ourselves “Sisters.” None of us is related, but we have learned a lot about each other in these two years of writing, sharing, laughing, having lunch, sending emails, etc., taking part in activities that long-time friends do.
In the beginning we did have Bill, a Fort Mill gentleman who was quite faithful to our class. We grew to love him because he had a great personality, extremely interesting stories, and a twinkle in his eye. Sadly, he passed away and we still miss him.
Lee, Janie, Bobbie, Sarah, Diane, Edie and Elaine – I love each of them dearly and am so very grateful to have them as sisters. I have never known what a sister relative is like, but I do know that all of them come very close to what true sisters are. My life would definitely not be the same without them.
The success of these long lasting friendships has been a result of the passion and love of our esteemed leader, Lee, fondly known as Birdie. What a joy it has been and continues to be, having Lee as part of my life. Because of her I have seven other sisters whom I might never have known.
We lift our coffee cup to you, Lee Miller.