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Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Janet Souder Newkirk, Greg Nece — Peg Britton @ 1:06 pm

Yesterday was a splendid day with one exception…I backed out of going to “Follies” at the Salina Community Theater.  I was very much looking forward to it and spending the evening with Miki and Ginny, but my better judgment kicked in and told me not to go.

I’m still using a walker and can’t navigate steps without the fear of falling.   I learned there were too many steps at the theater for me and the pre-party would require that I stand longer than I am able.  It’s the Lupus, it’s not going away, and it is a nightmare.  My fear is it will never get better.

My disappointment at having to turn down such a generous invitation from Miki was soon met serendipitously with a phone call from the daughter of a close friend from the past.  I haven’t seen Janet since she was very young…probably over 50 years ago. She is the daughter of Peg Wheeler who was working for Edward Tanner and Associate Architects when I joined the firm following graduation. We became good friends. Janet and Dane were born the same year, in 1952.

I married Brit and moved to Ellsworth, she married Norvin Souder and remained in KC.  We both had children and family commitments that took over so we didn’t have much time to visit each other.  But, I always remembered her and her two children, Janet and Jimmy.  I wondered where they were.  They were both smart as whips so I was very curious about them.  I  had no way to contact either.

Then, well over a year ago, Janet Souder Newkirk hit my blog and Voila!  Bells rang.  I wrote to the email address that she left, but didn’t hear anything back for about a year.  It was worth the wait.  When she wrote, she said she was planning on visiting me in Ellsworth this spring.  I could only hope, but in the meantime, I sold my house and moved to Salina.

Yesterday she called from Wichita and said she was on a mission to find me, and that she did.  She, her daughter and sister-in-law arrived in time to have lunch here at the Palace and they remained long enough for us to catch up a bit on the past intervening years since we last saw one another.  I think we could have talked for days.

Kit, the sister-in-law, is an English/Journalism teacher with two long teaching tours in China.  We didn’t even get to touch on her life and because of that, I hope she returns.  She was a delight. Our conversation was too abbreviated.

Janet was married, she and her husband had graduated from Carlton College, then he went to Oxford on a Marshall Fellowship and she went to Wharton for an MBA. Meantime, they have lived in Columbus IN, Cleveland, Hong Kong, London and now Charlottesville VA. She worked in big corporations for ten years and became a vice president of Merrill Lynch.  She has most of an MSc in computer science, psychotherapy training, and shaman training, among other things.

Their daughter, whom I was privileged to meet, was born in England.  She’s graduates from high school in VA in June and is heading to Harvard this fall with more math in her future.  Their son was born in NYC, went to Williams and is now pursuing a PhD in math at Brown.  Peggy’s father was a math professor at KU.  He would be so thrilled to learn of the accomplishments of his grand-children and great-grandchildren.Seeing Janet and having a chance to learn about her family and more about her mother was a real highlight in my life.  It was something that I felt was entirely out of my reach that just popped up in front of me very unexpectedly.  And…I forgot to tell her about the candy bars her mother and I used to eat.  I’ll save that for another time…

And, this morning, my friend Greg came to take me to IHOP for breakfast.  It’s sort of becoming a habit, and one I very much enjoy.

And, Margie and Ivy stopped by my apartment Friday after trivia for a glass of wine.  While they were here a large fruit basket and a lovely plant arrived from Jess.  I have cheese and crackers. Life is good.

Thanks for tuning in..


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