Kathleen Norris View A Story - Franklin Lakes, New Jersey | Vander Plaat-Vermeulen Memorial Home


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Early Childhood Girlfriends

Early Childhood Girlfriends

Many years have passed since Kathy and I first met and became girlfriends.  Rutherford, NJ was a lovely small town and the Kirkpatrick’s family lived on Hollister Avenue and my Nangle family lived on West Passaic Avenue.  This pretty town had everything we needed with a real downtown and the west end area with stores including a ice cream shop.  The soda fountain counter was where we often sat after school while we had a soda and bag of potato chips cost only 10 cents.

Kathy and I first became friends in 3rd grade and our friendship grew as we walked to St. Mary’s School daily.  Right away, I was aware of a special “sparkle” that she always had in her eyes and demanour !

In grade school on typical mornings, I would stop at the Kirkpatrick’s house and clearly remember Mrs. Kirkpatrick helping Kathy leave for school. The Kirkpatrick home always seemed welcoming.  Rutherford was made of small neighborhoods full of large families where we all played outside. Our own small world included Kathy, Joanne Finneran Switzer and myself.  Later on, Pam Lee Murphy would join us and we would all walk together toward school.

Most mornings the four of us would walk to school. I remember sharing secrets and gentle teasing were part of our daily treks to and from school. I remember giggles and feeling special when we were all together.  As we progressed through school, of course, our friendships expanded and we were all very blessed in our little town.  There were endless trips downtown, to the library, to Della’s by Union School and we felt special when we were together. I clearly remember one teenage birthday party, Mr. Kirkpatrick drove us all to the indoor roller skating rink in Montvale, N.J. I had never been to anything like that before!

During high school, we stayed very close and through Kathy, we all met Mary Cunningham Healy.  Our interests varied in high school as we explored various clubs and sports and whispered and hoped for a wonderful future.  We shared classes of religion, language, steno, sewing classes and typical high school courses. We knew the future would change us all and we had wonderful wishes and dreams about college, jobs and as always boyfriends.  

We all married young, had families and moved to different areas of the state. But when we gathered together, time seemed not to have passed as we caught up so easily on our lives.  Our conversations picked up as though we had just talked yesterday.  That is the beauty of friendships.  From New Year’s Eve parties to girls night out if Kathy was planning it - we knew it would be fun!

In March 1998 as Kathy’s 50th birthday approached, Jack Norris planned a wonderful

birthday dinner and invited all of us to attend.  I recall that Jack actually arranged a special centerpiece so that each of us would bring home a beautiful memento.  But Jack didn’t stop there, he drove us to New York city where he arranged front row seats for all of us to a play entitled “Nunsense.” We laughed and nodded as the ‘nun’ addressed us all as high school students stirring up 34 years memories. I recall that ‘Sister’ immediately corrected how Pam was sitting and we all laughed at how accurate the portrayal was. It was a truly memorable experience!

We never knew what Kathy would say next and her sparkle was always with her and still is!!

Kathy will be missed dearly and we all know that she is truly blessed and her love surround all of her family and friends!

Marilyn Nangle Nolan

Posted by Marilyn Nangle Nolan
Saturday August 9, 2014 at 1:59 pm
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