When a Friend Dies Without Saying Goodbye

An excerpt of When a Friend Dies Without Saying Goodbye at Suzannejenkins.com

Vashti lived next door when we moved from the mid-west to Philadelphia in the late 70’s. She had a master’s degree in sociology, graduating from Drexel shortly after we met. She spent her life helping people in the neighborhood. Also active in church, she only had to hear about a family in need to spring into action. We had so much in common; crafting antiquing, junking. She taught me the fine art of trash picking, and I still have some of the treasures we found.  We stayed in touch periodically for all those years, long after I left Philadelphia. When her Christmas card didn’t show up this year, a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach was confirmed when I googled her name and the obituary popped up.

Vashti was on my mind while I wrote my new book, Bittersweets-Terry and Alex, included in the new steamy romance boxed set, Love on Fire.  Bittersweets grew out of my love for Philadelphia.  My protagonist, Terry Kovac lives in the house at the top of Mount Pleasant Avenue where I lived with my young family in the late seventies. The view of Alden Manor in the distance, the concert pianist practicing Rachmaninoff every morning, the young lovers having an after-midnight argument on the way to the K bus, all true. The Acme grocery store around the corner, the used furniture stores, tea shop, bookstores on Germantown Avenue, were my haunts almost forty years ago.

When I close my eyes, I can hear the train coming up the hill, stopping at the Allen’s Lane station. If I looked out the corner of the round window that was really in our bedroom, and not Terry’s living room, I could see my husband trudging up that hill with his briefcase.

Our days there were short-lived; a year after we’d arrived, my husband was transferred to Manhattan, and we moved to New Jersey. But I never forgot that brief, glorious time. My wonderful next-door neighbor, who remained a friend until her death in August was my first African-American friend. After being raised in white Dearborn, Michigan, it was a privilege and an honor to know her. I cried when I wrote the stories about the Mount Airy neighborhood, the camaraderie there unmatched. I longed to tell her, but it was too late.

Read an excerpt of Bittersweets – Terry and Alex here.


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About Suzanne Jenkins

Get Suzanne's newsletter and never miss a new release! Receive a FREE Pam of Babylon short story by signing up at http://suzannejenkins.net Suzanne's Gift to You! DOWNLOAD FREE and Bargain EBOOKS Start the first installment of Suzanne's bestselling series, Pam of Babylon FREE! Download Today - The Greeks of Beaubien Street 99 Cents (Greektown Detroit Detective Stories) Also free, Atlas of Women, a compilation of the novella, Mademoiselle and four short stories, and Burn District: The Prequel. Her anthology of romance titles with eleven other authors, A TOUCH OF PASSION, has just become the 2016 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers' Choice Awards. Suzanne writes page-turning contemporary romance, mystery, and women's fiction with passionately gripping characters that stay with readers long after they turn the last page. The Detroit Detective Stories, beginning with The Greeks of Beaubien Street are a reflection of American fantasy with historical reality. Pam of Babylon books consistently rank in the Top 100 Best Sellers in American Drama with over 500,000 downloads. Suzanne's stand alone novels include Someone Like You, the Family/LGBT themed Alice's Summertime Adventure, suspenseful The Savant of Chelsea, Slow Dancing, The Liberation of Ravenna Morton and Perfect for Him, her latest romance story. "Bring the tissues," readers say. Burn District, Jenkins new sci/fi series, follows an American family as they flee from political insanity to save their lives in the Arizona Desert. Her short story, Vapor appeared in Willow Review, Spring 2013. A retired operating room nurse, Jenkins divides her time between the west Michigan lakeshore, the Brandywine River Valley, and the mountains of Southern California, traveling across country with her husband, Jim and dog Oscar in an RV, to visit their children and grandchilden on different coasts. Visit http://suzannejenkins.net where you may subscribe to an email list entitling you to free stories and excerpts of soon to be released and new releases.

9 Replies to “When a Friend Dies Without Saying Goodbye”

  1. Isn’t it strange how someone who was in our life only briefly stays a friend forever? I’m glad you knew enough to treasure your friend, Vashti, and shared this with all of us. I have friends like that, too. Priceless and unforgettable.

  2. This is a heartfelt post – I did enjoy reading it, Suz, but not because your friend passed. I got to know you a bit better because of it. My best friend for 20 years died of a sudden brain aneurism in 2006. We raised our kids together, she helped me get thru my first divorce. She babysat for my youngest when I went to work and we celebrated New Year’s Eves and birthdays. Your post also made me think about my friend – her name was Lorraine. Thanks, for sharing.

  3. Such a sad way to find out you’ve lost a friend. I’ve lost many in the last few years, and find myself going to more and more funerals. Husbands die, leaving their wives behind, to mourn and pick up, and try to go on from there. The wives who became involved in the finances and learned where everything was, and what the passwords are and where the safety deposit box key is kept, are the wives who fare best. So stay prepared! When my husband died, the pension stopped and the Social Security stopped the same week. I still had bills to pay! Luckily, I had a saving account and family to help until Social Sec. came back, but they took it away for the month when I really needed it. So if you go to a funeral, slip the grieving widow some cash so that she can survive the next month. The government doesn’t care.

    That’s when I started marketing my books, so that I had some other source of income coming in. Also why I started the home school program. Also why I sold my house to clear the debts and am now building a mother-in-law unit onto my daughter’s house.

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