Handwritten Memories

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Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” ― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

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If you had given me a stack of 10,000 letters without any signatures, I could immediately tell you who this note was from with one blink of an eye. I’d know the handwriting from anywhere – it’s from my friend Chris. We’ve been best friends since 1st grade. We probably passed at least 400 notes back and forth to each other on little scraps of paper, in classrooms, throughout our years in elementary, middle school and high school together. I know her handwriting as intimately as I know my twin sisters’.

Last weekend, Chris, Jan and I had a wonderful reunion. She and her husband came to my book signing in Towson, Maryland. Ever since I left for college we have been geographically separated by 500 miles or more. Our visits have been sporadic and infrequent. My only excuse for not seeing her more is a very poor one. The busyness of life often got in our way. Does that ever happen to you, too?

When Chris saw me at the book event, we hugged each other so tightly! She handed me a card and said “read this later.” It was a three page letter of her memories of our fun times we spent together from age 7 to 18.

Chris’ memories are a gift to me because she remembered some things that I had forgotten. There is also some insight into what happened to my twin and me when we were dealing with separation anxiety issues due to my pioneering heart surgery.

When I read this note from Chris to my mother she immediately began reminiscing. Mom said “whether you know it or not, Sue, your sister was more of a “basket case” then you were and you were the one going through the hard stuff. With Jan, I had I much more to deal with.” My memories of that time in my life are included in my memoir so my mothers comments were not surprising.

DSCN2778Above:  Chris, Sue & Jan – friends since lst grade. Here we are now. In my memoir we are pictured as much younger women.

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Above: Joined with Linda, another childhood  friend. I think Linda was dreaming about our elementary school daze!

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This blog brought to you by the award-winning author of “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected,” Sue Batton Leonard.

See you on Monday!

FAQ: Identical or Fraternal

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Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief’ ~ Marco Tullius Cicero

Since my memoir was published in late March, I’ve had wonderful opportunities to do some author appearances, book readings and signings. My memoir will be read by two book clubs this summer and fall, and I am excited about that!

When the audience learns of my fragile beginnings, there is curiosity about the size difference between my sister and me. One of the most frequently asked questions from the audience has been whether as adults my twin sister and I look alike.

Today, I thought I would post this photo taken approximately  five years ago. I am with some of  my college friends. We were having a last college reunion with our dear friend Amy. She lived life so vibrantly with breast cancer until her final days of struggling came to pass. This get together was a gift of a lifetime for all of us. I’ll let you determine whether my sister and I look like twins or not. What do you think, readers?

Duxbury reunion  Carl & the girls


The one missing from the picture, our very own “Chatterbox” or “Chatter,” as we sometimes call her, had graciously hosted the reunion and it was a blast.

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. I have a THRILLING announcement and on Thursday I will post another surprise photo. I didn’t know it existed  – of my twin sister and me and our friend Mary Grace, who is one childhood friend featured in my memoir. You’ll see my twin and me as young children.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. 

Sisters of the Heart

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True friendship takes us by the hand and reminds us we are not alone in the journey.” ~ Unknown

sue mary and jan and neighbor kids enlargedI love this photo of my twin sister and me with our neighborhood buddies! It was sent to me as a surprise, compliments of http://www.unbridledimages.com. It was dug up out of the archives! I am truly grateful to have it!

I am the twin on the right.  The photo was taken during my “difficult days.” Before life really began to get better for me thanks to the cardiologists at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Due to God’s amazing providence, Mary Grace and I (my childhood friend who I mention in my memoir in Chapter 7  titled Taking it One Day at a Time  and who I blogged about yesterday) are alive today. She is the little girl pictured next to my sister  in a blue dress.

You see Mary Grace and I are sisters of the heart in more ways than one. She too had childhood illness that has affected her ticker. Leaps and bounds have been made since we were children, in medical research, that has helped heart patients have a wonderful quality of life.

Mary has gone on to do some amazing things. Like myself she has maintained a completely normal existence throughout her lifetime, never letting anything stop her. She, too, is deeply aware of the gift of life.

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. Not sure where I will travel in my writing. I have come to learn the words will come if I am silent and listen to my heart.Sue’s memoir