Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sweet, Sweet Sue - My "Soulmate" Sister.........

It started the night we met, back in 1998 or 1999 here in San Miguel.  It was a fluke that I was at a dinner for "Newcomers" as I did not even live in San Miguel yet.  I was later to discover that neither did Sue and
Vandy Anderson!  It was the Universe putting us together.

The first conversation was my asking Sue if we had met previously.  I kept wracking my brain as to where it could have been...........we never did, over the next seventeen or eighteen years, figure out if we had ever met. We knew that night, we later discovered, that we were going to be friends forever.

At that memorable dinner, we discovered our connection to be Galveston, where my Dad had had a house since the early 60's until he passed in 1976; Evergreen Helicopters or any kinds of aircraft; San Miguel; and the list went on and on.  We were intrigued with each others backgrounds and lives.

Subsequently, in 2000, I found a property in San Miguel and moved here.   But, also, I spent much time in Houston with my family and Galveston with Sue and Vandy.  I soon learned that the idea of me staying anywhere but with them was not a good idea, according to them. 

In fact, in reflecting back over the last week, I realized that once I stayed with them for over a month!  Every time I would say, "I think I better get going", they would say "No, stay another week!" and I would.......

Sue and I loved walking the beach, eating seafood, talking, laughing and just being "soul sisters".  She
would call me or I would call her  a couple of times a month, if not more.

The question from Sue always was, "When are you coming up?  Your room is ready" or my question was,
"When will you be here?"  Just like family.  Vandy would get on the phone and say, "I'll be waiting on the curb".  They gave me my own key, which I lost.  Then another and another....til they told me the next time they were going to collect a deposit!  I never lost the last key - I still have it.

When Ike hit Galveston, Sue and Vandy were here in San Miguel.  We were out listening to Doc Severinsen the night it hit and then beginning the next morning, my house and computer became "Command Central" for checking on, talking to and keeping track of all their friends, family, ports, etc etc etc.

Sue and I went to the Tuesday traveling market called the Tianguis to buy used clothes for her to take back in the car to wear while they did whatever it was they were going to have to do to restore their house.  Little did we know how bad it was going to be...........she said she wore and wore those clothes til they were rags.

That was when I spent the month with them up there trying to help in whatever way I could......which, it turned out wasn't much as it was just a disaster of epic proportions.  Having gone through Alicia in 1983 and a few other storms while living in Baton Rouge and in Nassau Bay, I thought I could be of help, but Ike was
bigger then anything I could imagine.

After the recovery was over and Sue and Vandy could again travel, they headed, of course, back to San Miguel.  They loved being here so much.  To sit on the bench in the jardin, see many old friends, have lunch with "the gang" or just "be" which is what San Miguel is all about.

Here are a couple of photos of them in the jardin or at lunch at Gayle's or wherever.
                                   Sue, Bill Taylor, Vandy and Bob Scott - two of the members of the "SMA Gang"

Then I would be driving up a couple of times a year.  Sue would call and want to know what day I was leaving.  I would tell her and then as I was driving, about four hours into the trip, my cell phone would ring and it would be Sue saying, "Have you gotten to Matehuala yet?"  That's the midway point between  San Miguel and the border.   We would talk and laugh and she would ALWAYS say, "Call me as soon as you cross the border".  Which I always did.

Then, in reverse, while I was in Galveston/Houston, the fun would begin.  Some of my most favorite memories are when the three of us would get in the car to go somewhere, but before the time was over, we had traveled in the "Mafiamobile" to all the nooks and crannies of Galveston with Sue and Vandy regaling me with all kinds of tidbits of humorous or horrendous stories.  Some I could never repeat again. 

It was fun whether we went to Sonny's for hot dogs or the Artillery Club for drinks and dinner.  Anywhere was fun with them and ALWAYS an adventure.  Sue always wanted to go to Shrimp and Stuff or to one of Tillman's restaurants where she could have a bacon wrapped thing that I don't remember what was inside.
We could spend hours talking about almost nothing but still have fun, always.

It was fun to go to the charity events as well, the Plank Owner's event, the Seaman's center event and the event I called the Eye Ball, which was actually when Vandy was named the Man of Vision or something like that at Moody Gardens.  I liked to walk several steps behind them and watch all the people come over to greet both of them with such affection and admiration.  Always, always, so many people.  It made my heart happy.
                                                  In Kemah at the Flying Dutchman for lunch.
One of the funniest things that ever happened, at least I think it is hilarious, is when we would get in the car.
For one thing, Sue and I are both Aries.  She would start telling Vandy where to turn and I would chime in with where to park or some silly comment and he would go bonkers.  We did it just to be funny.  Vandy always took the bait.

One of our last sorties was one evening, we three jumped in the car and went on a road that I had only been on a few times in the past.  We were heading West.  No other cars and no other people were seen.  We stopped at the end of the road and as we did, I said to Vandy and Sue, "Well I wonder who is going to show up who knows ya'll".  Of course I was joking and so help me, right about then, a man rode up on a bicycle, took off his helmet and said "Hi Sue and Vandy.  What are you doing out here?"  The three of us started laughing hysterically.  It was the man who owns the The Spot.  We had to fill him in on the joke.  What a great, fun memory that I'll always cherish of two of the absolutely greatest, kindest, zany people that I have ever known.
                                                              Vandy at the end of the road
                                                                The sunset we saw that night.

How do I end this post?  I don't know.  I've pondered writing this for a week.  It seems so inadequate to attempt to describe seventeen or eighteen years in so few words.  It's not possible.  It's also very surreal
to me that this is the end, period.  No more silly phone conversations or road trips or dinners.  How can that be?  There is a huge hole in my heart that will take years to heal, if ever. 

I KNOW that all their friends in Galveston and all over the world feel the same way.  If ever, any of you who are reading this and are coming to San Miguel and want to get together, please, please do get in touch with me here on this blog by commenting or at  I'd love to meet each and every one of you.

                                                     Vaya con dios Sue and Vandy.


Peter Kouwenhoven said...

We are lucky to have met you and the gang, and we hope to be in your company again hopefully soon. We have also lost friends in the last few years and the sorrow of that is what is changing our lives. Thay say that time heals all wounds, but I don't believe it. So sorry for your loss, cherish the memories and breathe...

Retired Teacher said...

Barbara, my condolences on your loss. I know how it feels.

La Tejedora said...

Barbara, what a beautiful tribute to such wonderful people and your soul-sista. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxo Nora

Babs said...

Peter, I so agree. We have to live every day to the utmost........who knows?
Our last day may be today! I also agree that time does not heal all wounds. It just
gets a bit easier as time goes on.

Look forward to seeing ya'll whenever you get back down this way......sooner rather then later.

I am breathing........

Babs said...

Thanks Bill for your comment. I know you've been down this road as I have in the past. It still doesn't make it easier!

Babs said...

Nora, thanks so much for taking time to post a comment.
I found about the loss of Sue after our return from a lovely
afternoon last Sunday. Hence, I've not had any contact with
anyone this past week basically. I'm on the road to recovery!

Barbara Lane said...

Oh Barbara, there are no words. I'm so sorry. Bless your heart and Sue and Vandy's as well. This tribute mesmerized me - I knew how it was going to end yet I had to keep reading all the while bracing myself, as I was so caught up in the love and joy you convey.

After 12+ years of planning it, I am finally retiring November 1st and am moving to San Miguel that very week. You, Dear Heart, have been my Go-To for years for information and inspiration. I will certainly be looking you up once I'm there and would be honored if you'd be my guest for lunch or dinner. Too, another Barbara, another Aries...who knows what else we might find in common. A lot I hope, or at least enough to end that day knowing we have been blessed with a new friend.

I send abrazos and prayers to you at this tender time.

Babs said...

Barbara, oh dear, another Aries and another Barbara! ha. I look forward to our finally meeting at some point.

It is a sad time for all of the Vandy and Sue family. One day at a time!

Good luck in your move.......

Billie Mercer said...

Beautiful tribute. I'm really, really sorry for your loss. They can't be replaced.

Babs said...

Indeed Billie, they could never be replaced. Thanks for commenting. I have a million stories and it was impossible to figure out what to write...hard post to do.

Croft said...

Sadly, friends and family pass but lucky for us their memories remain forever.

Retired Ct. of Appeals Judge said...

An ultimate OMG moment -- I share an interest in SMA so I frequently perform Google searches about moving to MX. What a shock to find your latest entry. My wife is BOI Galveston and we live in east TX, 60 miles and fifty years removed from Dallas. Vandy & Sue were good friends of ours as my wife grew up as a very close friend of Vandy's sister, Ann, who you've probably met. I'll happily show your very warm memories with the two of them. We, too, miss V and S very much. I still haven't talked my wife (Sally Garbade Chapman) into visiting SMA -- she's more of a Yucatan type -- but I keep hoping. I'll happily monitor your blog entries from now on!

Babs said...

Dear Retired Court of Appeals Judge - Thank you so much for taking time to comment.
It IS a small world. Sue was living near Tyler in Sulphur Springs, after Vandy died in april. Must have been somewhere near you.

I know Ann. She is such a lovely person and was a true sister to Sue and of course to her brother Vandy. It has been a rough time for her. I've talked with her several times over the last several months.

Tell your Wife, Sally, that all the magazines and polls are not wrong. San Miguel truly is one of the most beautiful places in all of Mexico. I exported for 20 years and have been all over Mexico. Not only is SMA's architecture breath taking, but so is the weather beyond wonderful and the people are the friendliest I have ever met.

I've been here 16 years and still love it! Come on down for a visit - especially when it is hotter then you know what in Texas - here it is in the high 70's with little humidity.......

Good luck.

Babs said...

Croft - I have said it so many times "Thanks for the memories".......but it still isn't the same as silly phone calls and hugs.

Steve Cotton said...

Words are always difficult when we lose such close friends. I have come to learn that over the past year -- especially when most of those friends were in their 50s. It is true we have memories, but we will not have any new ones to add to the box. I suspect that is what saddens us the most. Bit by bit our lives are whittled down to a few tattered greeting cards in a discarded shoe box. And then we too are gone.

Me? I am going to go out there and laugh death in the face until he pulls me into Emily Dickinson's coach.

Babs said...

Steve, I know you have experienced something similar in the last year. And, I felt for you when you lost your friend.

To lose both Sue and Vandy in four months was incomprehensible. Add to that that another seven friends+ have gone in the last 10 days and I'm beginning to be shell shocked over all of this.

Yup, I agree a few tattered greeting cards.....and photos galore in lots of shoe boxes will be what I'll leave. In fact, I'm thinking now that I should start selling stuff off so no one has to do it after I'm gone......which hopefully, is not any time soon.

I'll see you in January/February 2017, for sure!

Wetravelaround said...

Barbara , I'm so behind in my reading and just catching up . Sending you a big hug from both Charlie and I , and condolences over the loss of your good friends. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Our friends become family, and it's so difficult to say goodbye.
Hope to see you soon.
David & Charlie