Writer’s block can come in many forms. Sometimes when you have a specific topic to write about, but can’t seem to form the words, no other words will come either.
That is the writer’s block I have been suffering from the past several weeks.
Last month our family, and I would humbly say Northeast Arkansas, lost a true treasure with the passing of Helen Foster.
When my family and I moved next door to Helen she became my neighbor and quickly became family – long before I married her nephew and she became Aunt Helen.
There is no way I could begin to even estimate how many hours I spent at her house enjoying her company and her food (which she would not let you leave without eating).
If we were moths, she was the flame. She drew us to her with her kind smile and giving heart.
Not the smallest gift she gave me was the introduction to her nephew, Jason, who is now my husband and who she considered her gift, as he was born on her birthday.
As we marked that day on Monday, I couldn’t help but smile as I recalled all the celebrations we had enjoyed through the years celebrating Helen and her favorite birthday present, Jason.
As time progressed, and Jason and I had children, Helen became NeNe to my boys. Gaining that name when my oldest would say Nee Nee (we think trying to say need) when he wanted something and she would jump and run to get whatever he desired. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sweet Helen had been my neighbor, my Aunt Helen and our NeNe, but most importantly she was my friend.
As anyone who ever needed a transcript during the 40-plus years she worked in records at Arkansas State University can probably attest, she truly cared about those around her. Whether she just met you when you walked up to her window or she’d known you for years, she would go out of her way to help you.
And she loved her A-State family, those she worked with and those who met her at her window looking for information or a copy of their transcript. After she retired, she often told me how much she missed going to work every day.
She continued to be a part of the ASU community working at special events as long as her health allowed. She especially loved working at the Fowler Center and seeing old friends and making new ones.
The saying about someone being willing to give the shirt off their back for someone is usually an exaggerated statement to simply describe someone as generous or unselfish.
For Aunt Helen it wasn’t an exaggeration. It was a reality. She was not a materialistic person, but it seemed anything she owned she was ready to give away as soon as it came into her possession. I can remember her getting a new pair of shoes and me saying, “I love those shoes,” as a simple compliment, and her immediately saying, “Do you want them?” That was Helen in a nutshell.
At the time of her passing, I noted that she loved and she was loved. That is a life well lived. That is the life she lived.
Contact Gretchen Hunt at ghunt @thetd.com.