The Writings of Sheri Hooper

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︶୧꒰꒱୨︶ ANGELICA ︶୧꒰꒱୨︶

ANGELICA

ANGELICA

No one grieves the same. That made plainly obvious, not everyone knew a girl I attended High School with named Angelica. It was not a tie in votes the same way that I took her and she to me compared to all the other students. Some knew of her though did not like her. To them she was someone else. To me, she was a quiet girl, good natured, with a sensational sense of humor. I did not know she got into fights openly in the halls (go girl!), then again – I NEVER PISSED HER OFF!

Autumn of 1983, now a Sophomore, a 15 year old “former” Yankee, slowly morphing into the multi-cultural Southern Lady I am today. In all truth I was still somewhat new to the South. I met Angelica in the 10th grade, only a year after moving to Dixie. Children up North, we are different, we have our ways. We are not all sweet and sunshiny, filled with happiness on a rainbow colored popsicle, harmonizing along with a boot shaking, themed melody, while floating atop the Smokey Mountains. In the early 1980’s, you did not hear “Bless Your Heart” come out of my mouth. After 34 years, you do now, along with Ya’ll, Sir and Ma’am, as well as pronouncing Nashville as “NASH-VULL” albeit when moving here I said Nashville. I swore to myself I would never say “Ain’t” – well ain’t that something? – My Lawd! – The locals feel me. (laughing) “Southerism” – watch out – we are contagious! (wink)

In the beginning, I was not “the norm’ for the area and at the time Angelica got a kick out of me. I loved the attention and I could be a real smart ass, she loved that even more. Teachers approaching me in a hateful way over something minor would soon be backing down, with a shot back of – “We did so up NORTH!” – They couldn’t argue with that very often. I took this to my advantage and had a much better schooling in the South. Southern Charm changed me, personality wise, I became a nicer chick, kinder, Bless my Heart! That took a few decades to pass before I was more of a REBEL than a YANKEE — whatever, I am a HYBRID.

Angelica got off on something that I do. It is how I am. Best be brave because no matter what, I just come clean with honesty and BLURT WHATEVER OUT, often having proof of subject being told! I hold nothing back! This was to the greatest agony of my educators, though met with grandiose laughter of my fellow students. I said whatever was on my mind. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always vulgar, but when you address your teacher as she calls morning roll call with a “YO!” (meaning, “Present” or “Here”) as the other kids fall on the floor laughing, the teacher spontaneously combusts. This is the sort of person that I am, it was the part of me that Angelica appreciated the most. It is why I know another girl than others do. It is why I see her as someone else. She was kind to me, she laughed at my jokes and other bold adventurous pranks. To share a class room with me was going to be . . . memorable. (dimpled grin) I found her to be just as memorable and in a positive way.

On October 10th, 2016 I was searching for her and surprisingly found her Facebook. – YaY! – I found ANGELICA! I clicked “Request Friendship” and barely caught an eyeful of the words “Pet Scan” and “Sarah Cannon Cancer Center” in Nashville, as I drifted to my personal page. WOAH, what was that? I clicked the back button and there it was. The message. Her last message as it turns out. March 26th, 2014. 2 Months and 2 Days from that post, Angelica died. Breast Cancer. She had already been gone over 2 years. I began shaking, how can this be? How I hate the word. Cancer. I despise you Cancer! I fucking hate you!

Seems I was extremely blessed with knowing this other Angelica. As said before, in class, it was she who was the quiet one, often jiggling her leg with a tap, tap, tap. She did not wear a lot of cosmetics but often smiled. I liked that. She did not look upon me as superior. I liked that too. So we would be in class and all was silent then this SELF PROCLAIMED LOUD MOUTH would say something in defiance of another student or teacher. Hey, I gotta be me! They had it coming! Angelica would toss her head back having the time of her life at this strange new student who would go to great lengths for a laugh or two. I developed a friendship with this bad ass chick, having not a clue she was someone else to other folks. The wilder I became the more she enjoyed the free entertainment.

We were “inside the class” friends, passing in the hallway, sneaking out for naughty tobacco breaks (Rick and I quit successfully in 2003!), and that is how I knew her. Was I entertaining an Angel unawares? Possibly, her name was Angelica. I am astounded that not more others knew her or liked her. The majority of people I have talked about this with who went to school with her too did not know who she was. How is that possible? Look in your Yearbook’s I have said many times this month. I glanced at her friends list on Facebook. She has about 400+ people still there. I am glad I knew this other Angelica. They must have too. I feel Rewarded.

Her last photographs were lovely. From a kick ass country chick, she grew up into a gorgeous, tall, blonde that ran her own business called “Charlie’s Angels.” I am proud of her! Though finding out about her passing? I am still finding that most difficult. I will have to visit her grave. It will hurt and I am not looking forward to it. Who would? I have not had the courage to do so yet.

I hold tightly to these memories! I did make her laugh. Tonight I find comfort in that. I can look back with not a bad feeling one. Everything is pre-destined. I think that this was the way she was to leave this world and for me to find out. Social Media and Search Engine. This new world we live in is surreal. Did I take her death hard? Why yes, I did as a matter of fact. Was it better to learn 2 1/2 years later. Probably.

I will warn you, be careful when seeking someone online you have not spoken to in awhile. Be prepared for anything. You might find something that literally takes your breath away. If you are one with compassion and empathy, as myself, this will put you in a dark place for ??? Unfortunately, there is no pre-destined grieving allotment. Time will have to heal this wound. Growing up. Finding out your school mates have went on, will happen faster than you think. Be ready. Be Brave. I miss you Angelica. I wish there had been more time to tell you good bye. I pray I see you again.

Love out to the Faithful, Mrs. Sheri Hooper

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