Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stories, thoughts, memories

I know my life was richer knowing her.

You will be with me when i stroll within a flower garden;
You will be with me when I wander through the forest;
You will be with me when I go beachcombing;
You will always be with me!
~ love ya ~

I remember talking to gramma after grampa died and gramma asked what i thought he’d be after. I said a bird & when we spread his ashes a baby duck floated out and i said, “look gramma, he really did turn into a bird.”

So many great memories with Collene! One of my favorites was one of the times we went to church together and she was sitting in the congregation and I was singing up in the choir. When we were leaving, Collene turns to me and says “I really hope you don’t mind but I told the people next to me that you were my boyfriend.” I said not at all.

When I was five years old I had always wanted to ride in the front seat of my grandma’s car, so did my sister. So one day my grandma let me sit in the front along with my sister. I thought it was the coolest thing, sharing the front seat with my sister. I love you!

My friend with the rye smile & the wise wit. Working with you was a lesson learning to play, and to care, and to be kind. We had SO much fun!

She could really get inside a little kid’s head.

We love you and miss you much.

She always said “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” She was so right. She was a great leader and friend.

Collene was a wonderful mentor to me & others at Centralia College. She taught us “time-in.” I can still see her walking arouaznd the Child Development Center - with children all around her. She was wonderful!


Jon, Collene and cousin Donn

Our kids were Collene’s kids. We couldn't have asked for a better
pre-school director
or a nicer person.
~ She was one of a kind ~

Collene will be greatly missed by many. I am grateful for her friendship to my mother through her illness. She was also a great boss.

In the early 80’s, Collene and Susan Finkel, and others in the community, produced this lovely newspaper - The Family Times. I was delighted to be a contributor and to get to know Collene. She was the kind of person who made you feel like you belonged, that she was listening to you without judgement.

Other than my parents, no other adult has given my life more direction than Collene. She always could look at you and see more than you thought awas there. Thank you Collene, you will be missed!

I didn’t have a window in my office so Collene painted me one.

Collene is the reason I am a teacher.
She inspired me to help children discover their own potential and helped me learn to never say never. I still use the story of the rainstick with my middle school students and through that lesson, Collene is still teaching students, and will as long as i am still in a classroom.
I will also remember her for these three things
1) the jar in the radio station
2) apricot chicken
3) the rounded corners go at the bottom
I love you Collene!

I remember Collene’s love of Christmas, her Santa collection, and her holiday craft parties. She got the office into the Christmas spirit with Evergreen boughs and sometimes even a tree! She also liked Secret Santa and the white elephant gift exchange. She could always make us laugh. Thanks Collene.

So much of the good that is in me is because of you.
I remember
~ the Saturday you drove me all around Seattle just for fun
~ planning lessons in the college cafeteria
~ laughing about both the wonderful and the tragic
(because you said we have to find the good)
~ and you
~ always you
~ i’ll carry you with me always
I love you

Sharing wonderful conversation and time with Collene in the sunshine under her beautiful wysteria on her back porch! You are missed!

I first met Collene when I was 18 and I had a one year old, Jon. She opened her heart and arms to me. She guided me through Centralia College, encouraged me to finish college and inspired me to work with her at the YMCA. She helped mold me into who I am today. I thank her from the bottom of my heart and she will be deeply missed.

I met Collene in the late 70’s. She was starting a precschool at the Unitarian Fellowship in Tumwater. She taught weeklong science classes for kids in the summer and our son took at least one. Their paths crossed again where she interviewed him for a summer job at the YMCA. He told me that experience working with kids (more than his knowledge of Japanese) got him the job as a teacher in Japan after college. She was passionate about her work, had a dry, keen sense of humor, and was proud of her kids. She lives on as an inspiration to those of us whose lives she touched.

My favorite memory of Collene is more or less a recurring scene . . . Collene in her living room surrounded by laughter and love . . . conversation bouncing off the walls. Her home was always like this in my memory and I will always cherish the hours spent together in that living room.

My greatest memory would be passing the rain stick at summer camp training while Collene told stories. The staff was in awe.

We used to call Collene “Mama Bear.” She was gentle, affectionate, and nurturing. But if she felt that anyone she cared about (and she cared about a lot of people) was being threatened, she would become an unstoppable force of nature in their defense. She fought for children, for families, for her own family, and those of us blessed to be her friends. She fought for justice and righteousness. Her strength and purpose lives on in all of us whom she touched.

Collene was a great lady and inspiring role model. We all learned a lot from her and she was a great and caring friend.

Your mom was a wonderful woman. Her vision and compassion for children was evident.
While I worked at the YMCA Child Care program, she was great mentor.
She gave the staff vision, support, encouragement and lots of love.
Collene was a blessing. ~ remember her wisdom ~

I have fond memories of Collene, our mutual careers and interests, our friendship endure over the years.

Collene was one of the kindest people I have met. She was a good friend to my wife and son. She will be missed.

She brought such joy into the world, not only through her work, but through each of you. Your talents, your big hearts, your loyalty - these were the things she celebrated in you.

astwingent (said with a little lisp), hunting for buried treasure (a game she played with both Alex and Brynn), and the phone call "Could you come inside, your daughter has tied me up with my nylons while I was napping. Apparently she captured the pirate."