Bonnie Shell's Life Stories

Who have been your closest friends throughout the years?

I am still friends with two girls from elementary school (Irene and Antoinette). I live in Wisconsin, and they live in Illinois. I am also friends with two girls from High School (Mary and Barbara). Mary lives in Florida, and Barbara lives in Illinois. We talk on the phone a few times a year but have not visited in many years.

My sister is also my best friend. She lives in Arizona, and we talk almost daily. We share all the things that are going on with our families.

Probably the most friends I made and still keep in touch with are those I met and worked with at A.B. Dick Company in Chicago. We got together regularly at each other's houses. There was always a reason for a party.

Melanie was a friend that, like me, liked to go Polka dancing. We went often, and Melanie met Ted, who she married. We remained friends for many years. Melanie and Ted had a daughter soon after they married, but she was born with lung problems and died two days after birth. It took Melanie 10 years to get pregnant again, and she had two little boys. When they were pre-teen, Melanie developed cancer. She went through a series of Chemo treatments and went into remission. The family took a celebratory vacation, and when they got back, the cancer returned. She then went for a bone marrow transplant. The treatment was very difficult. Ted would call and give us progress reports. Finally, the cancer was gone. The next morning at 3 am I had a very strange dream. Melanie came to me dressed in a white dress, gave me a white rose, and said she was ready to go. Ted called at 7 am to tell me Melanie died at 3 am. Apparently, the treatments took a toll on her heart, and she died of heart failure.

The other single girls I hung out with were Marge, Diane, Sue, and Kay. We went out to eat and went clubbing on Rush Street and Old Town. We had many fun times. I remember once we were walking down Rush Street when some young men tried to pick us up. Sue had a great sense of humor and told them we couldn't go with them because we were nuns doing research on what young women were doing for fun.

Sue married and moved to Cape Cod. We would visit when she came to Chicago to visit family. Diane just broke off our friendship with Marge and me. She was always kind of wild. We heard she left her husband and children and took off on her own. I also had a strange dream about Diane many years after she broke off our friendship. It was one of those dreams that haunt you. I did some checking and found out that Diane had passed away.

Kay married and lived in Illinois. We got together a few times a year. Mostly for St. Patrick's Day. This was after Marge's parents passed away.

My very best friend was Marge. We remained very close for over 50 years. Marge and I were like sisters. We both knew each other's relatives and shared many family parties. Marge's family was Irish, and I was always invited to their great St. Patrick's Day parties. Her dad and Grandpa Dawson, both firefighters, cooked up many pounds of corned beef and cabbage for the celebration. There was much beer and singing going on. As many close friends do, Marge and I shared many laughs and many tears. Marge developed many health problems and eventually lost both her legs. She remained the same jolly person she always was. She said crying and feeling sorry for herself wouldn't bring her legs back. Marge died a few years ago, and I miss her very much.

Now in my later years, I have five friends who live in the same town. My new BFFs are Mary, Marge, Lois, Cathy, and Faith. We try to get together for breakfast once a month to catch up on what is going on in our lives.