Tag Archives: the christmas box

a facebook matchmaker experience-a return to detroit

i enjoyed my time with f2fb friend #312 marguerite joseph and for those of you who have facebook, i hope you’ll look her up and send her a birthday greeting!  she is one hundred and four years old but doesn’t look a day over seventy five.  oddly, facebook doesn’t recognize its users as ever being older than 99 so i guess she can take that to the department of motor vehicles and get a new license.

it was back to detroit that i was heading, with matchmaking on my mind.  i revisited f2fb friend 301 brenda jeffries because i believed i had some unfinished business.

across from brenda's home is a vacant lot, not an unusual circumstance in her neighborhood. she has created a shrine to her daughter raven, who was abducted while playing there when she was six years old. three days later, the amber alert went into effect and raven's body was found. i brought three baby duck statuaries and a mommy duck to the shrine to represent brenda's family. the city of detroit owns the lot and is willing to sell it to brenda for four hundred dollars.

in some neighborhoods of detroit, there are so many abandoned lots that city services like garbage pick up, fire protection and police patrols are inefficient.  if there’s only one house occupied on each of ten blocks in a neighborhood, it really stretches resources.

the city is implementing a program where there are "zones" where city services will continue to be offered and residents of detroit are encouraged to move into those zones or to face life with only their own resources. some corporations are purchasing land outside of the zones with an eye towards developing farms, industrial parks, etc. but what about brenda, who definitely doesn't want to move? what to do with the land that includes what is for her the sacred place of her daughter's spirit? well, it got me thinking. . . about the christmas box angel memorial i visited with f2fb friend #310 julia kovach. . .

both of these friends, julia and brenda, are members of a club nobody ever wants to join–the club of those who have lost a child.  in southgate michigan is the christmas box angel surrounded by the healing bricks that memorialize the lost children.  but don’t you think brenda’s neighborhood could possibly carry that grief and turn it into a positive?  maybe the synergy of julia and brenda together could do that!

julia is also a writer and when i told her the story of raven’s abduction and murder, i realized that she could approach the story with uncommon sympathy and so i have put the two women together.  a story, a memorial park, something good is going to come of their friendship!  on this easter, i think of renewal and i think of the shrine on brenda’s block as the first part of that renewal.

however, i hope she doesn’t throw out the ducks when she’s renovating.  i have become fond of the shrine because it represents the greatest of loves.

brenda's granddaughter paris is adorable and i love holding her and spending time with her! she is a great comfort to brenda!

a christmas box angel and a little facebook matchmaking

some facebook friends astonish me with their courage and their strength.  the things they have overcome, the things they have left behind, the things they endure.  f2fb friend #311 julia kovach is just like that.  and i have given her a task and i sure hope she doesn’t let me down.  but first. . .

i slid into coldwater michigan and spent some time with f2fb friend #310 blake parshall. his mother molly is a facebook friend who has trouble leaving the house. she was having a bad day but blake and i made the most of things. please don't tell the michigan state police, but i let him sit on my lap in the driver's side seat of my car and we did a three point turn at the end of sheridan road. do blake and i look really guilty about this violation of motor vehicle regulations?


then i drove across the state of michigan to southgate to meet julia.  i have only noticed her this year because she has a wonderful blog — journey with julia at juliakovach.wordpress.com–and we are facebook friends.  she has sometimes had trouble with agoraphobia and anxiety and has a lot of “pajama days”. . .

thirty years ago, on july 8, 1984 julia gave birth to a son.  it should have been a happy moment, but michael kovach was born and died premature.  julia got to have one moment of holding her son and then his body was donated to science.  i think julia has struggled with that experience since.

in 1993, richard paul evans published a book called the christmas box about a woman who mourns a child at the base of an angel statue.  the angel has the word hope embedded in its right wing.   it was fiction, but the  image resonated with people who are part of this club that nobody ever asks to join.

in 1995 the christmas box was made into a movie with maureen o'hara and richard thomas. when i was a kid, i had such a crush on this guy. he played john boy on the waltons. if he's reading this blog, please richard my love is true!


in salt lake city an angel statute, complete with the word hope embedded into its right wing was commissioned and in the michigan memorial park there is a similar angel.   this angel has been built all over the country and i got to thinking. . . . . .

every december 6, parents gather around the angel in michigan memorial park, in salt lake city, wherever they are, for a candle lighting.  and when julia first attended, well, i’ll let her tell you.

i admire julia and her writing and the way she manages to keep a positive attitude about things.  and i remembered that in going to detroit i would be meeting with f2fb friend #302 brenda jeffries, who lost her daughter raven.   i had three hours in the car to listen to yammering talk radio, a book on tape, my very exasperated gamin gps dude, and to consider how to be a facebook matchmaker.

julia is very artistic and she made this tiny little picture just for me. . . or for someone else named arlynn and i just swiped it off her kitchen counter. the picture sits next to my gamin gps. i am really really blessed in friendship.