It was the last days of senior year at high school, and it had been raining hard for a week. But now it was a beautiful spring day. During lunch Connie and I were together as usual, enjoying the weather. She was wearing jeans and a long black rain coat. Connie had the brilliant idea to sit on my shoulders, and she'd put her long coat around me, so she'd look like an 8 1/2 foot tall girl. I'd be her legs, walking around with my head and upper body under the rain coat, while peeking through a gap in the buttons to see.
We had accomplished this, acting as if nothing were unusual. She'd casually greet fellow students on the sidewalk, looking down at them, as we passed by. We thought this was funny, and we started laughing hysterically! I laughed so hard my sides hurt, and the result was I couldn't keep upright good enough. So she's now leaning way to one side, and I veer off the sidewalk onto a grassy area--only now it was super muddy from all the rain. She leaned too far and ended up falling off me, and face first into the mud pit. Then I also fell, and landed right on top of her. We were laughing so hysterically at this, I thought I'd pass out. We laughed for a long time, and we slowly got up. I, being on top, got up first, and really avoided any mud whatsoever on my clothes. She got up with the front of her body dripping with it. She had to go home to change clothes.
We went our separate ways to college after that summer. I later found out she had been raped at gunpoint. The next news I heard, she shot herself in the head.
The idea to visit her grave site came upon me suddenly, as I driving to Madison from O'Hare. I had no idea where it was, except I knew somewhere in Mt. Morris, IL. I arrived and had no idea where to go. I prayed intensely that I would find her. I walked around the town's main cemetery. It was huge. I walked for an hour or two, examining each headstone in random fashion, waiting for God to answer me. Nothing.
I finished up on the other side of the cemetery, near a large gate. There was a directory of all the grave stones, listing the names. "Ah, am I dumb!" I did not know cemeteries had directories. Sadly, my Connie wasn't there. I left and went to a small gas station down the street.
Inside I approached the cashier, asking about a second cemetery. The clerk did not know. Disappointed, I started to leave, when a voice from behind said "who are you lookin' for?" I told him her name, and he said "I'll take you to her."
He explained he was the groundskeeper where Connie was buried, and he remembered her grave. I followed the man in my car, just a few blocks' distance. It was a tiny graveyard, and hidden. I would have never found it on my own. But there she was; I could barely believe it. It was my prayer answered.
At Connie's grave, I talked to her for half an hour. At other gravestones, visitors left various tokens, or flowers. I had to leave something too.
I wandered over to another grave. It had a dozen roses left there. I borrowed one for Connie. But I wanted to leave something more personal. I reached in my pocket and pulled out the contents. Three coins was all I had. Nothing! But then I examined the coins more closely. There was a coin imprinted with the year we graduated together on it. The year she fell into the mud, and spent every minute of the coming summer with me before college. The other two coins were each imprinted with our birth year. One for me, and one for her. I left them.