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Joan Knows: Loss inspires look into relationships

The recent passing of dear Virginia Marck prompted me to think about relationships.

It seems that friends are acquired on the way through life. Some are durable and last through a lifetime.

My high school comrades, some of whom I met at Shelby School in first grade, still meet monthly for breakfast.

Sometimes we maintain relationships with former neighbors, add on the circle of the spouse (not all keepers), attach to randomly-selected roommates, connect with regulars at the same event (Badger buddies in the handicap seats at Camp Randall), and the folks at stores and restaurants who are friendly and spirited and caring, such as Annie at the drugstores and Ted at Corfu.

To me, there is a highly desirable category: Being invited into the circle of a special kind of person.

Virginia Marck was a special person. We met Ray and Virginia at church and always admired their visible affection for each other. They would enter, holding hands like sweethearts, and spread the sunshine of their relationship and their cheerful outlook.

Virginia was clear about her values yet was open to the ideas and experiences of others. She could make waves if necessary but excelled at calming the waters. She had bountiful interests, such as books and flowers, that amplified her associations with her work at a flower shop and her leadership at the public library.

Both Virginia and Ray appeared to glide in the serenity of their advanced age yet were always alert for new ideas and relationships.

It might have begun with Ray chatting about Badge sports results. Mostly it was special as she reached out her hand and her heart with first a compliment about something I had written, then catching upon family news, and soon, friendship. I hope she knew how I treasured the gift of being included in the circle of a special person. We will miss her too, Ray.

There are several things on my bucket list. Things like travel or parachuting are on the shelf due to physical limitations, so many of the items are pretty silly. 

I hope to someday live on a street that is not a boring number. Mark me on 10th Avenue, Second Street and Ninth Street. Main Street both in Charley town and Urbana. Ho hum. It was much cooler to be on Langdon, Pearson, Marine Drive or even the unbalanced Meinecke in Wauwatosa.

Sure, the numbered streets are useful for UPS and school boundaries but couldn’t we perhaps get some at least honorary alternatives? Ernie Banks Parkway? Mother of All Winters Drive? Twinkies Avenue? Zavitz Place (pronounced zay-vitz not zah-vitz)? Raccoon Boulevard? Easy Street?
Think robins, tulips, Easter eggs, green grass, and even April showers!

Gotta be just around the corner.
• Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write to her at

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