In Memory

Elizabeth Roth (Makela)

Elizabeth Roth (Makela)

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09/19/12 04:55 PM #1    

Alice Iaquinta

Here's to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Betsy, long departed and far too soon.  What a girl she was. 

Probably anyone who knew her had received at least one if not hundreds of her infamous "notes" that were written in miniscule script and covered every inch of paper, even the edges.  How we used to spend our summer nights cruising, on foot, every inch of our neighborhood around 39th avenue and Pershing Blvd.,  just hoping to "bump" into any of the many boys that each of us had crushes on.  We'd "pick up" Barb Struss, Martha Koper and sometimes other friends, walking around for hours on end, finding curious and crazy ways to fill up the summer nights hanging out, doing nothing and everything.  Steve Bobush, Rudy Drexler, Rudy Becker, Keith Milkowski, and too many more guys whose names  I am too old to remember....... 

Tuesday nights we would walk, imagine that, all the way from 75th St and 39th Ave. to Washington bowl for the bike races where we would really just walk around the bowl in the opposite direction from the way the guys were walking.  That way we had a chance to flirt with them at least a dozen times and then move on to whom ever else was on the move.  Then we'd walk all the way home again after the races were done.  What an innocent and fun time it was.  (And no wonder we were so skinny!)

Then there were all the summer nights Betsy and I would sit on the back steps of her dad's church, Trinity, smoking away on our Marrboroughs or Winstons, as we commiserated over the unrequited loves of our 15 year old lives.  So many tears over guys who shall remain nameless.  The minister's daughter and the cheerleader being rebels, par excellance.  Then when Bets got her license, we used to be able to take her dad's Ford Fairlaine, a big boat of a car, out and we were able to really "pick up" our other friends, Martha and Barb, and head downtown to "scoop the loop" or go sit at the drive in, Raleigh's.  It really was like Happy Days. 

Betsy was notorious for her ability to do her German homework and chemistry problems  on the bus in the morning as we rode to school.  I don't think she ever buttoned her coat up in the winter, wore a hat or gloves or even socks, let alone boots, no matter how cold it was.  She was always late and always in a rush.  We had the best pajama parties at her house until our squirt guns and the roving bands of boys on the prowl outside the windows convinced her parents that we were done for! 

And she got to wear nail polish!!  The minister's daughter.  My mom was too strict to let me do that, no matter how I complained that "Besty can wear it!!"  Remember, mom and my family belonged to Betsy's dad's church.  Always made me crazy that she could have red nails but I couldn't. 

Once Betsy and Martha got into a disagreement over the color of a blouse I wore as we walked, can you believe this, home for lunch from McKinley Jr. High to our homes and back again in less than an hour!  That argument over red or orange became a minor civil war for a period of time and it took all the friends of both to hang on for dear life until the two tenacious ones came to a peace accord.  Ah the drama of being 14!  I'll bet Sue Wedell, Barb Struss, Carol Klitzke and Janet Koos all remember that.   But that same firmness of conviction for both Betsy and Martha took them far in life, helping them both achieve their many goals in education and careers.  They were strong young women! 

We lost Betsy to cancer long before the world should have had to say good bye.  We miss her!!

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