My Mom, age 20.

Three people who I wish I had known for longer:

I met Fritha at a party a few weeks before moving from London. The friend of one of my roommates, it was explained to me that when said roommate broke up with her boyfriend, "the boyfriend got her heart, but she got Fritha". I loved her immediately. Fritha was charming, completely confident and unafraid of anything. She left with me the following Scottish saying: What's meant for you won't go by you. I've already decided that if I ever have a daughter, her middle name will be Fritha. Her first name will be Madeline.

The man and his family who kept me company while on the train to Pecs, Hungary.
I was incredibly lost (trying to chart a path between Zagreb and Pecs that didn't actually exist, I discovered later), and this man - who spoke a little English - stepped into my amazingly confused conversation with one of the yardsmen at a train station. He helped me find the right train, and then he and his family sat with me until the end of their journey ("we will sit with this girl - she speaks English" he had said to his daughter and grand-daughter). We talked about Hungary and Canada and all the spaces between, and he made me a list of places to visit. I never got through the list (not even close), but still have it. Without his help I would have spent the night in the middle of nowhere Hungary, completely alone and terrified. He - and the thousands out there like him - is one of the reasons that travelers travel.

Brenda Stratton.
Once upon a time I lived in Calgary, Alberta, and attended a textile printing and dyeing class taught by Brenda. It was an amazing experience and ultimately led to my current leap-of-faith into creative self-employment. Brenda would let me come into the studio on weekends and print with her, something I still hit myself for not taking enough advantage of. Brenda and I would talk - not all that much because I was very shy - but I still think of her as my mentor. When I can't remember what I need to do while printing something, I always find myself thinking "what would Brenda do"? She is an amazing soul, an amazing craftswoman, and someone who's company I often miss.

They're all still out there, living, laughing and loving.

And that makes me incredibly happy.

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