The flame of friendship is a flame filled with love and good will for another person.
My Tribute To Cindy, A Dear Childhood Friend
By Richard Mabey Jr.
I just found out yesterday that Cindy, a dear friend of my childhood, teen years and young adulthood, went Home to be with the Lord on September 8th of 2016. This is my humble tribute to Cindy.
In growing up in the small town of Lincoln Park, Cindy was the pretty girl with a heart of gold. I had the distinct privilege to attend school with Cindy from first grade, at Chapel Hill School, through all four years of Boonton High School and onto two years of college at County College of Morris.
From as long as I could remember, from first grade, Cindy lived the Christian life. Cindy and I were in the same Confirmation Class, when we were in the eighth grade. The class was a full year-long class which met once a week under the direction of Reverend William Duitsman of the First Reformed Church of Lincoln Park.
I remember Cindy as being very smart. She had a contagious laugh. Cindy had such a kind heart and was a good friend to her fellow classmates. Cindy was well respected by our teachers. She had a certain enthusiasm for learning, which I truly think inspired a lot of her fellow students to do their very best in their school studies.
When we were 12 years old, and in the seventh grade, I was out of school for the entire year. I was in and out of the hospital many times in a battle with a very serious case of rheumatic fever. One day, when I was in the hospital, Reverend Duitsman came to visit me and pray for me. He brought with him, a present for me. It was wrapped in brightly colored wrapping paper. When I ripped open the wrapping paper, I found a wonderful, colorful illustrated book of Bible stories.
There was a card attached to the gift. Inside the get well card, my fellow Sunday School classmates wrote a few words and signed the card. I still remember that Cindy wrote a little paragraph reminding me how Jesus healed so many sick people. Before signing her name to the card, Cindy simply wrote that Jesus was healing me. It touched my heart and meant a lot to me.
When I went back to school, in the eighth grade, I was not as strong or coordinated as the other boys my age were. We used to play a game that we called “Donkey Ball.” We would hit a soft, pink rubber ball against the brick wall of old Chapel Hill School. If you missed your turn to hit the rubber ball, you would get a letter, starting with the letter “D.” Each time you missed hitting the rubber ball against the school wall, you would get a letter. When you spelled the word, donkey, you were out of the game.
I remember this so very well. I ended up getting the word “donkey” very quickly. I was not very good at the game, still in the recuperative aftermath of my fight with rheumatic fever. A lot of the boys laughed and made fun with me. The girls used to play nearby. They would play jacks and other games on the cement portion of the old schoolyard, during our recess after lunch period.
I remember feeling very hurt and down from some of the boys making fun of me. Cindy and I both lived along old Route 202 in Lincoln Park. Cindy lived atop the famous Hook Mountain. I lived a bit further down along Route 202. We would all walk home together after school. I remember walking home with Cindy and she simply said to me, “don’t worry Rich, you’ll get better at that silly game. They’re just the mean kids, that’s all.”
I had the honor to work with Cindy for the Boonton High School 20th Year Reunion in 1991. We both served on the picnic committee. The entire Reunion Committee met about once a week for nearly a full year. The big reunion was held at a high class banquet hall on a Friday night. The picnic was held at a picnic ground in Boonton, the next day.
Working with Cindy on the picnic committee, I saw first-hand how organized Cindy was. Also, I saw her wonderful leadership skills, that shined like a glowing diamond. We didn’t have a lot of money to work with for the all-day Saturday picnic. Sometimes there were slight disagreements, within the committee, on how we would finance the entire picnic. Cindy would often bring everyone back in accord by saying something very simple like, “we can do this.” And that was that. Suddenly there was this all-for-one and one-for-all spirit that ran though the hearts and minds of everyone on the reunion picnic committee.
Cindy was one of the prettiest and smartest girls in our class. But I don’t ever once remember her acting stuck-up or putting on airs that she was better than any of the other kids in our class. Cindy, truly had a very kind heart. From way back, all the way back to being in first grade with Cindy, I always remember her living her life the way that Jesus taught us to do.
When I learned that Cindy had passed away, I had a good cry. Even though I had not seen her since our 25th Boonton High School Reunion, a part of her positive outlook on life, lived in my heart and mind. Cindy was a true friend to so very many of her fellow classmates in growing up in our little town of Lincoln Park. Cindy truly had a most loving heart.