Boynton lizard

Honestly, I try not to get too attached to any of you because you are barn cats.

When I used to go visit the farm where my stepfather grew up, I’d be all into the cows and the chickens and the barn cats, saying hello to all of them and so forth. Then the next day I’d be all, “Hey, where’s that little orange kitty?”

“Cow sat on him.”

That’s how you guys are. I mean, you have the ability to just come and go. It’s the internet. It’s ethereal. I don’t know where you live. I don’t know what you look like, most of the time. If Paula H&B knocked on my door, I’d be all giving her a cool “Yes?” from behind my Ring app. I wouldn’t even go to the door.

It wasn’t like that at first. At first, when I realized someone was reading my blog, I got all friendly, pulled up a chair. There were long, impassioned emails (emails! quaint!) where we’d tell each other our stories, check in daily, ask how that job thing went or did that guy ever call.

Then one woman tried to steal Marvin.

And one woman just ghosted. Oh, that one killed me. I was one Boynton e-card from being someone I didn’t like over that one.

So I cloched myself. You know what I’d really like? Are more cloches. Like, to put a silver reindeer under at Christmas, or something gaudy under any other time of year. But they cost.

I digress, however.

I mean that I kept a bit of a distance between myself and any internet relationships I had, because they aren’t quite real, and because people come and go so quickly here. We’d all be chugging along, leaving comments and posting on Facebook and then someone here would say, “Hey, what’s happened to Framantha?” and I’d be all, “I don’t know. Cow sat on her?”

But despite that, despite being a gaudy reindeer under a cloche, sometimes I got attached to people anyway. Cheech was one of those people. And I didn’t even realize I had gotten attached. She’s just been here forever, day after day. I’ve come to count on her leaving a comment, or saying something on (Face)Book of June. Face the Nation of June. Fleecebook of June.

I digress, however.

She was as regular to me as the clouds or a mug of coffee. I knew she’d be there. She was part of the fabric of my day.

And just like that, barn kitty.

I dreamed of her all night. In one dream, she was fading away and waving at me. I know I had that dream because I was working on my end-of-year video till rather late, the one I tried to show you last night. When I export the video to my desktop it stutters and won’t dissolve from one photo to the next. It gets stuck. I’ve tried a million things to fix it and it won’t work. I have to call Apple Care, and while I cannot predict the future, signs point to Edsel being a letter U while I speak tersely on the phone later today.

Anyway, I’m sorry I don’t have my video ready for you but it really does get stuck on one picture for like 15 seconds. It’s not the end of the year yet so there’s not really a rush. I just said I’d have it and I don’t and what I really want to do is go to my desktop and bring Cheech back because she was a delight.

I’ll be here under my glass dome.

Love,
June

71 Comments

      1. SADIE!!! So good to be thought of…especially by you, sweet Sadie. Hope you are well. My family and I are all well. I’m retiring in 6 months. Can’t wait! More time to be social here! Holiday smooches to you!

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    1. Did I miss the “a blog reader tried to steal my husband episode?!” I’ve been here for about 10 years and that’s the first time I’ve heard that one!!! Holy cow(sat on my cat)!!

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  1. Thank you for a lovely tribute. Cheech has been on my mind ever since I heard of her death, and I was remembering all the little things I knew about her just from your blog, her ex-husband, her fiancé who died, her nephew and his friends staying with her, her organist activities. I think I knew more about her than I do some of my IRL friends She will be missed.

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  2. It’s such a bizarre thing when an online friend dies. Because they aren’t physically with you every day, so that doesn’t change, but they are still missing in your life.

    June, you are a very talented writer with a very wide range. I love that you can write hilariously, and then also write so poignantly. This post was lovely.

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  3. I’ll be remembering Cheech especially next week as she used to comment about playing at Christmas week church services.

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  4. Sigh. I’m upset too. She was always there and had great things to say.

    I’ve got nothing I can add…but great blawg post.

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  5. I was just telling my daughter about Janelle/Cheech and how she was one of the Pie Peeps and my daughter said, “You mean she was one of the Slices of the Pie?” and I thought that was a lovely description.

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  6. Dang. Man. Well, shit. I’m sorry to hear about Cheech. Shit. I’ve been coming here to this not blog for so many years that I have lost count. Maybe like 11, I think. I don’t comment much because I am awkward but I so enjoy my daily dose and reading the comments. I hope that next year is better. Again…shit.

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  7. Damn. I’m so sorry Cheech died. I just found out about in the comments as I didn’t catch on from your post. I hurried to the first comment, thinking it would be Cheech saying she is here and sorry she hasn’t been commenting. Now my eyes are all wet and I can’t see to type, but Cheech will always be here in out hearts. Same with Garden Girl as I miss her, too.

    On a much lighter note, I’m happy to say that Tee is just as lovely IRL as you imagine.

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    1. Sadie, I wrote a post last night that maybe you didn’t see saying that Cheech had died. So if you didn’t see that one, I can see how this one might be confusing.

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      1. Somehow I missed it, but just went back and read it. How lovely that you recently spoke to her and will have that memory. Now I understand your dream where she was waving goodbye.

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  8. This little corner of the internet is my favorite place to be. Janelle will be missed, and you did a lovely tribute to her. Not one of us is promised tomorrow, but it’s always surprising and sad when someone’s tomorrow is taken away.
    RIP Janelle

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  9. Sad today because Janelle, Cheech is gone away from us. I hope today she is visiting with her friends and loved ones who have gone before and is having a glorious time. Rest in peace, you will be missed.

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  10. I am so sorry to learn about Cheech. I got you confused as one of my kids when I was reading about the farm your stepfather grew up on. I thought, “Bill didn’t grow up on a farm, sometimes he visited a farm, but he didn’t live on it .” Then I realized you were talking about your ACTUAL stepfather!

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  11. I loved reading Janelle’s comments about her Maine Coon cats. She was funny & special to all. Condolences to her family & friends.

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  12. Janelle was a lovely person whom I had never met, yet feel as though I knew her. She will be missed. Yesterday as I was processing the fact that she had died, I received news that a local friend had just committed suicide. He had suffered many months of medical issues which included a lot of pain, but the doctors couldn’t get on top of it. I feel so bad for him to have suffered so much that he needed it to end in such a way. His wife and family are really struggling now. Yesterday was A Very Bad Day.
    To Janelle and Ross: Rest in Everlasting Peace.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear about the death of your friend. Watching friends suffer so is terrible. And grieving a friend or family member lost to suicide is devastating. Sincere condolences to you and to all who loved Ross.

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  13. I tell people all the time that my internet friends are often more real than my IRL friends, and especially in this pandemic year. I recently fractured my shoulder and the first card and gift I received was from a 10-year internet friend whom I’ve never met face-to-face. So yeah, Cheech will be missed, but there will always be a space for her.

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  14. I’m so sad about Janelle. And upset with myself that I’ve been so busy I didn’t notice she wasn’t commenting. She always had pithy and amusing things to say. DAMMIT.

    Re: Cow Sat On It. My mother was the original Fresh Air Kid. Her parents would send her from NYC to their family in VT to spend the summer. Every year she would make the mistake of befriending the pigs, turkeys and chickens on the farm. After a few weeks she’d wonder, where was Harold? Where was Buford? And dear old Aunt Veronica would reply, “Why he was lunch, dear.” Mom never missed an opportunity at Thanksgiving or Christmas, when I would comment on the turkey or ham. “At least you didn’t KNOW your meal,” accompanied by a painful sigh.

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  15. It is strange how we can become attached to people in the Fan Club of June even though most of us have never even met or seen a picture of one another. I will remember her face and the stories she shared about her life. Goodbye Cheech. Rest easy.

    Also, I have a cloch. I didn’t know it had a name. It has an old watch in it. The kind men wore on chains. Which has a name too, but it eludes me.

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  16. I think this post would have made Cheech laugh. Still so sad ever since reading about it. I am looking forward to watching the veedeo! And I want Sandra Boynton to be my BFF. She’s so cool. But not as cool as you, June.

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  17. Paula will be the one in black or beige with greyhound hair on her. Cat hair, too, but that wouldn’t distinguish her from 3/4 of the crowd here.

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  18. Cheech (Janelle L. Jackson Hersh) was a constant here, for sure. I’m realizing some people are not on facebook, but may want make a donation in her name to honor her memory. Should you want to do so, I know her family would be touched if you would like to donate to causes close to her heart:

    https://www.pabreastcancer.org/donate/
    as she was a breast cancer survivor.

    https://www.pabreastcancer.org/donate/
    as she was an animal lover.

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  19. This is such a lovely and helpful post. I like how people such as yourself can find the words for things that are just a vague blur of muddled thoughts for me. I’ve thought of her, too, and I’ve only seen one picture of her but I knew her name because I saw it a lot and she always had something interesting to say. This internet friendship stuff is so weird. It’s both too much and not enough at the same time. There are so many people to attach to but the attachments made are undefined and feel like ghost threads. Yet they are important, those ghost threads, but then they poof, dissappear.

    I’m glad you reminded me of the quaint times people would write long emails. I would look back on those days and feel an embarrassment for myself for having done it. I even had a friend tell me once that my emails were too long (and this was a friend, not a co-worker). It helps me to know it happened to others during those quaint, early days @2006.

    This is as much as I have typed to anyone in a long time. These days, mostly due to short attention spans, I get it said in 3 sentences. Now I wonder if I will look back on the 3 sentence era as my “harsh” days.

    I need better core muscles for all the balancing life takes. Your experiences help me all the time and I appreciate it. I know I’m better for knowing them. And today I learned what a cloche is. If I ever find one, human sized, with a hole at the top for air and sparkling reindeer already inside, I will definitely get it for you.

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    1. Did I ever tell you about the friend of mine who loved—LOVED—a really successful man? She wrote him this impassioned email about how she felt, all her feelings and emotions and thoughts (this was also probably circa 2006) and he wrote back, Thanks.

      Oh my god it’s my favorite thing ever and to this day I will occasionally write her just “Thanks” sometimes after she sends a long email.

      Anyway, my point is, you did a fine job expressing your thoughts. Also, thanks.

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      1. Oh my God, the first time I told a this one boyfriend that I loved him, he was silent for a minute and then just said “thanks” and then to pour salt on the wound, the phone rang a minute later and he told his buddy that he wasn’t doing anything special right then and sure, he’d love to go hang out. Hello? Your girlfriend is laying naked next to you in bed and you aren’t doing anything special? God, I was so stupid back then.

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  20. A wonderful post. I’m going to miss Cheech/Jenelle may she rest in peace. In the meantime, I am staying our of the barn.
    Don’t worry, June, the video is going to be posted just at the right time. I hope your kind heart finds comfort.
    Tee

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  21. June you have such a talent for expressing emotion. A lot of times your words exactly describe how I feel, sometimes before I could even pinpoint it in myself! Thank you for leading.
    RIP Janelle.

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  22. I take consolation that she is rid of all the trappings of this earth, but the hurt is real. When I saw it posted I did a big “oh no!” because there’s one less good person here with us.

    describing this situation as “barn kitty” made me snort, classic Jooon.

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  23. Yes? Made me laugh …a hysterical maniacal laugh. These last weeks of the year have been especially trying as if to get in a few more jabs. Thank you for the lovely post RIP Cheech. I didn’t know you very well but I loved you.

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  24. Goodbye Janelle, we will miss you and your bright spirit.
    It feels like we have all been here together for so long just hanging out on June’s porch. There will definitely be a sense of an empty space.

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  25. I’ll miss Cheech, too. I hope she did not have Covid. Is it weird to hope people die of the regular heart attacks and strokes rather than dumb Covid? Covid has caused more than it’s fair share of misery. 😢
    {inappropriate segue here}
    SOMEONE TRIED TO STEAL MARVIN?!

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  26. I’ve tried to explain Face the Nation of June to people. They don’t get it. They side-eye me. Some have talked to me about the dangers of talking to people (shudder, gasp) whom I don’t know on the internet. Now instead of dealing with it when I mention one of you I simply say “my friend June”, “my friend Paula”, “my friend Tee” and so on.
    I was stunned and so sad when I read Janelle had passed. She was funny and witty and just a good soul. I hope she knew that we all cared about her and how much she added to all of our collective days here at the house of June. She will be missed.

    Thank you to all of you for being my friend. My days would be lonelier and darker without all of you. Your comments and posts, both funny and serious, add so much to my life.

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          1. Oh baloney. That Me, too was supposed to be to Jan up there.

            To you, June, in one of your end of year videos of a few years ago you posted a picture of Tee, Fay, Sadie, Beverly and me. We were being bad in some way, as I recall. It’s especially good of Tee.

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  27. She saw you and knew you. And you her. It’s hard to have a life, a LIFE, and then it goes. I’m sorry for the pain this brings. It really sucks, and you wrote about it so beautifully.

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  28. I’m sorry, my dear. I had several untimely deaths right in a row some years ago. It’s jarring. Remain in your cloche. It’s safe in there. Life is weird.

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  29. That was beautiful.

    I haven’t been able to comment on your non-blog for a while because of work circumstances and my old eyes just don’t allow me to type a comment on my phone when I can sneak out to my car.

    But, I made a point to be in my old office this morning so I could share in your grief. Cheech brought something special to the Pie and she will be missed.

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  30. I loved the “adequate” video. I thought my internet was just being sluggish! So sorry about Cheech. I recently re-watched MOONSTRUCK and the part where Cher‘s character wakes up Olympia’s to tell her she’s engaged and O says “Who died?” made me laugh in a way it never did before. Because now I’m OLD and that’s how I think. So brace yourself for more literal ghostings. I now feel the need to listen to “Cherish” by the Association.

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    1. Yes! Your card was the only way I could have you in my video this year! I saw Marty Martin once. The Poet three times. What an absurd year.

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  31. I miss her already. I kept thinking last night how strange to get attached and be sad that someone’s gone when you never even met them. RIP, Janelle.

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  32. I am sorry that someone I didn’t know, passed away so suddenly, and left so many people so sad.

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    1. A. It SORT of is, but it’s decorating something in a specific way, with a chain of flowers, which sounds like something I would like. See: gaudy. B. I clicked on dictionary.com, which is one of my bookmarks seeing as I am a copy editor and all, and what I typed in was, “festoob.”

      Festoob. Goddammit.

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  33. She WAS a delight. I couldn’t sleep. It seems unreal. I hope she is happy where she is with her fiancée Monte. She will be very missed here.

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