Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.
We lost our good friend and neighbor, Betty Meich, last week. It has been a difficult time for her since she lost her beloved husband Bob more than a year ago. She’s had more than her share of health issues. And, although, her daughter Kathy, son-in-law David and grandson Robert, who live not far away, have been devoted, caring and helpful in every way, her medical problems eventually became too great. We and her other neighbors will miss her as will her many friends and her loved ones, most especially Kathy, David and Robert.
We first met Betty and Bob at an open house we had a few months after we moved to South Milwaukee eight years ago. They brought us a lovely holly-decorated cheese plate and knife with a matching handle. We use it every Christmas and think of them.
Once when visiting us, Betty said a small alcove in the laundry room off the kitchen of our house that now contains a pantry had at one time been a bathroom. I could hardly believe it. The space was tiny. That might, however, explain the small vent fan in the ceiling we had wondered about.
Sometime later, perhaps a couple of years, we met a member of the family that had the house built and lived here for many years, who verified that the little space that's now a pantry had indeed been a bathroom—just a toilet, really—so he and his siblings could run in when they were playing outside and make a quick pit stop without having to track through the house. Smart. A sink was—and still is—next to the washing machine on the other side of the laundry room from where the "toilet closet" was located.
Betty and Bob's daughter Kathy grew up playing with the kids who grew up in our house. And they all played with the Spaltholz kids who grew up in a house across the street from Betty and Bob's house. One of the Spaltholz kids, Tom, is now married to our daughter. Interesting how circular some things can be. The old neighborhood, settled some 40-45 years ago by, among several others, the Meichs, Spaltholzes and original owners of our house, has seen a lot of change. With Betty's passing, the Spaltholzes are the only remaining of the original families.
So we won’t see Betty hanging her wash on the line on sunny days anymore, or call her from time to time to see how she’s doing. But she will stay in the hearts and minds of all of the neighbors--orginal and newcomer--who knew her. Peace be with you, Betty. We pray that all of your hopes and expectations have been realized.