I lost my dearest friend, Naomi Wing, yesterday morning, July 14th.
I’m so very happy I got to visit with her last Wednesday when I went to Alamosa for my yearly physical. I took her outside to feel the sunshine on her back and breath the outside air. We chatted and laughed. We picked a couple of flowers so she could see them up close and talked about the rhubarb she use to have in her yard and all the ways we use to cook it. Naomi loved her garden, especially her peonies.
I met Naomi about 30 years ago when I joined her chapter of Beta Sigma Phi. When she broke her hip 17 years ago I visited her in the nursing home where she was recuperating and then continued to visit her at her home. Since she didn’t have any family in town I kinda watched over her taking her shopping to doctor’s visits, etc. About nine years ago it was safe for Naomi to be at home by herself, so she went into a nursing home. I visited her frequently and after we went on the road as fulltime RVers I sent her postcards and phone her.
Naomi was 97 1/2 years old and as sharp as a tack all the way to the end. Although in a wheelchair, Naomi was a avid reader, especially mysteries and anything Jimmy Carter wrote. She read the whole Valley Courier newspaper everyday, cover to cover….I think even all the classified ads!
Naomi taught me how to quilt, making me hand piece and quilt my first quilt…a miniature, but still a pain….Naomi required 10-12 stitches an inch and that wasn’t easy, or even possible in my case.
Widowed at an early age she had difficulty finding housing as a single mother. Finally a gentleman rented her a small house that use to sit where the Boyd Elementary School garden sat. Naomi would ride her bike from there to Adams Normal School (as Adams State University use to be known back then) to become a teacher. As she rode she was trailed by her son, Paul, as he rode his bike along with her. Naomi would put Paul on the floor under her desk with a coloring book to keep him occupied while she attended each of her college classes. Isn’t that an extraordinary story?
Naomi taught school for 39 years, mostly third grade. She was a stern teacher and exacting teacher. But in the years following her retirement when I’d take her out shopping we always met one of her former students and they always praised her saying, “you was harsh but boy did I learn from you”.
Naomi told me of Evans school not having a cafeteria and how she walked home from school to prepare lunch for her and her children, eating and cleaning up and walking back to school to continue teaching the rest of the day. Amazing.
Naomi loved to knit, quilt and dabbled in painting also. She had exquisite taste in clothing and home décor….always partial to brown tones, but liked jewel tones in clothing. In fact, she asked me to knit her a shawl in purple with some red stripes. I bought the yarn two weeks ago but hadn’t started knitting it yet….I’m sorry about that.
I know I am rambling on, but it has been good for me to reminisce. Naomi was such a lady and I learned so much from her about life and how to treat people. I will miss her tremendously.
There will be a memorial service for Naomi on Saturday, July 20th at 11 a.m. at Rogers’ Family Mortuary on State Avenue in Alamosa. I sure hope many of her former students would attend.