2005 February 11


Riverside, California

I would like to share a few of the ways Bette touched my life. Initially she was my mentor. When I first came to this country, a British high school teacher and found myself in an empty classroom awaiting the arrival of 35 4th graders the next day, I was more than a little lost. Bette and Kathi rescued me, taught me how to put up bulletin boards and on more than one occasion explained the differences between the English and American language. I was always in awe of Bette's visually beautiful and well organized classroom. She, Kathi and I had a lot of un teaching at Castleview and became firm friends.

Bette was also my guardian angel. I left Castleview and went to Gage middle school where Bette decided to join me for a couple of years. She did not enjoy teaching junior high, but I am convinced The Good Lord sent her to Gage just for me. I was going through a traumatic divorce during that time and it was Bette who listened to me every morning before school even though she had her day to plan, dried my tears, and sent me off to face the day. She was also there, rejoicing and dancing when I remarried.

At the Don and Jennifer Webb wedding reception, previous and current members of the "center room chats" pose. Mother-of-the-bride Bette celebrates behind Jan, Kathi, and Barbara Hunt (who Jan replaced), Riverside, 1989. 

(This photograph is repeated on both Jan's and Kathi's page because, after all the years of sharing, this is the only photograph of these three friends together.)

Most importantly, Bette was not only my best friend, she was my soul sister. She, Kathi and I had an enduring friendship. We met about once a week for 23 years, laughed, cried and told one another all our deepest feelings without reservation, knowing there would be no judgment. We knew all about one another's families, our joys and disappointments. A perfectionist, she was the only person I knew who could spend a whole year looking for the perfect bedspread. My last memory of Bette is the week before she died, hearing her laugh as we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of growing older. The three of us had planned to be residents of the same old folks home and break all the rules! She was beautiful inside and out and I shall always miss her. I think God for her life and love.