Sweet Memories with My Friend, Mrs. Kaya

Sweet Memories, artwork by Saugus resident and artist Naomi Young. Courtesy photo
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I’m almost nine years old. My family and I had just moved to a new neighborhood so I still don’t know many girls my age out here. But I have an old neighbor, a nice old lady who lives across the street. Her name is Mrs. Kaya. She’s a widow with two grown up sons who moved away. Now when she lives on her own, it must be very lonely for her so I go to visit her every once in a while to keep her company. She has a beautiful, long, braided grey hair and very kind and smiling eyes, even with her missing teeth.

Every time I see her I learn some new words when she speaks “espaniol” to me in her broken Hebrew. On hot summer days she says to me with a wide smile: “Kirida mia, my dear, please go get some ice cream for both of us.”  I get some coins from her and walk for a few minutes to an ice cream factory up the street from her house.

When I go inside, it’s like walking into a freezer, but it’s worth it because of the delicious sweet smell of the ice cream inside. Usually she gets a chocolate ice cream on a stick and I get an ice Popsicle with a lemon flavor or an apricot flavor. We sit and lick our ice cream like two little girls, giggling and enjoying our sweet time together.

Yesterday when I visited Mrs. Kaya she wasn’t her usual self. She was complaining that she was cold, freezing cold.  She was shivering and wearing socks and a few sweaters. I put another one on her and covered her with a blanket, but she was still cold as ice.

Today I saw a lot of commotion going on around her house. I heard someone saying that Mrs. Kaya had died. I don’t understand what that means. Where did she go? For how long? Will I ever see her again?

I grapple with this dying thing for a very long time as I have never lost anyone dear and near to me before.  She was someone whom I liked very much. I am so sad and confused. How am I supposed to understand it and I’m not even nine years old yet?

Do they even have ice cream popsicles wherever she is now?

Oh, how I wish I could see her one more time so I could enjoy again an ice cream with my friend, Mrs. Kaya, just one more time…



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