Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tribute to Debbie~

This morning I woke - happy to see the sun shining in the windows, to have my husband beside me & looking forward to a nice, restful Sunday to spend with him.  As most of us do - these modern days - I looked at the Facebook news feed...  There - at the very top of the page;
It's so hard to write this..... Yesterday my mom passed away. My dad, the three if us kid and aunt Pam were all there.
In true Debbie Highbarger fashion she left us only after a camp out/ sleepover in her room with her husband, kids, sister and grand kids.
We plan in having a party after Christmas to celebrate her life. If you are in the mood to share, please leave a comment of great memory of mom. We (immediate family) would love to read the stories together as we celebrate her life.
Mick, Heather Salmen, Scott and Morgan

Debbie was my Best Friend - for almost fifty-years...  Since the day I started Junior High in a different part of town from where I'd attended elementary school.  My parents had recently divorced, my life was upside down, we'd moved & I was starting the school year, without knowing a soul. But - there was this blond!   Beautiful, Bold, Pushy as heck & before I knew it - I'd been adopted into her circle of friends.  Her family was huge - a sister, step-sisters - suddenly - I had a built-in group of friends!
Linda, Connie, Genji & Debbie - circa 1968
  Debbie was my rock, the friend who kept me sane.  I was confronted with many new responsibilities in those days.  Taking care of my younger brothers & little sister while Mom worked nights.  On weekends, if not working Mom caught up at home.   No real teenage fun times for me - it was all about the responsibilities I took on as the oldest, the one Mom had to depend on.   Debbie was the one I went to for advice & it was always sound.
August 1966
Our friendship strengthened as the years went by, Debbie lived only a couple blocks away & Mom liked her - not just because she was a good friend to me, but because she smoked.  Mom & Debbie would occasionally smoke together.  I couldn't go to parties, or out with friends - it was right home from school, chores, cook dinner for the kids, homework & finally tucking them into bed.  I'd lay awake most nights - waiting to hear Mom's car in the driveway to know she was home safe. 
Mom, my sister Laurie, Debbie's sister Audi, brother Jeff & Debbie - Feb. 1968
Sometimes on  Sundays, Debbie & I would dress Audi & Laurie - the four of us would walk to the neighborhood church.   Once in a while, Mom would hire a sitter & I'd go to the Peppermint Square Roller Skating rink with Debbie & her sisters!  Rock & Roll!  Beatles music & skate till you dropped :-)
Debbie & Connie
 In High School, we were forever hatching up plans to ditch & go swimming at Baseline Lake where Debbie's Dad & step-mother were caretakers.  There were dress codes too!  Anyone remember those?  We were required to wear a skirt!  It could be SHORT - Yes - the Mini was IN!  But NO pants!  So - we all decided to wear pants one early summer day.

We'd made it to our first period class when the PA system came on with a crackle as the V.P broadcast our names & asked that we come to his office.  We did - he explained that he thought we were all scheming something & that by the time we walked home, then found a ride to return - that we'd might as well take the day & return the following back in our skirts!  :-)   

Debbie spent many a summer trying her best to teach me to swim!  The day she made me swim out to the floating dock at the reservoir was a Big Day!  I was scared to death & she would have let me drown if I hadn't made it!  :-)
Debbie, Jeff & Audi Summer 1967
 Dating made things tough - we always fell for the same boys!  That always caused friction!  Eventually - I married & Debbie married Mick.  One day I was home, pregnant with my first & the phone rang...  Debbie... pregnant too, lonely too & suddenly all was forgiven.  We camped together, found crafts to do, bought houses in the same neighborhood & played Bunco on weekends!

 Butch & I found each other & Butch moved me to WA.  Mick built Debbie the amazing Victorian home in the country that she'd always wanted.  Never far from the water, Debbie had to have the pool!  Butch & I made several trips over the years - always too short...  Always enjoying the warmth & hospitality Mick & Debbie were famous for.
Scott, Debbie, Mick & Butch - 2008
To think of her gone from this earth - has knocked the wind from my sails...   Now, I'm left -  the keeper of those memories - the days of our youth;  when we were oh so young, her beauty, the joy of seeing her smile, that gravelly voice, that funny laugh...   Her life revolved around her family - always the center of her universe.  The strength of her presence...   

Here's to you dearest friend - may you rest in peace, knowing that all of us who loved you - will continue on as you'd want us to do.  Your favorite holiday - Christmas - will forever bring happy memories of you...


  1. That is a wonderful tribute.. I'm sorry you have lost such a dear friend.

  2. That was a beautiful tribute to Debbie. Thanks for sharing.

  3. what a lovely tribute to your dear friend. I'm sorry for your loss! hugs
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  4. Dear Connie, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your tribute is beautiful and will be a comfort to her family too. My heartfelt condolences to you.

  5. I'm so sorry, but you painted an amazing picture of a great friendship. Great photos and lovely memories...

  6. Heather, I'm so sorry to hear the loss of your mom. I remember having my band play for your graduation and your wedding reception and watching your mom dance to Margaritaville with a smile on her face. She will be missed

  7. I am so, so sorry about the loss of your old friend. Your tribute is just beautiful.

  8. Connie, I am so sorry to hear that Debbie is gone. She was a true friend. That was the main reason I liked her. Last time I saw Debbie, she was at McDonalds with her grandchildren. I will miss her to.
    Love, mom.

  9. What a beautiful tribute! I bet her story about the two of you would be a lot of the same. Full of love and everything else around it. Hugs to you!


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