It’s now been one full year since we lost Wendy Rieger.
To most, she was this charming, funny lady who anchored Channel 4 news at various times with a sharp mind and a bold laugh. But for me, she was Wendy from the neighborhood, as we grew up within a few blocks of each other in Norfolk. Luckily for me, from the sixth grade on, we stayed in touch.
I could tell you a dozen stories about her in her extreme youth, but the one I’m thinking about this morning involves a picture taken in the mid to late 1960s.
We were both attending Little Creek Elementary in Norfolk, and as was the tradition back then, they took a class picture every year. Kids of limited height got to sit in chairs in the front, the more moderately tall students stood in the middle, and those of us who were given the gift of height were on the back row. I’m 6-4, and while Wendy never grew THAT much, she was as tall or taller than me in the sixth grade. So in class pictures, we always seemed to end up standing next to each other.
There wasn’t anything particularly special about the picture. It just got thrown in a drawer with everything else from “the old days” when I left home after college, and somehow kept getting packed before each move to the next town, house, or new address on my life’s journey.