Kimberly Wylie, 1969-2018

They were little girls. I watched from the bedroom window as the three of them crossed Harding Avenue to the Circle-K on Northcrest Drive. I never gave the sight another thought.

A couple of months later, I happened to be in the Circle-K playing the arcade game ‘Tempest,’ when one of the little girls entered the store and began playing the ‘Pac-man’ game next to me. We got to laughing and talking where I learned her name was 12-year-old Kim Rogers.

Kim lived in the Bertsch tract area as I recall, so I figured they’d walked from someplace nearby, like Kacy’s grocery store, but I never thought to ask. And as I’m writing this, I’ve learned the two girls with Kim were her foster-sisters, Edithia and Samantha.

Kim was the same age as my youngest sister and stranger still, I learned she was only a day younger than Marcy. And as strange that might seem, the fact that she was born on my dad’s birthday, also endeared her to me.

Eventually, I went away, having reenlisted, so I didn’t see her for a long time after that. Jump forward about four years, where I’m managing a photo lab across the street from Denny’s when this teenage girl comes in to have a roll of 110 film processed. It was Kim!

We talked and talk and talk while I developed her film and printed pictures for her. It was wonderful to have rekindled an old and forgotten friendship, but unfortunately, life took me elsewhere and I didn’t see my young friend for another 25-years or more.

Then along came Facebook, where there were suggestions of people I might know based on places I’d lived, including Crescent City, California. One of the suggestions held a picture of a person I did know – it was Kim.

By this time, she was in her forties, married and had a daughter. It was so wonderful to reconnect and to catch up with this woman who had such a strong and wonderful faith in God.

Last time we chatted, I was continuing to tease her about her so-called ‘middle-name,’ of ‘Bob’ on Facebook. At some point after signing up, Kim planned to create a page for her cat, Bob, but somehow only managed to rename her own page giving her the middle name of Bob.

I tried to help her fix it – but…

Today though, I find myself once again in tears as I’ve learned my beautiful friend has passed away following a massive heart attack. I’m going to forever miss her smile, warm cheer and her laugh that would inevitably degenerate into a snort, that would start the process of laughter all over again.

So, once again, I find myself another friend closer to eternity. Rest in peace, my dear Kim, I’ll bring the quarters when I see you next.

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