Remembering the good times with a family friend

ANJA Mcbride, 13

I used to live on Baraga Street. When we lived there we had neighbors that lived two houses away from us and they were really nice. Their names are Renee and Ron Wicklund. They have three kids and four grandchildren. Renee is a long-standing member of the Sunshine Girls, a band full of bright colors and happy feelings that often sing together at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans. Renee plays many instruments, including the accordion, which seems to be her favorite.

Ron taught me that when I am sad, or just not happy at all, I must smile and look at things with a positive attitude. Unfortunately, a few months ago, Ron started to get really sick and he started getting worse and worse. Eventually, it was hard for him to move around on his own, and then he unexpectedly passed away. It was sad for everyone and when I found out, I cried a lot, but now I just like to think of all the fun memories with him, because that is what Ron would have wanted me to do.

Ron was always really funny and loved to joke around. When you were around him, you could never tell how he was feeling, because on the outside he was always happy. Ron loved to watch “Married with Children” on TV. I remember that a few weeks after he passed away, I saw a set of DVDs with all the episodes of “Married with Children” on it and I smiled because they reminded me of Ron. My mom and I are still making even more fun memories with the Wicklund family, as we continue to visit Renee and support her and make sure she is doing well. We are grateful that we met the Wicklunds when we did because they have been very supportive of my family as well, and now we can continue to support them. I have an aunt who lives in Chicago who has not even officially met Renee, but she is a Facebook friend with her because she is also grateful of how supportive they have been of my mom and me during the past few years.

One of my favorite memories I have with the Wicklunds so far is when we would watch TV together. We would simply hang out and chill … because that was mostly what we did at the Wicklunds’ house, we just chilled. My mom and I even have a nickname for Renee and Ron. We like to call them our “grandparents on the block.” We call them this because they are like family to us, and they live on the block that my mom and I used to live on.

When Ron passed away, my mom let me look at his obituary. In the obituary it said that there would be no funeral, but you could donate flowers, or more importantly, “look to the stars and give Ron a thumbs up for a life well accomplished.” So that is exactly what I did. Thumbs up for Ron!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Anja McBride is an avid reader and has been writing for 8-18 Media for several years.