In Memory

Cheryl L. Jones

Cheryl L. Jones

Cheryl Jones was born in December of 1946 and passed away in 2008 of cancer at the age of 62. She lived in Minneapolis and was survived by her husband and two daughters.

We met climbing an oak tree on the corner of 56th and Kellogg. We were each friends of Jan Mercer and we all were about 11 or 12 years old. Jan, her parents and brother Billy lived on the corner of 56th and Wooddale. My family lived at 56th and Oaklawn with backyards abutting the backyards of the houses on Kellogg where the Jones family lived. We three became fast friends from the same 'hood but within a year, when Jan's family moved to Florida, Cherry and I filled our common loss by becoming each other's best friend.

We both went to Concord Elementary School and were in the 6th grade but had different teachers. Although school bus service was provided from our neighborhood we had to walk two or three blocks away from school to catch the bus. Cherry and I reasoned that we could be half way to school by walking in the right direction. So we did. Everyday we walked to school together and home again in the afternoon. Each morning leaving her house she would run through the Holstad's immaculate lawn, climb over the Twite's white fence, zip across Mary Laird's yard and on to our house where we were usually just finishing our oatmeal on cold mornings. Cherry always had some amusing observation to pass along and my parents loved her. My dad nicknamed her Cheryl-the-Barrel simply because it rhymed. She was fond of my dad but confided later that Cheryl-the-Barrel was not her favorite moniker.

I loved our walks. We sloshed through rain and snow and the time flew by as we talked and laughed about everything. As emerging teens we shared our self-doubts and anxieties about our appearance. Her sister Murry, she said, got the naturally curly hair and her sister Susan was tall and gorgeous while she, Cherry, got the freckles and the large head. I remember her large blue eyes, thick, brown hair, and a ready smile alerting me that we were in for some fun.

At 12 we may have been on the brink of the teen years but we were still very much enjoying our childhood. Annually, Cherry and I looked forward to Halloween pushing the trick or treat gig well into junior high. Each year our loot route expanded as we sought to maximize our returns. As aging trick-or-treaters we devised elaborate costumes to distract benevolent candy donors from noticing that we were wa-a-ay too old to be doing this. For our final foray we arrived on prospective Halloween doorsteps standing side-by-side inside a large double-sized mattress box with tiny holes cut out to see where we were going. We stumbled from door to door with frequent headlong spills taking a toll on our candy haul.

After that year we reluctantly retired our loot bags. Collaboration inside the mattress box paid off in later years when I suggested that the two of us audition for the school talent show as a dancing horse. Cherry, always game for anything, agreed. My mom and her mom both were excellent and talented seamstresses and produced for us a remarkable painted pinto costume with legs. It was another example of Cherry's good nature when I demanded to be the head and forelegs, she agreed to be the remaining section. As I recall we didn't practice much and we didn't win either. But we laughed a lot clomping around the stage as a painted pinto dancing to the William Tell Overture.

When we couldn't think of anything else to do we walked to 50th and France to buy candy at Clancy's. One summer day on our way home along Halifax Avenue we decided to walk through the backyards as we did in our own neighborhood. Cherry spotted a vegetable garden full of ripe beans and tomatoes and we started picking and eating like it was our own garden. Within a few minutes a squad car pulled up and a policeman sauntered up to us accompanied by the garden owner herself. He of course made copious notes, admonished us not to ever, EVER, do that again and escorted us to our homes in the squad car. As he pulled up outside he said the police department would be calling our parents and that it would be a good idea if we tell them ourselves first before they get the call. I think it was our only brush with the Law. Now if we could have continued picking vegetables unnoticed and had picked enough to take home, Cherry would have known what to do with them.

Cooking came naturally to her and she was always a good cook. We liked to bake cookies or anything in her kitchen. In later years when her mom was at work, Cherry would start the dinner or check on something her mom had previously prepared and taste it to correct the seasoning. Later, before football games she and I liked to host pre-game potluck dinners for a group of our friends. Whatever Cherry made would always be devoured. Before dating trumped other weekend activities we were sought-after as babysitters. I got most of my babysitting jobs because Cherry was already booked. Parents loved her and even more important, their kids loved her. Again, she was a natural. She was caring, playful, tolerant, generous, forgiving, fun and loving - all character traits I know she has passed on to her own children. I consider myself so lucky to have known her as my friend and will remember her always.




go to bottom 
  Post Comment

06/17/14 06:59 PM #1    

Richard C. (Dick) Lindskoog

Very very nice comments! Thanks for sharing.

06/18/14 02:28 PM #2    

Bruce Lee

Cindy, that was a heartfelt and very classy tribute to Cherry.  I am sorry that you've lost the friends whose memories rekindle the thoughts of a enjoyable youth.

06/18/14 09:07 PM #3    

Kathleen L. Babic (Handzlik)

A wonderfully written tribute to Cheryl.  I remember the Pinto in the talent show!


09/17/16 03:47 PM #4    

Jeffrey S. Leaman



Wow, Cindy what a wonderful tribute to her!!!  When I ride the Big Train in the sky, I certainly hope someone remembers this old soldier with such affection...   Thanks Cindy 


09/18/16 06:14 PM #5    

Diane M. Dillner (Zollars)

In reading the post by Cindy Riebe, I would only hope anyone would feel the same emotion about me.  Truly a wonderful statement about how much those two meant to each other.  It was just beautiful.  Diane Dillner Zollars

09/18/16 07:53 PM #6    

Betsy J. Cook (Hoekstra)

What a beautiful tribute  and gift !  Touched my heart

09/19/16 10:20 AM #7    

Jean L. MacIntosh (Mankamyer)


What a touching remembrance of your friend. Cherry could not have asked for a more heartfelt tribute to your friendship - nor a better friend. It's clear from your comments about her, you were both blessed to have had each other in your lives.








09/25/16 03:43 PM #8    

Lee W. Reierson

After reading Cindys comments about Cheryl it made me a bit envious I never had a friend that good while growing up.Memories like that cant be obtained in any other way.Thank you Cindy and such a well written and beautiful story.. You both get an A+

09/27/16 07:04 PM #9    

Merrilee Buchanan (Demartini)




go to top 
  Post Comment