An Unexpected Friendship, and the Last Supernova Question

October 7, 2014
Supernova quilt, by Carlie Lincoln, including blocks made by both Carlie Lincoln and Susan Horvath during the 2014 Supernova Swap

Supernova quilt, by Carlie Lincoln, including blocks made by both Carlie Lincoln and Susan Horvath during the 2014 Supernova Swap

I have a new friendship to tell you about– one that I never saw coming.  Isn’t it funny when new a friend sneaks into your life, without you even realizing that it was happening?

About 6 months ago, my home phone rang.  I don’t know about you, but we rarely even use our home phone anymore… always the cells. Sometimes I don’t even answer the home phone to avoid telemarketers.

However that day, I noticed that the last name on the caller ID was the same as mine.  So of course, I answered it, a bit intrigued.

The woman who called is probably in her 70s or 80s; we’ll call her Max (it wouldn’t be fair to share her real name).  She was looking for her grandson, Sam (yes, another pseudonym).   I explained that she had the wrong number. She apologized profusely, and said that she had called Information and they had given her my number.  We exchanged niceties, and hung up.  I thought nothing of it.

After that phonecall, Max called five more times that day. I answered the second time, but ignored the ringing after that, feeling somewhat disconcerted that she didn’t seem to remember calling the first time.

The next day began with the ring of the phone.  I tried to ignore it, but I couldn’t.  So instead, I started answering Max’s calls.

Six months have now gone by, and I have spoken to Max almost every day, except for the month that I was travelling over the summer with my family.

For the first few months of our daily conversations, she never remembered me at all, or that she had accidentally called me the day before.

We had the same conversation over and over…

“Hi Mrs. Palmer.  How are you today?  Oh, good.  My name is Stephanie Palmer.  No, your grandson Sam isn’t here at this number.  There seems to be some confusion about which number you should call to reach him.”

I wonder if it’s Alzheimer’s, or perhaps a vascular dementia, or multiple TIAs.  I’m not sure.

I can hardly believe it, but an amazing thing has happened.  Mrs. Palmer sort of remembers me now.  Each time she calls, she is confused by the situation at first.  She never knows that she’s dialing me each time. She truly expects to hear her grandson Sam’s voice on the other end of the call.

But now, when I explain that it’s me, and that she accidentally got my number from 411, she laughs and seems to remember a bit.  She calls me “darling” and tells me how sweet I am.  She promises to cross out the number in her phone book, and swears that she won’t make the mistake again. I ask her about her dogs, and her the housekeeper who takes care of her (she’s been through a couple now), and what she did during the day, and whether she’s seen Sam lately.

She tells me how sad she is, because her husband, son and daughter have all passed away, and her grandson Sam is her only connection to the world now. But she says she is well taken care of, and that our conversations brighten her day.

Sometimes my conversation with Max bring me to tears.  Sometimes I hang up, laughing, after the funny things she’s said.

Regardless, I know I look forward to her calls each day.  Her friendship is an unexpected blessing.

And the thought of her not calling anymore…. well, that’s just too terrible to think about.

When she called yesterday, I asked for her address.  I am going to send her a quilt.  What should it be, I wonder? I wish I could do more for her, but a least the warm, soft quilt will deliver the hug I would like to send.

Carlie's beautiful binding... Carlie and Susan have said that they have developed a deep friendship during this swap. And nothing makes me happier.

Carlie’s beautiful quilting and binding… Carlie and Susan have said that they have developed a deep friendship during this swap. And nothing makes me happier!

My friendship with Mrs. Palmer helped bring to mind the question I would like to ask of you….

If you are participating in the Supernova block swap, I invite you to share the answer with your partners for the last month of our swap.

What unexpected blessings do you have in your life?





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  • Reply claradeneAlthea October 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    What a wonderful happening. This brought sweet tears. You are blessed.

  • Reply Cathy October 7, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    That’s awesome!!! Thanks so much for sharing! And send “Max” our love too!

  • Reply quiltingjetgirl October 7, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    What a beautiful friendship and story. I hope that she *loves* the quilt, even if she does not remember where she got it. 🙂

  • Reply Izzy October 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Your blog post almost brought me to tears. My mother-in-law passed away last Spring and she has Alzheimer’s. I hope she too had some bright spots in her days like those you are giving Max. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Reply Catherine Silling October 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    that is an unexpected and lovely story, Stephanie. You may be one of her few connections with the outside world and I am sure it enriches her life when she speaks to you! how sweet!

  • Reply Rachel Dreher October 9, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I LOVE this story! You are so incredibly sweet and I’m sure she will treasure your quilted gift!

  • Reply kittywilkin October 9, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    This is SO sweet! I, too, am moved to tears. What a blessing you are to that dear woman, and visa versa. Imagine how life would be different if you just were frustrated and stopped answering her calls. One tiny inconvenience might turn into a gift bigger than you ever imagined. So soooo sweet, and thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Denise in PA October 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    This story gives me chills. So glad, for both of you, that you kept answering the phone! What a gift.

  • Reply Chris Teague October 11, 2014 at 10:18 am

    That is a powerful reminder that everyone comes into our lives for a purpose. Now my question is: are there 4 Questions for the partners to answer and share? (or have I missed one?)

  • Reply Chelsea Huckins October 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    That is an amazing story! Unexpected blessing is my students. I told one of my students I had a love of pink starburst the next day the student showed up with a handful of only pink starbursts. It’s the little things like this everyday that keep me in teaching 🙂

  • Reply Cheryl October 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    What a beautiful story and a wonderful blessing.

  • Reply bkringel October 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I love this post. Thank you for sharing the story. Such a nice way to bring joy to to woman. Your patience and kindness are uplifting.

  • Reply kris October 22, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    That is the best story!

  • Reply Stephanie November 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Stephanie, this is such a beautiful story. I volunteered for an elderly hotline some years ago. We would call older folks who lived alone and just needed a friendly check-in. There was one lady, Mrs. Smith, who I absolutely loved calling. She had the wildest stories and I looked forward to my conversations with her every week. Sadly, one day her son picked up and informed me that she had passed. It was a hard day and I still have tears about it. But, I know that I brightened her world a little just as she did mine. I think what you are doing is wonderful. Have you tried getting in touch with Sam?

  • Reply slcquilter November 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    This is such a beautiful story; thank you for sharing it! How wonderful that her call reached someone with the patience and kind heart that you have! Thank you on behalf of all of us with (or now without) elderly mothers

  • Reply Thearica Burroughs November 14, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Angels unawares.

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