My parents were realtors at Redhill Forest when I was in High School (1982-84). So, I spent most of my summertime at Redhill.
My cousin Tim also spent the summers with our family during those years and he found and introduced me to the Gedack family (he was smitten with her). It was love at first sight of the Gedack family. There was something very special about them all, and I admired every one of them, but especially Monika. She quickly became the best friend I have ever had in my entire life.
My best childhood memories are of those summers that we hung out on that mountainside: hiking, riding the Trail 90 motorbike, fishing the middle fork of the South Platte river, singing songs around the campfire at nights, Burro Days in Fairplay, cooking dinner in their kitchen, watching their old family movies by their fireplace, talking about our boyfriend problems in her room and vowing we would both just become "nones" (nuns), and talking about the cold "burrr"😂. On Saturday mornings, when I arrived at Redhill from Colorado Springs, I would immediately call her so I could spend the day feeling that love and soaking in those memories. When I was there early enough, her family would let me come over as they would hold church services at their home, reading the bible, discussing it's meaning, and singing hymns. I would watch in amazement as Monika would beautifully play the piano and she and her family would sing to their Heavenly Father. I was with her when she ran her first 5k race and remember the excitement when she got her first car. Believe me when I say, I could never have loved a friend more than I loved Monika.
During the winters it was hard because I could only visit her on an occasional weekend. Instead, we would write each other letters, some of which I gave to her when I visited her in Seattle years later. Her handwriting still amazes me to this day!
I would look for times when long distance calls were at a cheaper rate just so I could call and talk to her. Once, my mom made me pay the phone bill because of the large bills I had racked up. There were no cell phones back then, but the cost was more than worth it!
One of the funniest stories I have of Monika was from her "attempt" at becoming a blonde. I showed up at her house one morning, and she was in a panic. I couldn't help but laugh when she opened the door and her hair was as orange as a clown. She was mad that I was laughing, and told me how she had just tried to dye her hair blonde. She had no idea that trying to become a blonde from a brunette would turn her head orange. We drove into Fairplay where she asked me to go into the store to get her a box of dark brown hair color to dye it back. She didn't want anyone to spot her with her new orange hairdo. To this day, I don't think she or I ever tried to become a blonde again. However, she didn't need to be a blonde because she was already the most gorgeous girl I have ever known. I'm still not sure what she was thinking. LOL.
Monika was a year ahead of me in school, so she ended up in college in Denver. We made plans that, once I graduated a year later, we would become roommates. I found a college in the middle of Denver to attend one that would be close enough for Monika and I to room together. Unfortunately, instead, I ended up getting engaged and married instead of going off to Denver. I had found someone that loved me and was scared to lose that. Monika, of course, was the Maid of Honor at my wedding, and she soon moved to California and married Bruce. We saw each other on occasion, but it would never be the same with such distance between us. Many years later, through Facebook, I was able to track her down and I came out to Seattle to visit her and her beautiful daughters. She asked me to be her Maid of Honor at her second marriage, and I was extremely grateful that she picked me for that privilege.
Monika was one of the most beautiful, wonderful, amazing souls I will ever know. You all also got to see that, as she had a lot of admirers. To get to be a small part of her life was something that has impacted me greatly, and I will forever cherish some of the best times of my life with her.
Six minutes after she passed away, I was jolted from my sleep. I firmly believe it was Monika coming to tell me goodbye and that she can now understand the impact she had on me and the love I will always hold for my best friend. I can't wait until we meet again and share those special high school memories and love that we had for each other. Rest in Peace best friend!