A List of Anne Memories

May 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm (Uncategorized)

Today would have been Andrea’s 33rd birthday. I woke up thinking about her, and of the memories I have of moments we shared. There are too many to list, but I want to set down in writing some of the most vivid ones I remember. Anne was my nickname for her…after Anne of Green Gables. It’s the name I most called her and how I still think of her.

1. The Phone Call

When my parents first moved to our dream home in the mountains of Colorado, I had no friends. I didn’t know a single person actually. In California I had a ready-made peer group made up of girls that I’d know since birth. The thought of having to make new friends in this place where I had no connections was…well, daunting. Then, out of the blue, I got a phone call from a girl named Andrea Janski. She had gotten my name and number off the homeschool registration list. I think my mom had met with her mom Debbie, so Andrea knew a little about me, but not much more than that I was close to her age and didn’t know anyone in the area. We talked for a long time during that call…the first of so many. We found out that we had in common a love of books and of writing, the same taste in movies, and could both quote from any Adventures in Odyssey episode you could name. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.

2. The Sunburn

If you know anything about springtime in Colorado, you know that it is really an extension of winter, and that it lasts forever. By the time you can safely expose skin to the air without risking frostbite that skin is so white from being so long hidden it could give the Cullens a run for their money (just no sparkle unfortunately). Anne and I eagerly awaited the first warm day when we could start working on our tan (hey, you can take the girls out of California, but you can’t take California out of the girls!) Finally the perfect day arrived. We decided to put on shorts and lay on my trampoline to soak up the rays. We lay there for hours, talking about our hopes and dreams and fantasies…all while absorbing enough UV rays to roast a pig. The Colorado sun is merciless…and naturally we’d neglected to apply any kind of sunscreen. By that evening our legs were the brightest red they’d ever been, and we were both in agony. We spent hours bathing our legs in cold water in her parents’ jacuzzi tub and applying layers of Neutrogena to our burns (not sure if that helped any, but we were going for any relief we could think of). We learned our lesson about the necessity of sunscreen that day. The only thing that made the pain bearable was that we were both experiencing it together.

3. Ballet Camp

Anne and I had many common interests, but when we both discovered a love of ballet our friendship took on a whole new level. We were single-minded in our pursuit of dance greatness, although we had started late (we were both in our mid-teens when we began taking lessons) and neither one of us had the “ideal body type” of a dancer, we worked our tails off to become the best that we could. We spent hours practicing our technique and choreographing dances. I think it was Debbie who suggested that we form a worship dance group, choreographing dances to praise and worship songs to be performed at church and for homeschool functions. Anne, Jenelle and I took the idea and ran with it. We even had the brilliant idea to hold a “ballet camp” one week during the summer to practice and choreograph. We had a “majority rules” approach to choreography disputes that we employed with great enthusiasm, which unfortunately led to a few lost tempers and hurt feelings. Through it all we managed to hang on to and even deepen our friendship. Dance was such a huge part of my life through my teen years, and I never think about dancing without thinking about Anne too.

4. The Princesses

Our costumes for our worship dance crew were…interesting. We had to be modest of course, so tight-fitting leotards were out. Instead, Mom made us long, billowy skirts and white peasant-style tops. We completed our look by tying gold ribbons in our hair. I don’t remember who it was who first made the observation…it might have been me to Anne. I told her that she looked just like Snow White. She replied that I looked like Cinderella. Jenelle, we decided, was a ringer for Belle. And thus a new obsession was born. We started collecting all manner of paraphernalia related to our “princess.” We called each other by our princess names. For my sixteenth birthday, Anne and Jenelle threw me a surprise party. Guess what the theme was? I’m pretty sure the three of us, thanks to our generous parents and grandparents, helped the Disney Store stay afloat during those years. 🙂

5. Leadership Camp

I’m not sure where she heard about it, but Anne was determined to go to a certain leadership academy that was held during the summer in a beautiful little mountain town south of Denver. The camp lasted for two weeks. Anne and I went twice. Our first year we some how got it into our heads that all the attendees were ultra-conservative, and in order to fit in we should wear skirts and dresses the whole time. Needless to say we ended up sticking out like sore thumbs among a sea of jeans and t-shirts, but hey, you can’t say we didn’t make a fashion statement! Thankfully we didn’t really care that we didn’t necessarily fit in with everyone else, because who needed a whole group of new friends when we had each other? We reveled in our trips to “town,” where we spent hours wandering through gimmicky souvenir shops and gorging ourselves on sweets from the candy store we found. We felt so grown up when we dined at a little cafe, just the two of us, and carefully selected mementos to take home, and gifts for all our friends and family. I don’t really remember the content of the “academy,” or all the lectures we sat through, but I will always savor the memories I have of Anne and I experiencing our first taste of adult-like freedom…together.

I have so many more memories…trips to Elitch Gardens, lunch at the Coney Island hot dog, swimming in Grandma Bernice’s jacuzzi, counseling at Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je, homeschool conferences, Christian concerts…and just the regular days that we spent together. Almost every significant memory I have during my teen years involved Anne. She and Jenelle were my peer group, my confidantes, my BFFs, my sisters. Although time passed and distance separated us, when we saw each other again we were as close as we’d ever been. I’m so thankful for the memories…all the special and ordinary times we shared together. I love you Anne. I can’t wait to reminisce with you again. In Heaven.


  1. Sarah (@SarahSimplyMe) said,

    Beautiful post, Dana. I think of all the sweet memories too. I have to admit my most favorite time in my childhood years was spent with you all. It was the most special memories I have of friendship in my young teens. Somehow, I guess I just slipped away from the group when we moved, then joined the military. But it was a sweet time when I was in Conifer. 🙂

    I sure wish I had seen her once more. We live only one state away. :/

    It truly is a comfort know she is with the Lord, and I WILL see her again.

  2. Joy said,

    This is so sweet, Dana. I saw firsthand how good you were to and for each other. Your friendship stood the test of time and distance, which shows how strong it was. Hugs to you!

  3. Rebecca Salley (Howell) said,

    I remember all the dress up adventures we hadin their basement, her love for mustard even on eggs, lol! I remember how she organized her medicine that spells Michael W Smith and how jealous I was. Because I loved Michael W Smith just as much as she did.

    And also the DC talk and Michael W Smith concert we did with Dana and our dad’s.

    She will be greatly missed by all. She had such a special unique soul. I love you Andrea and thank you for how you challenged me in my walk with God. You are an Angel for sure.

    Hope heavens rocks and can’t wait to see you!
    ♡ Becky

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