When I was in late elementary/early junior high, my grandparents and some friends of theirs from church (my grandparents – well, just my grandmother, now – have been members of this church since long before I was born, my mom and then I grew up there) went to the local community center two or three mornings a week to walk laps around the gym. They called it their ‘walking club,’ and because I was home with them all summer, it was sort of my ‘walking club’ too, whether I wanted it to be or not. It was certainly earlier than I wanted to get up on any given summer day, but there was a whole gym to play in (the lady who ran the place gave me my first volleyball) and sometimes there’d be breakfast afterward, so I felt it was an even trade.
One of the couples who met my grandparents there was the Potts, Wesley and Viola. I’d known them both since I was a wee tiny thing, just like I had everyone at that church, but I knew them even better because once upon a time, they had a grandaughter named Ashley too. Their son married this lady who had a daughter nine months or so older than me, and she came to church with her grandparents all the time. We became friends pretty quickly. Since she was older, we decided she would be Ashley 1 and I would be Ashley 2, and that’s pretty much how people told us apart in conversation. (We briefly discussed Ashley and Ashley Also, but thought that was just silly.) I think I remember one Sunady where we played too long in the back classrooms and both sets of grandparents assumed we’d gone home with the other; in truth we’d gone home with neither and when we finally emerged there was no one left in the building except one of the elders, who forunately offered to drive us home.
I always liked spending time at Wesley and Viola’s house because they were two of the sweetest people ever; Viola was just about as good a cook as my own grandmother and Wesley fairly talkative and fun to listen to. Eventually their son divorced the woman he had married and she and Ashley 1 moved away; we lost touch, but her grandparents are still two of my favourite people.
Wesley Potts died last Friday.