Well, unless you were a kid in the 1950’s in the United States, you probably don’t recognize either the frog or the quote. In a very popular(since there were very few) children’s television show called “Andy’s Gang” the frog appeared after Andy said, “plunk your magic twanger froggy.” Then this frog popped up from a wooden stand and said, “hiya kids, hiya, hiya.” The frog was a complete mischief maker, always interfering with the talks other guests were trying to deliver to the kids.
What on earth does that have to do with “cookie people,” those who sustained, comforted and encouraged me in my life? It connects through Ellen Schwartz, a sophomore when I was a very lonely freshman in college. She kept a plush stuffed frog on her bed, and when I first saw it I said,”plunk your magic twanger, froggy” and she said, “hiya kids,hiya, hiya.” It turns out they watched the same kids show in Cleveland, Ohio that I saw in Portland, Oregon.
She listened to me a great deal that first year, about my roommate, about the challenge of my classes, about boys, and about homesickness. At the end of that year, she invited me to join with three other sophomores in moving “off campus,” to the house I described a few weeks ago. She remained a good friend throughout my college years. After graduation she married a wonderful man and moved to Washington Heights in New York City where I was able to visit a number of times.
I lost touch with her after I moved back to Oregon and only learned of her death, in a tragic fall, when I read it in our alumnae bulletin. I grieved then for her life cut short. She provided a lifeline to me when I needed it most. And she did it simply by listening.