When I was in second grade, my best friend, Terri Pederschmidt, moved away. I was despondent. Trust me – there is nothing more pathetic than a despondent 7 year old.

Shortly after that, a house went up for sale, just down the block from Clancy’s Market and Our Lady of Sorrows church. Our Lady and I – we knew sorrow. Jack and Marilyn Hobart bought that house and that’s when Pam came into my life.

I think we should have renamed the school Our Lady of Let’s Get This Party Started because that’s what happened.  That’s when it all began.

Me and Pam

Pam was a firecracker. A unifier. An organizer. Pam made things happen. She was the lynchpin of our social circle.

When we moved to the big world of high school, Pam branched out and made friends with everyone. She never met a stranger. Everyone knew her. Everyone loved her. But she called me her best friend.

Just after high school, I got a quick jump on getting married and having children (not necessarily in that order). Pam was my pillar.  She stood by me and helped me in every possible way. She never let me fail.

She was also a helluva lot of fun to have around and she made sure I occasionally left the stress of life behind and shared some of that fun with her.

Pam was my best friend and I was lucky to have had her.

Here’s what you need to know about Pam.

  • She cussed like a fucking truck driver.
  • She rocked the banana clip.
  • She hated her middle name.
  • She made the best chicken salad, which is why I make the best chicken salad.
  • She organized the most incredible float trips. And Halloween parties. And birthday parties – especially her own.
  • She compulsively cleaned which was only one of the reasons she was great to have at a party.
  • She made everybody dance. When Pam yelled at you to get your ass out on the dance floor, well, you got your ass out on the dance floor.
  • She was amazing with kids. Especially mine. My kids had 2 mommies way before it was trendy. My daughters were the first to call her  Aunt Pammy, but she was Aunt Pammy to many children before she had a niece and nephews of her own.
  • She never ever liked to waste a beautiful day. It didn’t matter how late she was out the night before, she’d be up early trying to get us moving to go outside, go to the park. Or something.
  • She had an endless supply of energy. She never stopped.

Well, until now and I just can’t fathom it. I can’t wrap my brain around a world that doesn’t have Pam bustling around somewhere, cleaning something, yelling at someone, making someone laugh.

I haven’t seen Pam much in recent years, but often on my birthday, my phone would ring and there she’d be. “Hey, Girl! Happy Birthday!” and it was like no time had passed at all.

I always expected Pam and I would have time in the future, when my kids were grown and we were retired, where we could sit together and reflect back on the good ol’ days. We would look through old photographs and lament over how we’d lost touch. I would say things like “I’ve missed you.” and “I should have come visit.”

But who am I kidding, that would never happen…. Pam did not sit. She’d be busy organizing my spice cabinet or something.

It’s been 20 years since life took Pam and me in different directions. That’s a long time, but I’ve never stopped referring to her as my best friend. I’ve never bestowed that important title on anyone else in my life.

Because Pam? Well… she’s irreplaceable.


Godspeed, Pam. I’ll miss you, and I’ll come visit.


Author’s note: Pam passed away in the spring of 2016, in her 50th year. The tribute above is what I read at her memorial service. I still talk to Pam, it’s just that now she can’t interrupt me. That’s probably hard for her but it makes me smile every time I think about it.