My first acquaintance with Helen began, naturally, in a Peace and Justice ministry at Woods Presbyterian Church. She then became my informal teacher of Presbyterian beliefs and creeds. We were often in adult Bible study classes together, roommates at Session and Women's retreats, and belonged to Esther Circle. She had a talent too for getting women and men involved particularly with church activities. One morning I arrived at church to see Helen with one of those big mops cleaning up a spill. She couldn't find a custodian and did it herself.

We became closer friends on that memorable trip in 1985 when Terry Schoener took Woods members to Greece and Turkey following in travels of St. Paul.

Helen was ever alert to the needs of others and often volunteered husband Charlie's help too. In 1990 Helen and I joined the College on its trip to Russia. When we got to National Airport in D. C. we were asked for our passports. To my embarrassment, mine was at home in Arnold and we had less than 2 hours before our plane departed for Newark. What to do? Helen said, "Don't worry, Charlie would be glad to bring it to me!" I knew my neighbors were too frightened to drive the Belyway and I couldn't reach my husband. And, Charlie, I truly didn't want to ask such a big favor of you. But I did want to take that trip. We reached Charlie by phone just after he had taken Carole to the BWI airport. And that blessed man found his way into my house and the location of the passport and rushed it to me. I caught a later plane and met our group in Newark. May God forever smile on you, Charlie. We were in Russia while Communists still ruled and it was a most interesting travel. Chandeliers in the subway system, very little to buy - Katrina dolls! And always a Russian trying to exchange something for American dollars. We went to the circus, attended an opera, rode the train between Moscow and St. Petersburg and played bridge late into the night with Professor Tengwall and his wife.

We rode an early bus to D. C. on a cold January day in 1992 to see the inauguration of Bill Clinton as President. We arrived so early we saw some of the floats still being assembled. We had no tickets for reserved areas or viewing stands so we just kept walking from the Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue seeing the crowds assemble sidewalk deep in that brilliant sunshine. We waved to Dan Quayle and stretched to see Bush and Clinton in their limousine. As it got colder we sought warmth, food, and a restroom. The Willard was perfect and it was in its nice warm bar that we saw the inauguration and heard Maya Angelou read her poem. Thoughtful gentlemen offered us their bar stools and we were most content, and warm. We did see Hillary and Bill as they walked up 15th Street to the White House (she has heavy legs!) and the crowds were unimaginable. We have our presidential inauguration jerseys to supplement our memories.

We did get to Israel in 1992 on a walking trip. Our tour agent was Esther, a lovely Jewish woman who had relatives in Israel with whom we dined. Our Israeli tour guide and bus driver were Jewish and scared to death to be in the Palestine controlled areas, such as Bethlehem. We had a total of 6 travelers, plus our guides, Harriet, Helen and I and 3 from the D. C. area. We stayed at kibbutz's, walked and picnic'd in Galilee, went to Capernaum where it is reputed that Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount, rode local buses, walked throughout Old Jerusalem, and Harriet and Helen "swam" in the Dead Sea.

My remembrances of Helen are long and dear. Her faith and love of God, her intelligence, theological knowledge, love of humanity and particularly teaching children and youth the good news of the Bible are long endearing. She is one of God's special people and I love her.

Jean Lafferty

JeanLafferty (last edited 2011-01-23 02:09:33 by KeithLofstrom)