I lost my dear friend, what is there to say?

Normita Fenn

Normita Fenn

Losing a dear friend pinches the very core of the fiber of one’s being. That insurmountable feeling seems to paralyze the heart and mind. Exactly that was how I felt on December 3, 2012 upon hearing the passing of my dear friend Janice Carter, Director of Library at Golden Gate University. She was not only a colleague but she was someone I shared many happy and sad times. Even though she was ill for a while, there was that ardent hope that she will recover to continue her magnificent work.

Speaking at her memorial service, I said, “My brain doesn’t work, no words will spill, my heart is broken, so I wrote this down.“

I lost my very dear friend Janice. What is there to say?

I know Janice will understand if I don’t say nor write a word, yet somewhere in my heart longs to share some of the times Janice and I had. In our quiet moments, we talked about archiving the many documents and photos stacked in the other room. In between the chore, she asked me if I have been to Velia Butz place, I said yes, Pat Angel and I went but you couldn’t go with us that day. You should go with John Fyfe next time, Janice, that’s a place where you can see forever.

Then we moved on to finding the Nagel T. Miner books and asked if I had one, I said yes, the Development Office gave me one. Then I think Janice was worried that I may be bored from retiring as GGU Alumni President and came up with the idea of forming a Library Board. Then one day, she sent me to Alice Dietrich so she can help me create an online newsletter to complement with my printed community newsletter. Lately, she suggested that since I finished my journalism I should volunteer as a tutor in writing here at GGU. After our lunch a few weeks ago, I showed her the flyer and promised to contact the coordinator.

Janice travelled to China for an immersion trip with a number of GGU staff. One of Janice’s wish is to travel to one of the universities in the Philippines to hold forums on organizational development, library research technology and continued learning for staff and professors. Everything was set in the Philippines, sadly, a couple of months before the scheduled date she found out she was ill. In spite of that, she sent documents and materials to the university president, hoping that someday she will make the trip. I can go on and on. That is Janice to me, always caring, always sharing, always thinking the best for people, never for herself.

Our lunches were lively. We’d explore the San Francisco Soup Co., the pizza place on First St., Boudin’s and Neeto’s. Every lunch was in a different place, but once in a while we’ll do brown bag so she can help me with my research. Then last year was mostly at nearby Neeto’s and I learned to eat what she was eating, quietly, lacking the joy and glee, but we get to walk shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, leaning at each other.

003When I was studying for my journalism, I interviewed Janice about why she became a librarian. This is Janice in her own words: “I actually have always wanted to be a librarian…. I basically grew up in libraries. I remember before I was eight years old when our family moved I would go to the library every day in the summer and I would just check out stacks of books, I’d go home and come back the next day and get more, it was such a wonderful place. You could wonder through the stacks and find what you want. I remember when we moved I would often go to the local branch on the way home from school and that’s where I would do my homework. I did my best works in libraries…. And there was always something exciting there. You could just wonder through the stacks.”

My dear friend, Janice, you will be missed by many for your generosity, knowledge and humility. Continue wondering through the stacks. I will miss you.

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About normitafenn

Normita Fenn studied journalism at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She earned her MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University-San Francisco. She resides in San Ramon, California. She can be reached at lanzfenn@yahoo.com. Follow her on Twitter: @NormitaFenn
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11 Responses to I lost my dear friend, what is there to say?

  1. normitafenn says:

    I feel very fortunate to have known Janice Carter and have learned from her the value of sharing, integrity and work ethic.

  2. still4hill says:

    Condolences, Normita. So sorry to hear of your loss.

    • normitafenn says:

      Thank you still. Just getting back in the groove. Been involved heavily with our high school reunion to be held next week in Tampa and now trying to catch up.

  3. Judy Gallion says:

    Dear Normita, What a nice tribute to your friend…….. you have lost too many dear ones in the last couple of years, I’m so sorry

    Love, Judy

  4. Dear Normita, Thank you for that beautiful piece about a truly beautiful woman. I had the pleasure to work for her at Golden Gate University. I was getting contact information to write her a letter when I read of her passing. I felt like I had lost a sister. With deep sadness, Elizabeth Harac

    • normitafenn says:

      Elizabeth, sorry for this late reply. I was involved in a big project and just getting back to normal.
      Thank you for your kind words. My life is blessed because of people like Janice. She was one unique individual. Keep in touch.

  5. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.

    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info.

    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  6. Steve Anderson says:

    Hello Ms. Fenn,
    I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I wonder if this is the same Janice Carter that I once knew. She was a grad student at the University of MN. She was 24 at the time and had beautiful red hair and freckles. She read stories to children at the Hennepin County Library.

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