I have “known” Molly for ten, maybe 15 years, but just met her in person on December 1, 2011.
Molly is a faithful Channel 2 News viewer, and she has called me off and on for many of my years as our station’s Chief Meteorologist. Her calls are pretty consistent. She often wants to know if it is going to be windy, because she is scared of wind.
Molly’s effervescent personality comes out in her laugh: loud, sudden and full of joy.
She is one of the happiest callers I have ever dealt with.
Her habit, when she leaves me long voicemail messages, is to add the phrase “and everything like that” to the end of almost every sentence. I once had a co-worker remark how nice it was of me to take the time to talk to Molly and soothe her fear of high winds, or try to warn her of them. But here is the simple truth: I am the one who is lucky.
And that is how I knew Molly all these years, talking with about our plans for the weekend, how she was doing (she nearly died from pneumonia last winter) and just the little everyday things of life. I would tell her about my cats, because she has a cat too, named Winston. She has asked me in the past to come her workplace. For a time, it was Glacier Brewhouse. She proudly told me that folding the silverware in the napkins was one of her responsibilities. But you may have seen her in other spots around Anchorage. She has worked as a janitor. Being a bagger at Carr’s was her favorite job of all, because of the exercise, she said. Recently, though, asthma has taken away her ability to work.
On December 1st, I had some time off and decided one of my priorities was to meet Molly in person.
When I strolled up to her apartment, the door was wide open for me. She was settled on the floor, nestled between the TV and a small pre-lit Christmas tree. My first thought on sight of Molly is one of recognition. To me, she looks just like I had envisioned, with short, dark hair and dark eyes. She reached out her arms to hug me, and we embraced. There was a deep familiarity, even though we’d only just met.
Molly is developmentally disabled but very able to navigate her own life, with help from Hope Cottages and Hope Community Resources, an Alaska non-profit that assists people with disabilities.
She has roots in Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta area.
“My mom saved me as a baby,” she says. “Took me to the clinic for a shot.”
Thanks Molly, for all the years you have brightened my evenings with your phone calls. I’m so glad to have met you in person - I was not disappointed in the least, and am smiling as I write this.
Why do I tell you this? Because perhaps in this season of giving we can all try to reach out and give a little more. Maybe you wave to the lady walking her dog in your neighborhood, but you don’t even know her name. Stop the car, roll down the car window and find out.
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!