Meeting and Remembering Patricia by Sherry Yost

On July 20, 2021 by markfogarty

I am one of the Mennonite’s that volunteered at the NYC Common Pantry. Nicola mentioned us in her memories.  Our church has a program in the city where we have a variety of projects for young men to help with. They volunteer for six months, so every two months a replacement arrives and one of the young men go home.The house is located on 145th Street in Harlem.  A man and his wife volunteer for as long as two years at a time.  Another couple lives in an apartment in the same building. They help with Bible Study at Women’s Shelters, services on Sunday and many other interesting opportunities that come. It is a very rewarding work and many friends have been made during this time away from home.  My husband, Clayton and I were one of the couples.

I don’t remember the day that Patricia and I met but I do know that it was always more interesting when Patricia and Nicola joined the volunteers at the Pantry. (Going to the pantry was part of the community service program at UNIS, the school Patricia’s son, Dominic and Nicola’s daughter, Caroline attended.  The mother’s continued to volunteer after the children moved on.)Every week we bagged food, which included many bagels, handed out groceries and did a lot of visiting,  We learned so much from each other.  Our lives were world’s apart but we talked about our children, our husband’s, our childhood, recipes, culture, religion and life in the city.

We were disappointed when Nicola and her husband chose to move back home to Australia.  Patricia and I continued our friendship and met often to walk the streets of the city. We explored block after block, stopped for coffee, visiting the whole time. Patricia was always on the look-out for a good photo.  It had to be unique and she found many.

After we returned to Kansas and Mark and Patricia went on vacation in Colorado, a plan was made that Patricia would rent a car in Denver and drive the long, lonely miles to our place. Mark flew back to NYC.  We waited in anticipation and sure enough, she found us, out in the country with no other houses in sight. As you can imagine, our conversation never lulled.  I introduced her to our friends and family and gave her a tour of our small town. She joined us at church on Sunday.  Everyone loved her and she loved them. She had such charisma and a delightful accent.

The photographs on her site of the old empty houses on the wind swept plains are some of the places we took her in our area.  She was so impressed with the long evening shadows on the time worn dwellings. The buildings now are just ready to tumble down.

Back in the NYC, after our mornings work was completed, we’d meet again to spend the days walking streets, sharing hearts and eating interesting food.  We separated with the plan of keeping in touch and maybe even meeting in the UK someday.

The news of her death brought a huge hurt to my heart. I lost a friend whom I will never forget. Even though our lives and upbringing were so different there was a bond that neither of us could  explain. I am so thankful that God gave me the chance to learn to now and love her.

One Response to “Meeting and Remembering Patricia by Sherry Yost”

  • Nicola

    Sherry, those Pantry days were such an eye opener for us all and meeting you and Clayton and Becky and Vivien et al were happy days there for us. They were times when differences made life richer and better, humour and humanity made ‘working’ together worthwhile and pleasurable too. Mind you the three bagels in a bag were not Patricia’s favourite activity! Fondly, thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *