Brooke was the daughter of our friends Dani and Nick, and she left us 7 years ago today…far too soon. She was named Brooke Noel because she was born on Christmas Eve. She had just turned 7 years old. She was such a lively child, always filled with grins and giggles. Her laugh was infectious, as was her personality. Everyone who ever met her loved her instantly. That’s just how it was. Funny how some people have that effect on you. Seemingly without even trying they work their way into your heart and there they stay…forever.

Brooke’s grandpa, Edd, owned a bowling alley, and I remember when he was cleaning up at the end of the day, he would let her (and her sisters, brother, and cousins) ride the vacuum cleaner around the room as he vacuumed. I always thought that was the funniest thing. Most kids are, at least somewhat, afraid of the vacuum cleaner. Not those kids. I remember Brooke riding around on that vacuum, and she would have the biggest smile on her face and she couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3. It was like her grandpa gave her the greatest gift ever. Ha Ha Ha…it still makes me laugh to think of it.

Brooke took a special liking to my husband, Bob. When we would come into the bowling alley, she would be waiting to say hello to him. Then she would spend the rest of the evening practically glued to him. I had to play second fiddle. He was her special adopted uncle, and that is just the way it was. I even joked with Dani once that Bob had a girlfriend. She was ready to strangle the girl who would dare try to come between Bob and me. She asked who it was, and I told her it was “that girl over there in the purple.” She didn’t see anyone in purple…until I finally pointed it out to her that Brooke was wearing purple. Then she laughed and laughed. Brooke was the only girl who was allowed to be Bob’s girlfriend…well, other than me…maybe!

Brooke was such a little mother. Dani babysat my grandchildren, and when I would bring them over in the mornings, Josh, my youngest, instantly became her baby. She was in charge!! But that was Brooke’s way in many things. If Cameron or Felicia wanted something they didn’t think their parents would let them have, they would get Brooke to ask. She was just in charge and could usually get her way. Anyone who knew her, knew that about Brooke. She just had a way of wrapping people around her little finger…and you didn’t seem to mind.

I still find it very hard to believe that Brooke has been gone so long. And to this day, I sometimes call Mady, her little sister, Brooke, because they are quite similar. I often wonder who Brooke would have been today, as she was just a 10 months younger than my oldest grandchildren, so it is an age I can relate to. She had such a special way about her, that I can’t help feeling that we have all really missed out. Love you Brooke, and miss you very much.

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