The room brightened when Janis finally awoke and entered through the door of one. She befriended the likes of anyone and made no enemies...except for the girls who were jealous of her for one reason or another. Her laughter echoed throughout the halls everyday. One knew when Janis was away for the weekend for it was creepily quiet on campus.
Janis called our closest circle of friends, "The Clic". There were 5 members with 2 honorary members. We were inseparable for the most part...at least in spirit. Janis was our leader...we all had our strengths that played well off of and with each other, but Janis held us all together as only she could. One of the funniest things we did was have a bathroom stall decorating contest on our wing of the dorm. People would walk further just to come down to our end for the bathroom because of it. It was hilarious. Janis' stall was called "The Lair". We got all gussied up one night in the spring and had a girls' night out. I'd post pictures, but they're best left in the 90's if you know what I mean. Fashion is so much more fashionable these days. :)
I did not realize how full my photo album is with photos of Janis. She's in so many...and with such expressions, too. One never knew what she'd be doing in the background (or foreground for that matter) as you snapped a picture. Back then, we had to wait to see what our pictures were like...I can only imagine how many I'd have had digital been around back then. The camera loved Janis. Janis loved the camera. The picture I've posted of Janis at the beginning of this post is her impersonating a penguin in front of my dorm room. I loved penguins and had all sorts of them around...including her that day.
We became so close that year, we found ourselves calling each other by our own names. People would call out to one of us in the hallway and we'd both answer them...and laugh and laugh at the fact that we did. The pizza delivery guys constantly put our names on the order wrong.
Janet and Janis...lived next door to each other...both tall with long blondish hair and blue eyes...constantly seen with each other. We had the same love for our friends. They meant the world to us. We had a quiet side that we only shared with our closest friends. Had crushes on the two of the best looking guys on campus, but wouldn't let that interfere with our friendships with them.
She was so kind to befriend me and give me crash courses on some of life's greater things...all the while laughing at me, with me and near me. That year went by all to quickly. I graduated and moved back home. She transferred to the Upland campus. We made sure there were weekends for getting together again. It was awesome, but never the same as those days spent next door to each other. One weekend when we both were in Ft. Wayne visiting our friends at TUFW, we had all gone out together and hung out, but after awhile Janis wanted to take a walk. We walked around campus, talking and laughing at what we'd done here and there...if those walls and walks could talk! But, we ended up in front of Wittmer Hall where the TUFW sign was...and we sat on top of it and talked for awhile longer. I'll never forget thinking that she could be anywhere with anyone she wanted and she chose to be here with me. She made whomever she was with feel as if they were the most important person around...and at the time you were to her. We talked about how good it was to be back, but that it wasn't the same anymore. She was saddened by how time changes things...as was I. But, we didn't let that get us down...before you knew it we were back at Lexington Hall "breaking in" through a window to get in for some sleep because no one was around with a key. (Note: no window was broken during the afore mentioned "break in"). We were never without a laugh very long.
Or so we thought. January 13, 1998 silenced the laughter of Janis Lynn MacLeish. God called His daughter home that cold, wintery day. Her big heart that shared and showed love to so many, broke that day for a final time. I remember getting the phone call late that evening. Not Janis...not yet. I need her. Janis was the glue that held us all together as friends. "The Clic" leader couldn't be gone.
In true Janis fashion she brought all of her closest friends together again. And she was in the center of it all...beautiful as ever! All of us there that knew her from TUFW fit onto one bench (a rather long one, mind you). We all knew Janis' love and friendship the same...not one more than another. As we said our goodbyes, we stood in a semicircle in front of her casket. The Janis we knew was now laughing it up with her Lord and Savior, wanting us to stop the tears and start laughing probably.
Even 12 years later, she had me laughing out loud as I see her face in my photos.
It was a good walk down memory lane tonight.