Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales


Cooley: My Best Friend!

“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson

We always called my best friend Lynn by her last name: Cooley. It just stuck. People sometimes called me Baker, but usually Libby. Cooley was so cool, we just naturally called her Cooley. She was the best friend anyone could have because she was honest, true blue, that’s the kind of cool she was. She wasn’t too cool for other people, she was down to earth and as funny as the day is long. I loved her and her whole family. We were friends from the age of 13 on and still are best friends to this day. Her mom Rita and I were great friends. I called her Mrs. Cooley, but for some reason we called her Rita otherwise. Her car had the license plate: Reets, which was her nickname. Her Dad’s name is Frank and he is nice and kind. A real gentlemen and always happy to have her friends stop by.

Mrs. Cooley and I were pals. I’d stop over there after school and shoot the breeze. Mrs Cooley usually had a roast in the oven and was watching her programs. She was a lot different from my mom. She was known to have a can of beer in the afternoon with a cigarette. People didn’t sweat that stuff quite so much back then. It was starting to be known the dangers of it but they were still shrugging them off. Mrs. Cooley was even funnier than Cooley — if that could be possible. She got me laughing and she laughed at my tales. I still miss her. Mr Cooley is still with us, but I don’t know for how long.

I am sad for her. It’s very hard to lose your parents. Even harder when you’re an only child. I try to be a sister to Cooley as best I can, but I know it’s not quite the same for her.

She has always been like a sister to me. She was like the one or two friends who visited me years ago when I was hospitalized for my first bout with bi-polar disorder and was so very sick. She drove herself downtown in her Valiant. We were talking about it the other day. She felt bad she couldn’t do more. She was like a beautiful ray of sunshine in that place. I’ll never forget it — or the incident we had when she came. She loves to tell it. She walked in and this pipsqueek Michael, a pot burnout case, told her he was Jesus Christ. She kept her cool. I did not. He had stolen another pack of my cigarettes, an unfortunate habit I had picked up with a vengance during my mental collapse! I was mad when I saw them. I gave him a swift kick and grabbed back my pack! Cooley burst into peels of laughter — the first laughter I’d heard in that frightening place. I laughed too, hard and it did me some good! I loved our visit and actually felt better after she left. Michael also quit stealing my stuff, red licorice included! What a friend.

Cooley is still the same great friend today. I called her yesterday to tell her some great news about how well the blogging was going or some such thing and notice she was quiet. I quickly got quiet to find out her dad is dying. I said I wanted to come sit with her. She said it was okay, that her husband was there and her youngest son was flying in from college. I thought how wonderful it was that because of her, her father’s name was continuing. All of her children have double last names!

She’s a wonderful friend. True to herself. Always honest and good to her friends and family. A credit to the whole human race. A dear daughter too. I’m so honored to call her my best friend!


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12 thoughts on “Cooley

  1. Denise on said:

    A toast to Best Friends, they are one in a million or trillion… The warmth shared, in tune with us, know us better than any other, our rock! Great tribute to Cooley! Hold her close… Maybe give her a little surprise… Go visit her!?


  2. Beautiful, touching and moving Libby:)! Thank you for shaing this! xoxoxo


  3. Libby I am enjoying your blog so much, you have such a great style of writing! I have also learned something, you’ve solved the mystery of the “double last name” I have seen it growing in popularity, and my take was Why? I don’t like having to put down first and last. Until today the only explanation I had heard was ” Cher is from the land of the one name people and Elizabeth Barrett Browning was from the land of the three name people.” So, I went with that, but a woman preserving her fathers name makes more sense. I’m going with that from now on


    • Thanks Tom! I am so glad to get you comments. I love you point of view and the way you look at the world. I think many women without brothers become concerned about passing on their dad’s name. So this is my take on the question. God bless your day!


  4. Denise on said:

    Tried to reply to your reply, maybe issue with iPad or user LOL! Great she will love your surprise, Yahoo hope younhad a great time!!!
    Another point on last names, I know a family that didn’t give the girls middle names. Then when they would get married their maiden name could become their middle name. Thought that was clever too.


  5. I couldn’t get to Cooley. It was a very private time. Her father passed yesterday. I talked with her for a long time today and they’re having a military burial for him Friday morning and then a gathering at her house, featuring his drink of choice: martini’s, and really good food. Family, friends and the repasts he loved.


  6. What a loving introduction to your friend “Cooley.” That you and her mom were pals, sharing time and talking with her after school, is a double blessing. I’m sorry for their loss of Frank.


  7. Thanks Mark. They are a loving family, Cooley and Larry’s youngest is called Frankie, the middle daughter is Caitlyn and her oldest is Rusty. I look forward to seeing them Friday, but will miss Rita and Frank all the more. Cooley lives in their remodeled 2nd home, the last place I saw them living together. She has made it so beautiful and warm and inviting, rich and more modern, but somehow even better for friends and family! The Cooleys go on!


  8. Denise on said:

    I’m sorry for the loss of Cooley’s Dad! Celebrate his life, he is now on a new adventure. {{hugs}}


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