Jim and Eileen Hammond

Today was the visitation for Jim and Eileen Hammond.  They were killed in a car accident on Saturday morning.  Their daughter, Deanna, was a classmate of mine at Astoria.  Over the years, they often were a second set of parents to me.  I probably listened to them more than I did my own parents, because, really, what teenager listens to their own parents?  I got to see them in May when I returned to Astoria for my 20-year high school reunion.  When I saw Deanna and her parents, it was huge hugs and time spent talking to them about life.  They were curious about my life, the kids, Andy.  They just wanted to know everything.  It was so great and I felt like I was really home.  Jim even said, “It’s my second daughter!  How are you big girl?”  When I saw the news on Saturday on Facebook and then called my mom, I was so sad.  My heart hurts for them and their family.  I may not live in Astoria anymore, but there are countless people from that small town that influenced my life and Jim and Eileen were two of the best.  My last memory of them as I was leaving Club 24 was them tearing up the dance floor with huge smiles on their faces.  They may be gone, but I will never forget them.

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