2 min read
12 Jan

Hi Everyone,

I want to thank you all for your condolences on the loss of my best friend, Gina Hussain. I have been filled with so much pain, and right now I’m just in a world of surrealness and disbelief.  I have cried and cried until my stomach couldn’t take anymore.  I could hear her say, “Jeanette please be strong, I am not in pain anymore”. Gina and I began our friendship basically in the beginning of our 7th grade.  Although I knew Gina in grade school our friendship did not flourish until the 7th grade, when we discovered that we enjoyed the same things as clothing, records, Italian ice, Carvels Ice Cream, playing jacks, going to, and hanging out in Roosevelt Park, Roosevelt Roller rink, riding our bikes, and movies.  Later in our high school years, we enjoyed going to high school parties, house parties, guys, going to Roosevelt Mall, having the same taste in clothing.  We often came to school and found each other with the same top or same outfits.  We would laugh.  We talked about dreams for the future and where we envisioned ourselves in the future.  However, our lives went in different directions. She got married early and our dreams of going to college never materialized. Still and all, we never lost touch for one minute. She met her 2nd husband and lived on the lower east side in Manhattan, and coincidentally I lived in Harlem on 135th street in the Lenox Terrace Apartments.  She met the love of her life at a night cub called Leviticus, where he was singing with his band called “Chazz”. Gina fell in love instantly. It was the early 80’s and just like that I was standing with her as her witness to the union of Robert Hussain and Gina Washington. Her life became a world wind, living first on the lower east side, then moving to Newark, New Jersey in a big Victoria house, with beautiful, huge, stained windows. I visited her several times in New Jersey. Then she told me she was moving to Georgia. She remained in Georgia for many years, where of course I visited and enjoyed fun times, hanging out in the night club scene, and having a ball. I stayed in New York however for many years and by then we were good and grown. We had been out of high school for at least 20 years and our high school teacher, Todd Schlegel and others organized mass reunions during the first week of August where we could all meet and share fond memories with other classmates of our one square mile of love, “Roosevelt”. Gina and I looked forward to spending three glorious days of hanging out with one another and enjoying all the festivities of our mass reunion.  She lived in Georgia and me in Maryland.   I would pick her up from the airport at times, and we made sure we would always be together. When it was time to go to the picnic, I would always pick her up and off to Meadowbrook State Park, Field #5 for the fun, laughter, and reminiscing of our high school years.  We always bought our favorite champagne and glasses to toast our friendship of many years.  Those were wonderful days. Before we left Roosevelt, we would stop by and visit friends and family, and it was big hugs, kisses, and long goodbyes until we would see one another again. You see, other people outside of the town of Roosevelt, could never understand the love we all shared. Our town is one square mile of love, closeness, gratitude, fondness, friendships of a lifetime.  I am so blessed to have lived in this town coming from Harlem, NY to Roosevelt, LI in 1967. While I made many friends in Roosevelt, whom I love and cherish, you always have that one friend who has that chemistry to be called your bestie. I would have never met my bestie Gina R Reese, Washington, Hussain if I never was introduced to this town called “Roosevelt”. Gina has been in my corner through thick and thin.  If I had my way, I would have been in Georgia too.  I got the okay to marry my late husband Vincent O. Willoughby who was not ready to retire and move to GA.  Of course, Gina was my matron of honor, my makeup artist, my hairdresser, and my nerve calmer. She had such a calming demeanor and could calm my wild behind down all the time. It doesn’t matter, near or far, she was the star that shined bright in my world.  When Gina walked into a room she had such grace, statue, and beauty.  I learned so much of her beauty tips to keep my skin as youthful as it can be for a long time.  She got to meet my new husband Robert Cepeda and gave me the okay about him. She said he was meant for me. He thought she was beautiful and graceful.  I knew her wits and she always could tell when something was wrong or right with me.  She just knew me, inside and out and I her.   Gina, my love, I could go and on about our friendship flow. I would speak to her every week until our last talk a week before she went to heaven.  Gina, I will still talk to you, and let you know how much you have impacted my life.  Sadly, you are now gone in the flesh, but you will always remain apart of me, forever and for always, my sweet beautiful best friend. The angels have gained your beautiful spirit, but you are forever imbedded in my soul.  Fly my angel, but just know you will always be that angel in my heart. I love you always my love, and your heart is part of mine for always.  G & J forever.

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