"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” — L.M. Montgomery, “Anne of Green Gables” 

 The film “Anne of Green Gables” was and is still a favorite movie of mine. 

The ‘80s version with Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth, and Patricia Hamilton, to name a few of the cast. 

Anne — with an ‘e’ — was an orphan, but that’s not what defined her. 

In my eyes, she was a sassy, determined, loving, faithful, and intelligent woman. 

Her relationship with the Cuthbert family is endearing, as was the relationship she had with her “bosom buddy” Diana. 

Anne described Diana as her “kindred spirit.” 

I grew to understand what that term meant as I grew older. 

I believe I have met several kindred spirits along the way. 

The first time I believe I met one was when I started my first job and met my boss, Mrs. Nell. 

She taught me a lot about the world and dubbed me “Kissieface,” because I told her I had a crush on a boy. 

Yes, she still calls me that and we still have a relationship like no other. 

From the moment I met Dart, who is a former work colleague of mine from the Picayune Item, I knew we were two peas in a pod and kindred spirits. 

He always had my back at work and it broke my heart the day he left the Item, not only because I was losing my work buddy, but because he is one of the most talented writers. 

This week, the city of Waveland and Hancock County lost one of its best, former Waveland Alderwoman, Mrs. LiLi Stahler-Murphy. 

From the moment I met her, I was in awe of her energy, positivity, and her colorful personality. 

Through her efforts, the world will never forget the impact of Hurricane Katrina on our community. She was instrumental in opening the Waveland Ground Zero Hurricane Museum. 

Just this year, Hancock County Relay for Life named her an honorary survivor. 

I interviewed her in March, prior to the pandemic, about her fight with ovarian cancer. 

We sat in a corner at the Mockingbird Cafe. 

And as some of these interviews often go, we veered off topic and just chattted about any and everything. 

I learned that we share a love for cute shoes and makeup. She had on a cute pair that day, of course. 

She told me that dressing up and putting on a full face of makeup and doing her hair helped her feel more like herself. 

I have to agree. For me, it’s almost therapeutic, the calm before the storm of the day. 

We talked for more than an hour that day and I’ll never forget it or her. I wish I had known her longer, but am most grateful to have known her at all. 

My favorite memory of Mrs. LiLi is from the 2019 Hancock County Dancing with the Relay Stars. 

She was up there dancing with some of her fellow survivors and at the end of the song, she walked proudly to the front of the stage, tore off her wig, and proudly danced with a bald head, which was a result of the chemotherapy. 

It was a powerful moment. I cried, the audience cried and then erupted into thunderous applause. 

It was unforgettable and I told her so every chance I got. I hope it inspired others who were battling cancer to try and be confident with or without hair.  

I will always remember the lady with the fiery red hair, bubbly personality, and an intense love for helping her community. 

My thoughts are with her husband, Donald, and her family at this time. 

Cassandra is a staff writer at the Sea Coast Echo and can be reached at cassandra@seacoastecho.com

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