Meeting Influential People Who Change Our Lives – A Toast

“People…People who need people are the luckiest people in the world…” and so goes the song recorded in September, 1964 by Barbra Streisand. That special song influenced me so much as I grew from childhood, recognizing that during my journey to adulthood I would meet  people…perhaps a person…one very special person…

“With one person – One very special person… A feeling deep in your soul…Says you are half now you’re whole…No more hunger and thirst…But first be a person who needs people
People, people who need people…are the luckiest people in the world…”

As a singer, I’ve rehearsed, and rehearsed to sing “People”, coming to the conclusion that no one sings it better than Barbra Streisand. Never have I sang “People” in public, but there are many times the song plays in my mind, especially when I think about the special people who are in my life.

I met such a person when I was blessed to meet Theresa Brousseau. A tall brunette, warm, inviting and engaging, Theresa Brousseau and I connected immediately during our first conversation. Engaged to one of her sons for a brief while, when I met her, she became my unofficial adopted mom. After our breakup, she kept in touch with me, sharing advice, guiding me along my way. Over the years, Theresa and I became close friends. Every year at Christmas, we exchanged Christmas cards and phone calls. Sometimes our phone conversations were lengthy, sharing bits and pieces of our lives, sharing stories about her son, his marriage, children, divorce and life.

During this time, I was married and when Theresa phoned, I let my husband know our conversations were not planned exchanges for us but phone conversations of two dear friends. In all reality, Theresa was more of a mother to me than my mother was. Instead of addressing Theresa by her name, she became “Mom Brousseau.”

After my marriage, I explained to my husband that Mom Brousseau was someone I wanted to keep in touch with; after all, she embraced me with love when she met me and she continued to share her love over the many years of our relationship.

Every Christmas our phone conversations shared stories of our lives. She was close to all of her grandchildren, and she was active in the Catholic church and the community of Nashua, New Hampshire. She shared stories of cold weather, especially the snow storms of New England. She asked me if I was happy with my life. Did my husband treat me well? How was my relationship with my mother? When she asked the last question, I became silent. Did I dare share my estranged relationship with my mother?

A few minutes into this conversation, Theresa listened to my tears. “It’s OK, dear. I know your mother was a hard woman to understand.,..”

“How did you know?”

“Remember when we met.”

My mind drifted back to that special Christmas…the Christmas I met my future-in-laws. I remembered the warm, tight hug Theresa gave me and how I laughed saying “I’ve never had a motherly hug like that…It felt good.”

Life has a way of changing our plans, along with our dreams, but Theresa and I kept our bonding tight. She was an amazing woman.

Three years ago it suddenly dawned on me that Theresa and I hadn’t spoken in a while. Her phone number was imbedded in my brain, so I dialed the number, only to reach a recording. Surfing on the Internet, I discovered her home was for sale. Although I attempted to locate her, I wasn’t successful until I checked the obituaries. Reading her obituary, I realized she had passed away in a Hospice. How I hope and pray she was not alone at the Hospice.

Last night, I dreamed about Theresa again. Tears flow down my face as I think about her and how she influenced my life. Hungering for a mother’s love all of my childhood, Theresa was the one woman who reached out, hugged me and showed me in so many ways how much she cared. To say I miss her phone calls, her laughter, her words of “I love you, Dear,” all are an understatement. No, we were not related. I did not marry into her family, but we shared a bonding, a tight connection, from the moment we first spoke on the phone, on the day her son broke up with me, and future phone calls.

Theresa Brousseau was one of the most influential people to come into my life. For many years, I was blessed to know her. Now that she is gone, I truly miss her. Theresa, aka — Mom Brousseau, I miss you, your laughter, strength, encouragement and love so very much. If children could choose a parent, no doubt I would’ve chosen you. Rest in peace, while knowing you were a very special person in my life.

“With one person
One very special person
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you are half now you’re whole
No more hunger and thirst
But first be a person who needs people
People, people who need people…are the luckiest people in the world.”

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Barbie Perkins-Cooper is a talented award-winning writer of screenplays, plays, and travel stories and she works full-time as an editorial photojournalist. Barbie has published numerous articles and award-winning photographs for regional, trade, health and beauty, hospitality and travel publications including the Travel Channel, Buick B Magazine, AAA Midwest Traveler, Kentucky Monthly, Southern Hospitality, Blue Ridge Country Magazine, Convention South and Texas Co-op Power and New York Daily News. Her passion for food and hospitality began when she worked as a communications officer, public relations officer at Johnson & Wales University in 1988. Residing in Charleston, South Carolina, Barbie is the author of Career Diary of a Photographer, and Condition of Limbo. She has written seven screenplays, and has a passion for screenwriting, hoping to see her name in the credits of a major motion picture. In September 2007, she was chosen as an approved artist for literary arts with the SC Arts Commission Arts in Education Roster of Approved Artists. Professional organizations include membership with International Food and Wine and Travel Writers Association [IFWTWA]; American Society of Journalists and Authors [ASJA]; Society of Professional Journalists,, and South Carolina Writers Workshop [SCWW]. Visit her web site for further information and writing clips or e-mail her at

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