Nicole Scott would sometimes fall asleep at Cindy and Roy Pool’s house after finishing homework. It was next door, and she often spent time there with her surrogate family.
She would hang out with Cindy and watch silly movies, or go tubing down the Salt River.
“She was the best teacher I ever had and I’m pretty sure the best teacher I ever will have,” said Scott, who just completed her junior year at Payson High School.
But it was more than that. “She was really like the mom I never had.”
At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, a memorial service will take place in the PHS auditorium with a slide show and an opportunity to share memories of Cindy, an avid athlete, chemistry teacher and beloved wife, mother, colleague and friend who died June 9 on a bicycle trip across the country.
“It really won’t be the same without her,” Scott said.
She remembers times when speaking in in front of large crowds at student organization conferences. “It was always the best thing in the world to look out there and find her. She’d always smile back at me,” Scott said.
Or, the first time they really hung out: Scott was sitting bored at school after basketball practice, waiting to leave. Pool saw Scott and asked her if she wanted to try a lab project.
“I am such a science geek,” Scott said. The two turned pennies into fake gold. Scott still has one of the pennies.
“She always did stuff like that — try to make people feel included or not let people be bored.”
Scott said her father is essentially a single parent because her mother is not around, and Cindy was a friend, a mother-figure, a teacher, a mentor. When Scott became stressed, needed to use the computer, or wanted someone to laugh with, she sought Cindy or Roy.
Scott was balancing her checkbook around 3 p.m. that Tuesday, when Roy called her with the news, a horrid interruption to one of life’s most mundane tasks.
Cindy had joined friend Margaret Starnes about a week before in Montana to bike across the country. Their husbands and nine dogs accompanied the two in vehicles, according to Cindy’s blog.
Ten miles south of Lander, Wyo. on June 9, a truck driver reportedly failed to yield to the bicyclists. Pool’s shouted warnings to Starnes saved her friend’s life, according to reports.
“There were a lot of thoughts that were entering my mind,” said Scott about her reaction. “I felt scared and sad and kind of abandoned.”
For two-and-a-half years, the two were tight. “I don’t think I’ll ever have the same relationship with anybody else,” Scott said.
When Scott traveled to Harvard last summer to complete a summer workshop, Pool’s voice was the one offering comfort through the phone when Scott felt at first she didn’t fit in.
They talked every day. “I’m really going to miss those phone calls,” Scott said. “It really won’t be the same without her.