Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Friend Forever ~~ Redux

This is a repost from 1-31-06, which I wrote about my friend from Charleston,WV. I didn't have a good photo of her then, but I took this one last weekend, and decided to re-post about her. I always stay with her when I go back home for a visit, and it is such a pleasure to be with her again. Her husband died in April, and you may remember that I couldn't go to his funeral because I was supposed to leave that day for Disneyworld with my daughter and her children. I promised my friend a visit in June and I am happy that I was able to keep that promise, as well as attend my reunion.
The photo was taken on the grounds of my college, and overlooks the Kanawha River and the WV State Capitol, one of the most beautiful in the country. My friend is beautiful too, in spirit and in her abilities. She is approaching her 8th decade (don't tell her I told you!). Doesn't she look fabulous?! Now, here is the re-post:
In 1954, when I was 13 years old, we moved to a house next door to a family of two parents and two boys, who were at that time about 2 and 4 years old. The father owned a small grocery and the mother stayed home with the children, as was the custom in those days.

I began to babysit the boys, who were darling and sweet. The mother and I (she was only 14 years older) became good friends. I suspect I worried her to death that first summer; always knocking on her door, looking for company and conversation. She was someone with whom I could discuss all manner of problems typical to young teens, things I was not comfortable sharing with my mother. She listened carefully, and mirrored back to me my angst and concerns; suggesting ways in which I might cope with the new school into which I had been thrust. She never made me feel silly or insignificant (which I certainly felt on my own).

As the years passed, we all became even better friends. When I needed something special to wear for a hot date or a dance - she opened her closet for me to choose whatever I wanted. Luckily, we wore the same size clothes, even shoes, and our tastes in jewelry ran in similar veins. As I got older, I stopped babysitting much, but we remained good friends and helpful neighbors.

After college, I left town to pursue life elsewhere, but I always looked forward to returning home to see my parents and the neighbors. Several years later, I got word that they were moving to a larger home in a different section of the city; the area to which they had moved their newly enlarged grocery. I was happy for them, of course, but a bit sad to see them leave since they had been my family's neighbors for so many years. For a few years, we visited them in their new home every time I came back to town, but eventually we drifted apart somewhat, as our lives took different turns. She got pregnant again and had a baby girl just a year before I had my first child. As my parents aged, they didn't initiate much visiting, and so the lines of communication faded, around 1968.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fast forward to June, 1982: we had just moved into a new home, and I was busy with all the little chores that women have to do to make a house a home, such as hanging pictures, unpacking boxes, etc. My younger daughter wanted me to take her to a local mall, to meet with her friends and their mom, but I didn't want to take the time to go since I was so busy. Finally she wore me down, and I agreed to take her there and wait until the other family arrived.

We parked in the agreed upon location, and as we were sitting in the car, I happened to look up and see those former neighbors walking on the sidewalk in front of my car! You need to know that where they lived and where I now live are 330 miles apart, and we had not seen each other in 14 years! I would never have expected to see them in that location, and you might imagine my great surprise that I did. I was speechless (which happens very seldom), but I opened the car door and yelled out to them. Now it was their turn to be speechless - and they were. Remember the line in yesterday's post about always meeting people when you look your worst? This was a perfect example. I had on very old clothes and my hair was a fright. Nonetheless, we greeted each other in glee and wonderment at the synchronicity of it all. They were in my town to deliver their daughter to her first year of college, which she was starting in the summer semester, instead of waiting until the fall.

We renewed our deep friendship, and got to know their daughter as they got to know my children. They returned to my city to visit their daughter several times a year and we always saw them at those times, as well as when we went back to my home town. There is no one alive now (except my husband) who knows me better than she, and spending time with her is such a deep comfort to me.

My daughter never fails to remind me that if I had not acceded to her begging for the trip to the mall, I might never have known that they and their daughter would be spending time in my city and a wonderful opportunity would have been lost forever. She is right, of course. Who knows what prompted me to give in to her whims. I prefer to think that it was fate - or some very good karma - that caused it to happen.


My friend was here last weekend to visit; even though her daughter no longer lives here. As we age, our shopping trips are fewer and shorter, our lunches and dinners get smaller and healthier. But we never tire of talking and being together, whether it is to savor the "old" days or discuss the newest changes in our lives. Our abiding friendship and love never fades. She is wonderfully generous of spirit and love and I will be forever grateful that she was brought into my life.

Happy Birthday, C______!







45 comments:

Greg Finnegan said...

Your are very rich, indeed. Some people actually steer away from their old friends, because the obligation to be open and available seems overwhelming. I didn't think that there were people like that, but there are. You also taught your daughter how important friends are.

ET said...

It is great to have a friend for life like that, one you know you can be candid, or yourself with, with no pretenses, and they feel the same with you.

metten said...

Great story. I'm of the belief that everyone needs someone like that when they're growing up - Experienced enough to answer the tough questions, but not likely to hit you repeatedly with a belt when you do something stupid.

terrilynn said...

What a wonderful story, and a terrific tribute to your friend. Wishing her many more happy birthdays.

Shelli said...

That is such a beautiful post! Really a nice tribute to a good friend. I hope she sees it.

colleen said...

I love this story!

My youngest sister is 14 younger than me....and our age difference never has mattered in our friendship.

I just love how life can line up.

I'm your michele visit today.

Gerbera Daisy said...

Good Morning Judy~ This was a great story. You are a lucky lady to have such a special friend. I am a fatalist. I believe it was fate that brought you together again. :-)

Angie said...

How wonderful! Happy Birthday to your dear friend!

poopie said...

Aww..I love it when that happens!

Maria said...

A very happy birthday to your friend and my congratulations to both of you on rediscovering your friendship. Your beautiful post has reminded me that I have a cousin who is about ten years older than me and who was my confidente. Think today is a good day to give her a call.

Wordnerd said...

...incredible story...thanks for sharing it...

srp said...

What a lovely tribute to a wonderful friend! I'm so glad you still get together on occasion. As to the "why" or "how" of your unexpected meeting, I know God knows everything and He knew the two of you needed to renew the friendship. So there you have it.

Jennifer said...

Stories like that are what make this big thing called life so beautiful, I think. What a lovely friendship, and what a well told tale.

Happy birthday, C!

justrose said...

what a tremendous post. old friends are the best kind. good for you!

Inanna said...

What an absolutely beautiful post.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh Judy..this was such a wonderful WONDERFUL post..to have this deep abiding friebdship with someone who knew you when you were a teenager and, FURTHER, someone who had such an impact on you at that time because she was a peer that could help you with things your parents really couldn't...WOW!!! How truly lucky and sweet that is....Especially meeting her after all that time and picking up that very dear and important friendship to this day!

This is so very very wonderful, Judy!

Raehan said...

Awww, kenju, that was so very lovely.

You are one lucky woman to have experienced this kind of friendship.

Peter said...

Nice post Judy, yeah lets go with karma.

utenzi said...

Happy birthday C from me also. 78 is getting up there but from how you describe her, Judy, C still sounds vibrant and full of life. I'm glad you have such a wonderful friend.

Carolyn said...

That's so wonderful! You should show her this write-up :)

Jamie Dawn said...

I really enjoy hearing about these "coincidences" in your life. Like the friend you saw in New York. And now, this story. I think fate smiles on you!

Laura said...

This was such a wonderful post, Judy. I almost had tears in my eyes, even though it wasn't intended to be a sad post at all. I think Jamie is right, it must have been fate that got the two of you together that day at the mall! What a wonderful life-time friendship. :)

sage said...

you have such nice stories. Happy birthday C.

Merle said...

Judy ~ A lovely story. I hope your friend had a great birthday. You are both so lucky to have that friendship. Thanks for your
kind words on my post. Believe me I am no saint ~~ love goes both ways and these kids made my life worth living and they pay me back with love and caring. I am glad you met your birth mother and see her sometimes. Have a great day.

Carmi said...

There's a Yiddish word for that: bashert. It loosely means "fate". The stars aligned so that this could happen. A magical connection if ever I've seen one.

You've once again managed to move us.

colleen said...

This is a great story! And I remember reading it before. Pictures really add to the telling. I have a "girlfriend" 2o years older than me. Life just so lines up! Like we have radar for eachother.

Raggedy said...

Welcome Home! That story was so beautiful. How wonderful to have a friendship like that to treasure. It had to be something special to run into each other like that after all those years..WOW

I loved the post!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How wonderful to have this friend who is so important to you and is still so very much in your life. Precious precious...very very precious, Judy. A Happy Birthday To Your Dear Dear Friend!

Carmi said...

What an inspirational recounting of a treasured friendship. The Yiddish word, bashert, comes to mind. It loosely translates to "fate" or "fated one". This relationship clearly was fated to continue and to deepen. How lucky we are that you shared it with us.

srp said...

What a YOUNG thing she is!
What college did you attend?
I took a picture of that dome as we passed by on the way to Illinois a couple of weeks ago. I have it in Picasa somewhere. It was gorgeous with all the gold work and design.

Wordnerd said...

What a tribute to a dear friend! And what a great photo!

MareDog said...

As a widow, I want to assure you that your visit now was vastly more appreciated than it would have been at the time of the funeral. Keep this friendship alive!
MareDog

vicki said...

I remember this post! What a nice picture of your friend. I was here yesterday reading about reunions- I admit to being one of those folks who avoids them studiously. So I got lots of vicarious pleasure ot of reading about yours. (Is it time for me to order the NYT crossword in large print format? Maybe...)

Beverly said...

How wonderful to have a friend like that! Thank you for the beautiful post.

Joan said...

Friends are a wonderful gift.
Greetings from Scotland

Sonia said...

Great post, Judy! Sure, I remember reading it before. Friends is really a priceless gift!
Happy Birthday C! You look beautiful and very young!

Terri said...

Wow, what a great story, Judy! And "C" certainly does NOT look her age! I'm a firm believer in karma and things happening for a reason, so I agree with your daughter. Such a neat story. And such a treasured friend you have and all the history to go with it.

bonnie said...

You and C, are blessed, indeed!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I came back Judy to say that Stanley Glickman is, as far as I know, still alive....if you pass your cursor over his name it will take you to a link that tells about him. Dr, Newhoff...wh=o did my operation is long gone, I'm sorry to say. But dear Stanley lives in Arizona. He was a very successful and reknowned Urologisat who practiced in New York City till he moved to Arizona. Now, retired. Thanks for asking, my dear.

Diane Mandy said...

What a great photo. She certanly doesn't look her age. I smiled all the way through this post, and I am happy you reprinted it.

PI said...

I'm sure it was meant to be and what a blessing.
She looks great. Remember 80 is the new 60!!!

Weary Hag said...

Glad you reprinted this one and adding the photo made it so much more special this time around!
Wow. She looks incredible for nearing 80! If I were sitting near you two in a restaurant and was asked what I'd like to have, I'd point to your friend and say "I'll have whatever she's having thank you."

You're BOTH very lucky to share this wonderful friendship.

Laura said...

You are very rich indeed to have a friendship like that one. My husband's grandmother often comes to visit us and she'll tell us stories of some of her friends that she has had since she was a young girl, and sometimes it amazes me, all that they have been through together.
Wonderful story, Judy :)

Karen said...

This reminds me of Naomi and her posts about her friends. We are indeed wealthy when we have good friends. What would our world be without them? And how great that you rekindled your friendship?!

Here via Michele's for the 3rd time today!

panthergirl said...

What a cool story!!! I love wild coincidences like that. It's those moments, where ONE slight change of plan would have affected everything that happened afterwards...those are my favorite things to recall.

Great pic of her, too!