Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.
A circle is round,
it has no end.
That's how long,
I will be your friend.
I had an interesting day yesterday. I went to my hometown to spend the afternoon at a non-traditional visitation/funeral/reception for a friend's father who died last Friday. This wasn't just any friend, she is my oldest friend. Our grandparents were friends and neighbors, our parents grew up together and our mothers were pregnant with us at the same time. Our birthdays are 2 weeks apart. She was my maid of honor and I gave the baby shower for her oldest son. I have always known her and with the exception of a few years when we lost track of each other, we have always stayed in touch. Her father was a quiet, wise man who loved to golf and have a cocktail or two with dinner at the Country Club. So, she decided to have a reception following the funeral at her dad's favorite place. We grew up there, going to junior golf classes, swimming all afternoon and charging lunch to our dads whenever we could get by with it. My wedding reception was held at "The Club". Her father's tribute had an open bar, food and a piano player...people were dancing. Her dad would have loved every minute.
Also attending was my best friend from high school, who was also my first college roommate. We have kept in touch over the years with Christmas cards and phone calls, Facebook chats and when my mom died...she was there. We happen to share the same first name and in high school, my mom called us #1 and #2 because we were together so much. Oddly enough, we married men with the same last name...so now, we have the same name exactly-very confusing.
I also got to see three other "girls" from my high school class. I hadn't seen them since graduation, 39 years ago. Because of Facebook, my class is reconnecting and I have had some FB conversations with them in the last year. These women were not friends who hung out at my house in high school, but I knew them. One was a friend I knew from my classes, one was part of a group I was in and we shared several friends and one I didn't really know well at all. However, yesterday...within 60 seconds of seeing each one of them, somewhere between the hug and the "I expected you to be blonde" we reconnected in a most unexpected way.
As we sat at our table catching up with children, grandchildren and talking about other classmates...I found myself thinking that this is like something out of a summer novel. Women getting together after many, many years and automatically feeling like sisters. We were there for our friend and as she walked through the room, sipping wine and visiting with family and friends, she would stop and sit with us for a moment when the tears would form and "recharge" before heading off again. She knew that we were holding her up and I knew almost instantly, that these women, some of whom I hadn't seen in decades would also hold me up when necessary.
Time is an interesting thing. It is the great equalizer. It doesn't matter if you were in a clique in high school (who can remember anyway?) and it doesn't matter where you lived or what your father did for a living, you are bonded in ways I didn't really understand until we started forming our group of classmates on Facebook. I was reluctant to join and yet as I have watched our class group grow to well over 100 members in the past year and now after actually meeting with some old friends face to face, I realize that those shared memories of our families, our town and our classmates really are something unique to a small group of people. As we all face the challenges that come with being this age, we are in the same boat and it is really wonderful to know that someone else will grab the oars and row for a while if you can't.
If you have lost touch with old friends or classmates, I really suggest that you start a group on Facebook and start looking. Take the risk. Don't assume that because you weren't best friends in school that you can't be friends now. The people that remember your parents, that remind you of the time you skipped class or sipped that first beer...they have your back and we all need a dose of that sometimes.
Can you pick me out of the senior pictures above?