Monday, April 02, 2012

Old Friends

Four years ago today I stopped by my friend Paula's house to drop off a birthday present for her. It was a planter planted with spring flowers and I knew she would be at work so I planned to leave it on her front porch with a card. I rang the bell on the off chance someone was home and she answered, looking pale and shaky. "Don't come in—I have the flu." I left the flowers and wished her a speedy recovery and left. She has no memory of the flowers or the day or our short conversation. By the next day she was in ICU fighting for her life against a virus that was attacking her brain. This was followed by a near fatal drug reaction and weeks and months of recovery.  She recovered and today is celebrating another birthday. Happy Birthday, Paula!

This is me (left) and Paula (right) as we appeared in our High School yearbook, senior year. By then we thought we had been friends forever—8 years! We met in fourth grade when we were vying for the same boyfriend. We were in different classes, but managed to make each other quite miserable competing for this cute boy and ended up in a conflict that our teachers finally had to resolve. I still remember Paula's teacher saying, "You are both nice girls who should be friends and should not be so angry toward one another." The teachers determined that we should be made to eat lunch together for a week and get to know one another. At the end of the week we were buddies. Neither of us knows what happened to the boy we both adored. We have been friends since—through college, marriage, children and grandchildren. We started together in Pocatello, Idaho, then after college we each moved away, but always stayed in touch. In 1993 I moved to Portland where Paula lived. Today we live about 3 miles apart and see each other weekly. We have been friends for 56 years. I love her dearly and am so grateful that she is here.

The older I get the more I realize what great fortune I have in my friends.

Today I learned that another old friend, from college, died yesterday. I have not seen, nor been in touch with him for many years, but the news brought back a flood of memories of a talented, creative soul and sweet and generous friend and I am sad to know that he is gone.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, 
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  
—Marcel Proust


  1. Fitzy4:56 AM

    A beautiful post of love and honor.

  2. Thanks for sharing. After 2 months of loss after loss I have determined to write a gratitude list of all the blessings in my life. You've certainly contributed to that. Thanks.

  3. I lost my BFF 7 years ago, when she lost her battle with cancer. It has left such a huge hole in my life. But God has been good, to bring new friends into my path. Hug your friend. They are precious gifts from the Lord.

  4. There is something about reconnecting with old friends. My college roommate and I have never quite lost touch -- since 1948! -- though there have been many gaps in our communicating. Currently in contact and sharing our respective decrepitudes.

  5. Anonymous9:17 AM

    How precious indeed are our old friends... thanks for sharing a beautiful reminder.


  6. What a great story. :-)

  7. touching! thanks for sharing.and the nudge to charish our friends now.