Thursday, October 15, 2009


I am fortunate in that I have many wonderful friends in my life. True friends. People that take me for who I am, and are there for me at my most difficult times – as well as the good.

As you know, I spent last weekend with two girlfriends and my daughter in Denver. Lauren made the transition from daughter to friend a long time ago. We share some secrets, although I think she knows where to draw the line – the mother thing rears its head every once in a while. We really have fun together, she makes me laugh – she has a wonderful, quick sense of humor. Thierry and I double date with her and Mike, and have a great time. We talk to each other a couple of times a day on the phone. She is always there for me, and I hope, I for her.

Ann is a fairly new friend and also a co-worker. We work on projects together and use each other as a sounding board when trying to work out professional dilemmas as well as personal problems. We met about 7 years ago or so, through a mutual acquaintance, and got to know each other by working on a non-profit board together. We are different in so many ways, from how we approach a situation, to how we react emotionally to events, to our size and coloring. But we are able to pull on each other's strengths and express ourselves without taking offense – there is no competition between us – just mutual respect. As they say, it is good to find “new” friends along the way, otherwise you may be very lonely in your old age.

Barbara and I have known each other since childhood. We were trying to remember when and how we met. When we grew up there were tons of kids in the neighborhood. Several of my girlfriends had brothers the same age as my brother, David, who is 19 months older than I, so often we all played together. We rode bikes around the neighborhood, played baby-in-the-air, monkey-in-the-middle, and 4-square in the driveway. It usually went well until someone called me bird... which necessitated my lashing out – one time slapping Jed Miller square across the cheek! He wasn't happy.

Barbara and I decided we probably met in 4-H (I may have been 8 years old). I think it's still around – “I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to..... and my Health to....”, I forget the rest. The 4-H was started to provide hands-on learning to children and was concentrated in rural areas. Out in the country, 4-H'rs are involved with raising farm animals, as well as promoting other wholesome interests (skill building) to bored youths . All of us kids had to pick “project(s)” to work on. Because my dad had a huge garden in the backyard, I picked flowers and my brother selected vegetable gardening. It didn't end there. We also picked electricity (???) and I had sewing. The only thing I'll say about the sewing is that to this day, the only things I can sew are hems and buttons. (We had to make something from scratch – mine was a skirt which I never wore). Barbara also did sewing and I believe flowers, although I have a vague memory that she grew strawberries as well.

Barbara lived about two blocks away from us, down the street and around the corner. The corner was often our meeting place. That was where she gave me the shocking news that her parents had separated. I couldn't believe it, as that was something you rarely heard way back then.

Her mother became my adopted mom, cooking bacon and eggs (cooked in the bacon fat!) for all of us in an electric frying pan on Sunday mornings when I was supposed to be in church. We partied quite a bit in that house... along with my brother and Barb's brother Steve, but that is a whole other story, which may never go into print. Barbara is terrific about remembering birthdays, sending cards, etc. I am not!

Although the depth of friendships don't depend on the length of the acquaintance, I find it amazing that my friendship with Barbara has lasted almost 50 years and has withstood time, marriages, children, illnesses and 3,000 miles of country between us. We have that “connection”, and I am sure that we will remain close for the rest of our lives.

To all of my friends, thank you for being in my life.

Today it is cold and rainy in Philadelphia. I am busy killing cancer cells at the infusion center – and today is going to be a great day!

1 comment:

Karen Kron said...

You reap what you "sew", Mary! You obviously are a very treasured friend to many as well!! You seem to put all of you heart and soul in everything you do!