I have been weeding through the clutter in our guest room/office.  I found my old photo album from high school/college/on my own years.   I also found one of my high school year books.  I never found the other three high school years.

I love looking at old photos – those dated from the 70’s and early 80’s.   What really made me laugh until my stomach began to hurt, was reading some of the comments on the photos and in the year book.    Of course, there are those pictures of [my]  smaller waist size and really crazy hair styles!   What was with that hair?!

My friendships have blossomed over many years in Catholic school – to – Public school.  Moving from the city to suburbia.  I loved meeting new friends.  One of those friends is Mark.   He was the first guy friend that I made in this new high school full of denim and free spirits.  Mark was a senior as I was a junior that year.   His father Mr. Altland was our high school guidance counselor.    Mark and I became friends almost immediately.   Not to mention he offered to drive me to school so I didn’t need to take the bus.   We lived in the same suburban district, but a main road divided our communities.  Each morning he would pick me up – we would stop to pick up another friend and head to York Suburban.  Mark became another brother to me.  My parents loved him….and I loved his parents.   I took part in getting Mark “hooked up” with a girl he worked with….which later turned out sour….but I don’t allow him to blame me anymore for that chaos!    Mark taught me how to drive his manual truck, which to this day he would blame me for burning out his clutch.   I blamed him for “stalking” me when I had a date – later to find out,  that “stalking”  was a team effort facilitated by my own father!    Like some friendships, distance played a role in ours.    From moving, to marriages, to children, and now another move.   But we have never lost contact.   Or the blame game.  Mark will always be my big brother.  I’m glad he approves of Football Superstar – there will be no more stalking.

LeeAnn and I have a friendship going back over 20 years.    We began teaching together at a new preschool center in Pennsylvania – we knew that first day – this was going to be a friendship – a crazy friendship filled with laughter that could send you to the ER!   We’ve encounter some perfect storms in our personal relationships, careers and her health.  It’s a sisterhood of honesty….sometimes pain….but enough love to make the a cruise ship sink.  LeeAnn graduated from the same high school as Mark and I.  She was two years behind me, and of course,  I was so busy being an upper-classman, I didn’t have time for Freshmen.   We watched each others children grow from diapers to driving.   College to music careers.  And one who LeeAnn called from birth – Apple Cheeks.  We had our dream business, to dream homes on the beach, to dreaming of having those [apple pie days] once again while nearly running some poor Amish boy off the road.   (that was clearly her fault)    Painting fights in the middle of the city street, eating Chinese food out of cartons, and so many coffee talks that could put you in a coma.  My husband will typically clear the room when we are together – it’s a five in one conversation.   And the beauty of a friendship like that is…..we know exactly what the other is going to say!     We live in the same state once again.   Virginia.  Yet miles apart.  But nothing changes with our relationship.   I’m sure there will be yet another move – by one of us, or both of us in the future.   And nothing will change.   I love you my dear friend!   I love those brown boots you wear.  (no, seriously I do!)     I love that you still finish my sentences.

Thank you for these wonderful – crazy – full of adventure – painstaking – years!

Jeanne and I met when I purchased my first home in the city.   She and her husband Calvin, are wonderful people.  For my first real neighbors living on my own – they were incredibly helpful and Jeanne’s hospitality was off the charts!    Our properties were divided by a 3 foot wrought iron gothic style fence.  We could easily chat from the steps of our back yard porches.  I loved when she would “deliver” delicious meals to me by handing them over the fence!  My beloved Rottie Bella, would sit patiently by that same wrought iron fence, waiting for Calvin to bring her a homemade frozen treat from their freezer.  Jeanne would take carrots and green beans that were not used for any of her catering needs, and create doggy delights for my very spoiled  furbaby.     Living in the city next to Jeanne and Calvin was filled with love and friendship.   Saturday mornings, we would walk to Central Market for fresh produce, huge fresh cut sunflowers, and of course – breakfast.   I can still see Jeanne flowing quietly in their back yard doing Tai Chi, or working endlessly in her narrow – but gorgeous flower and herb garden.  (which was once featured in Better Homes & Gardens)  Jeanne and Calvin became family.   And to this day – we are still very good friends.

Nikola and I met two summers ago while she was in Virginia working as a life guard at our pool.  Niki and Apple became instant friends while Niki would swim her laps before the pool opened for the day.   Apple was having swim lessons from a private swim instructor.   After each swim lesson, Niki would make it a point to share her fruit and extra yogurt with Apple, and Apple was always willing to give up her banana.  This interaction led to not only a new friendhip between Apple and Niki, but an addition to our family.   Nikola became our “host daughter”.   While Niki was here on a work Visa from the Czech Republic, we enjoyed having the opportunity to learn about her country, her family, and her goals after she graduates from college.  As the summer moved along, so did our friendship with Niki.     She gave such kindness and respect to everyone she met – whether it was a local swimmer practicing for a swim meet, families escaping the summer heat, to the Redskins rookies taking over the pool with their cannon ball competition (boys will be boys) – Niki was that special  young woman who was eager to learn and speak English, explore historical places and eat  American food!  What fun we had showing Niki around the District and taking turns creating delicious recipes from her country and ours.    Labor Day was approaching  – school was beginning and Niki needed to return home.   Her going away party was bittersweet.   Neighbors and friends, family, and even two Redskins rookies stopped by to wish her luck.    Apple and Niki had a difficult time separating.   Both girls knew all through this wonderful summer – saying goodbye to this new relationship wasn’t going to be easy.   Niki and Apple made pinkie promises together (while using their French words!) that they will e-mail, Skype, snail mail, and chat on the phone.   And that’s exactly what has happened.  Nikola and her friend Robin are living in Canada for this year – both working towards their business/communication degrees.  She loves living abroad, learning and furthering her English and other studies.  Niki’s recent e-mail explained how she is adapting to her life in Canada…..and enjoying the French cuisine.  Lucky for Niki, she is fluent in the French language!      Perhaps it’s time to renew our Passports and get to Canada before our Niki heads back home to CR.   However, one day we would love to visit Niki and her family in their home country.    I love how summer friendships bloom!

Jacquline and I became friends in first grade at St. Joseph’s Elementary School.  We lived in Elmwood, outside of the city limits.  We were in Brownies then Girl Scouts together, swimming, and sat two seats apart in Sister Katherine’s classroom.  We were  attached at the hip- looking like twins in our royal blue knee-highs that matched our Scottish plaid uniforms.  Our parents knew each other from school and church.  Sadly, Jacquline’s father was killed when we were in second grade while riding his bike to work.  Richard was a cyclist, and loved riding his bike everywhere.   Her mother, Madeline was my confirmation sponsor, and was an amazing woman raising not only her young daughter on her own, but her two younger sons.  Madeline never remarried – stayed strong in her faith – and continues to bring joy to her family.   Jacquline and I lost contact years after I moved and attended Public school.  But a few years ago she contacted my father and we were once again reconnected.  And I was thrilled to hear from her!   It’s been fun reminiscing about our sleep overs, our First Holy Communion, the time she cut my hair, and the time we shared the same crush on a certain beach bum during our summers in NJ.   What fun we are having – returning to those memories we made so many years ago.

I have made some wonderful friendships – I am blessed to have not only the friends in the above writing, but so many other great people who have entered my life whether in the past or present.    It is so true…. friends love at all times.



6 thoughts on “Friendship

  1. What a wonderful tribute to your friends. So many times people do not take the time to tell their friends just how much they mean to you until they are gone and the words are spoken in an eulogy. Kudos to you for letting your friends know how they made a difference in your life and your love for them. Just so you know, our friendship has remained in tact regardless of and maybe even in spite of the past. There are many times a memory of you surfaces and brings a smile to my face. Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sharon, you certainly know how to bring “happy” tears to a girls eyes! We could write a book on our own friendship….the many paths we walked together. xoxo Love you too!


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