The Pie Baker

Fresh from the Oven

The Company We Keep…and Lose

A while back I took the plunge and registered with one of those social networking sites on the grand old internet. As a result, people I knew from high school and junior high even, starting wanting me to be their friend and exchange little tokens or play games using the site as a conduit. I had not seen – much less spoken with – a large majority of these people for 25 years or more, but I reluctantly said I would be their friend and was then inundated with information about people I barely know.

The one highlight from this whole experience was that I was able to reconnect with a couple of junior high school friends who I splintered from in high school. There was no real catalyst for the end of our friendship, it’s just that we walked different paths by the time we made it to the big time. One was increibly intelligent – so much so that she was a little weird – and the other was the most sexually aggressive 16 year-old I had ever seen, so I found myself somewhat intimidated by her. In junior high, there was a fourth who rounded out our quartet, to whom I stayed close (with the exception of a few years when I would not speak to her – but that’s another blog entirely). She became pregnant at the age of 16, so didn’t accompany us to high school.

Fast forward 26 years – and we find our heroine at an Olive Garden a couple of weeks ago sharing a bottle of wine, conversation and memories of what it was like for us as girls in the 70’s and 80’s. We had arranged to meet and catch up, and I admit I had some nervous excitement about the evening. Would I remember what they looked like? Would I have interesting anecdotes to share? Would I be able to make them laugh?

While there were obvious changes from those days of dancing to the original version of “Funky Town,” the four women around that table strangely and silently agreed to reinhabit those former selves and serve the quartet in their assigned capacity: “L” was the social director, “T” was the brainy doctor who told stories of living and working in China and “J” was still the highly sexual, yet Earthy one. Me? I was the comic relief, as always. Those were our roles and we each, I think, quietly brought them out to play before returning home to our respective responsiblities and tucking them away for the next time.

As I drove home that night, I wondered why we had lost touch in the first place. What chasm had been so great that we went our separate ways and didn’t bother to keep in touch for over 25 years? Two of us went to college and the other two started familes early and are now grandmothers! What wonderful times we could have shared during those years, but the best I can come up with is that we had to be on our own in order to know how good we could be together. It’s integral to growing up.

Outside of my father, those women have known me the longest duration of time about 3/4 of my life. Even friends to whom I am incredibly close now – and have known for over 15 years – don’t know about the dances we attended and how it took us hours to get ready. They don’t know about the secrets we told each other or the nicknames we had for each other. And what’s funny is – they are the only friends my 80 year old father remembers me having! Although there were more to come, those were my starter friends – the ones who taught me what it means to be a friend, to need a friend and to keep the really good ones…no matter how long it is before you see them again.


March 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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