Sunday, January 25, 2015

Old friends...

"Old friends you haven't seen in a long time is, for me, a glimpse of who I was.

I said good-bye to the last of the four of us today. How many times have we said good-bye to another since elementary school? Driving home from the airport, I found myself smiling, remembering all the years of friendship that the four of us have shared.

Donna, Ann and Louann arrived in San Antonio Friday afternoon. Since our 40 year Houston R.E. Lee High School Reunion, we had all made a conscientious decision to get together on a regular basis.                                                                                                         

Lucy & me with Louann Clark Gallagher, Donna Demanzuk Wilems, Ann Denton Werline
Sooner than we had planned or expected, Donna and Ann showed up at my front door the night before Steve’s memorial service. What incredible friends to stand by my side during one of my most difficult good-byes. A short month after Steve passed away, there the three of them were again, planning a special trip for our little group. We went to St. Petersburg, Florida for a get away, and oh, what a healing time that was for me. Then six months later, plans were made for us to spend a few days in Galveston. Now, here we were united again for a week-end of being together in San Antonio.

St Pete's August 2013

Galveston May 2014

There is something so true about old friends enabling you to see a glimpse of who we were. I find myself thinking I have matured, seasoned, morphed over the years. That time, life, and experiences have all reshaped and molded me into this 60 year old person I know today. Perhaps, I am no longer that naive, fun-loving, shy, insecure and awkward youngster and teenager that I was so very long ago. Perhaps, I have grown beyond that young me and through time, no, because of time, I am now this person I seem used to calling me.

I believe some of this is true. I am older, wiser and wider. I have indeed morphed through time, however, being with old friends, tends to gently blow away the dust of the years and enable us to see a glimpse of who we once were.

Laughing together, we reminisced and relived the crazy antics of our youth. We became “those young girls” again, and it was good. We laughed about some story that maybe two of the four of us could remember vividly, while the other two had long forgotten that any thing of the sort had ever taken place. It is those sparks of, “Oh wow, I had completely forgotten that...” that take us away from the present and happily lure us back into the past.

Suddenly, all time washes away. Memories of our teen years, without warning, come to life again. All the sights, sounds and smells come into focus. These memories bloom into colorful glimpses enabling us to see the images of our younger selves. Perhaps, none of us have grown so far, or changed much from who we who we were at 16 years old to who we have become today at 60 years old. After much laughter and reminiscing, it seems we have not changed as dramatically as might have thought. That underneath the layers of experience lies the true foundation of who we will always be.

Brooke, along with Ann’s daughter, Laura were able to join in our fun Saturday night.  Sharing childhood experiences with your own adult daughters laughing along beside you, holds a joy all of its own. As we sat around the table telling our daughters of our youth, I looked into the faces of each of my precious life-long friends. Here, I was able to see past the wrinkles, past the gray hair (probably because we all color our hair) and I saw, the young girls that we all had been. The twinkle in each eye was the same, each individual laugh was just as distinctive, the mannerism, the personalities, were all still a constant in defining each of my dear friends. It was the briefest glimpse of who we once were and the reason why we had ever become friends in the first place. I realized that we had each held on to what was authentic within ourselves and we have simply become a bit more honed with time.

Old friends with Brooke

With daughters Brooke & Laura

What a gift that we gave one another this past week-end. To take time away from the present and spend a few days with friends of a life-time. To catch a glimpse of who we once were, and recognize why we will always remain very special friends.

For what it’s worth,

“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.  If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10