Forever Friends

Recently, after reading a list of things people regret when old, I thought of another: letting close friends drift away.

Not keeping in touch with those who shared your path through life is easy, but the resulting loss is great. That’s why Charlie and I, separated by hundreds of miles since our college graduation, continue to talk on the telephone: long and merry chats that cause our husbands to look askance at us.

During a recent call, however, we didn’t laugh until we spluttered. Instead, I listened with concern as my best friend since 7th grade, college roommate, and secret keeper described her recent, unexpected, critical health problems.

As I realized the seriousness of her medical condition, I felt like a piece of my heart was being torn away. The refrain, “I can’t lose Charlie. It’s too soon, too soon,” echoed in my head.

In the days following our conversation, I thought about the girl who rode her bicycle into the driveway of my family’s home in a new town and called, “Hey, you, come here. Let’s talk.”

Charlie had found me, and she stayed with me for the rest of my life.

I’d like to share a memory from the first semester of our freshman year in college, a memory that illustrates the way we were:

Unknown-1We enrolled in badminton for an easy PE credit. We’d played for years with my siblings: fierce matches that ended when my brothers’ mentally challenged dog ate the birdie or someone used a racquet in an unsportsmanlike manner.

As finals week approached, Charlie suggested we buy the required text the instructor had told us to study over the course of the class and study it.

“That’d be a waste of time and money,” I replied airily, “We went to every class, participated the entire time, and played better than most. We know the rules and can keep score. Besides, have you ever heard of a written test in PE?”

On the first morning of finals, a classmate asked at 9:30 if we’d studied for the 10:00 badminton test, which, we discovered as we  gripped our pencils and guessed, focused on the sport’s invention, evolution, and legendary players.

We each received an D- on the test and a C- in the class.

Charlie did speak to me again, but only after making me promise I’d ask nicely—every day for two weeks—if she’d like me to buy her a cherry coke at the student union. Furthermore, I would smile as I bought it and keep grinning as  she drank it.

Lately, our telephone conversations have increased; my forever friend is slowly improving; and memories of her are ever-present.

Don’t let your important friends drift away. Eventually, you will lose one another, and when you do, it will be too soon—and too late to reconnect.

Have some thoughts about today’s post?
Please leave a comment below.

And please forgive me
if I don’t respond right away.
I’m cruising with my sister and niece.
Can you smell the sunscreen?
And hear the chatter?








10 thoughts on “Forever Friends

  1. When I was in sixth grade we did a unit on poetry. My teacher shared this poem:
    Around the corner I have a friend,
    In this great city that has no end;
    Yet the days go by, and weeks rush on,
    And before I know it a year is gone,
    And I never see my old friend’s face,
    For Life is a swift and terrible race.
    He knows I like him just as well,
    As in the days when I rang his bell,
    And he rang mine. We were younger then,
    And now we are busy, tired men:
    Tired with playing a foolish game,
    Tired with trying to make a name.
    “To-morrow,” I say, “I will call on Jim
    “Just to show that I’m thinking of him.”
    But to-morrow comes — and to-morrow goes,
    And distance between us grows and grows.
    Around the corner — yet miles away,…
    “Here’s a telegram sir,…”
    “Jim died today.”
    And that’s what we get, and deserve in the end:
    Around the corner, a vanished friend.
    By Charles Hanson Towne

    I have remembered it all of these years and it has helped me to keep in contact with people with the gentle reminder of how swiftly fleeting life can be. What a treasure to have had such a great friend to share your life with. I am sending well wishes and positive vibes her way!


  2. Dear Aunt Beulah, your post rent at my heart. Recently I reconnected with an old friend of over 30 years, we worked , lived and roared about together. She married a Doctor and raised 2 girls. I’m proud of her, she came from a bad home. We never really lost touch, just were in different spaces. As we age I find I to fear that phone call, having a life-long friend is a precious thing indeed…Thank you for your wisdom, I send positive thoughts out to your Charlie, from Sheila.


  3. I am lucky to have friends from different periods in my life. I value their friendship. I think what is striking about these relationships is that when we talk it’s like we have never been apart.

    Have fun!


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