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Monday, August 17, 2009

BFF


It was the summer of 1965 and I had just acquired a new stepfather and a move to the country at the same time. I was missing my friends in town very much. We had hung out together all the time. I didn't want to attend my stepfather's church. I didn't like being the new girl.

The first time I walked into the little country Baptist church, I felt as though everyone's eyes were on me and my mother...sizing us up. I don't remember who spoke to whom first, but Jeanne says that I linked my arm through hers and said, "We're going to be best friends."

I had just turned twelve a month before, and Jeanne's twelfth birthday would be the next month. From the first day we met we were soul mates. She lived across the street from the church and I lived about a mile away. I rode my bicycle to her house almost every day and we would explore the tiny village, go inside the church where we would tinker around on the piano and sing, sing, sing. There were picnics on the creek that included a few slices of bologna, colby cheese and saltine crackers. We thought it was wonderful. She spent the night with me often, and we drove my poor mother crazy with our giggling and incessant talking.

When school started in September, I was scared to go into the classroom, but Jeanne helped me get over my fear and introduced me to our classmates. We were best friends throughout junior high and high school. We saw each other through heartbreaks, crazy stunts, boring or obnoxious teachers, and the annual slumber parties. I think we had a little tiff once, but it didn't last long and we made up as best friends do.

Jeanne at age seventeen.


















We both got married young and I commiserated with Jeanne when she was going through a divorce and a very serious health problem. We both experienced the loss of a parent. Our oldest sons are only a few months apart in age. Our second sons both were diagnosed with Type I diabetes. We even have the same overlapping front tooth. There have been times when we lost touch over the years from moves to other locations or just being busy raising young families. But I know that whenever I pick up the phone and call her number, it's as if we just saw each other yesterday.

When Jeanne turned 50, her husband Rob planned a surprise party for her at one of their favorite restaurants. He sent an invitation to us and followed up with a phone call urging me to attend, because he said it just wouldn't be the same without me there. Of course I planned to go, I wouldn't have let anything keep me away.

There were probably about 50 people waiting inside the restaurant for Jeanne and Rob and a few of their friends to arrive. I was sitting at the bar, but facing the front door. We hadn't seen each other in a few years, so I wanted to see her face as she came in. When she walked through the door and we yelled "Surprise!", her eyes went straight to mine and she yelled, "Susan! You're here!". Totally ignoring her other guests and running straight into my arms for a huge hug. It was worth driving three hours for that hug. I'm ashamed to say that I pretty much monopolized her for the next few hours.


This past weekend, when Jeanne came to my house for a visit, she told me that my gift to her of antique aperitif glasses at her 50th is the only one she remembers getting, and they have an honored place inside her china cabinet. I was touched.

We had a wonderful time catching up, reminiscing, eating and looking at old photos and yearbooks. On Friday, we never stopped talking and laughing from the time she arrived at noon, until ten o'clock that night when we both dropped into bed from exhaustion. Then we continued the conversation the next morning as if we never left off. We met up for lunch with another friend from high school who lives near me and reconnected with her and had a very nice visit.

I hated to see Jeanne leave, because who knows when we will get together again, but we promised each other that we will stay in regular contact. And I'm very sure that we will live up to our promise.

34 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I'm crying! Susan, stop it! Every girl should have one of these. My BFF was Tiffany. Things were not so easy, as we lived in the country and everybody was too far away to visit on a whim. We liked to dress alike on the first day of school, we shared boyfriends occasionally (I know, very weird) and even went to college together our first year. She has kinda gone off the deep end now, unfortunately. Too complicated to go into the details, but it makes me sad for the close relationship we had when we were young and skinny and innocent!

Susan said...

Sandy, I'm so sorry that your friend is having trying times.

I didn't mean to make you cry! But I understand the reason. Thank you for sharing your story with me. I have many "best" friends and each one fills certain needs in my life, but Jeanne is my first and the only one who has lasted for 44 years. Longer than my marriage!

Anonymous said...

yep you are right... you made me cry also. I have a best friend too.. we met for the first time in the 5th grade and shared a boyfriend (hers one week mine the next) and 55 years later we are still best friends. Glad you and Jeanne had a good time... you deserve the best.... love you Sis

Cindy said...

It is such a great thing to have someone who has known you this long. My BFF and I grew up across the street from each other. She lives in Georgia now. Whenever we get together, which is usually about twice a year, we do the same thing... laughing fits and talking like we've never been apart. Cherish it!

Susan said...

Awww, thank you, Sissy! You and Phyllis have been together for a long time and she has been a good friend to you, as you have been to her. You deserve the best, too. Love you back.

Susan said...

Cindy, it's wonderful that you are able to get together with your BFF as often as you do, considering the long distance between you.

I cherish every moment I spend with Jeanne and all my dear friends.

Tattered and Lost said...

Wonderful. Exactly what friendship's are about. My best friend and I celebrated our first meeting 50 years ago in January. Thank goodness for the internet which keeps our long distance sisterhood strong. We seldom get to see each other but our friendship remains stronger than ever.

And I so understand that new person feeling having grown up as a child in the military. Always the new kid in school.

Thanks for the really good post.

Natalie said...

So dear. What a treasure the two of you share.

Char said...

such a beautiful friendship. that is a thing to treasure forever.

CottageGirl said...

What a blessing is a good friend! You are so wise to continue to nurture your friendship. Many times other things get in the way ... raising families, tending to aging parents, work ... life.

Congratulations on your BFF! I know that Jeanne is a very lucky girl to have you as her BFF!!!!

ds said...

What a wonderful tribute!! There is just nothing like a BFF. We've been close since we were 13 and I would not trade her friendship for anything. We are each other's lifelines & no matter what the distance, or how long the silence, the connection has never faltered. How lucky Jeanne is to have that with you (and vice versa).

VioletSky said...

I have to call my BFF. It's been too long.

Alaine said...

I loved that story Susan and I had teary eyes too. It's so nice to have such an old friend. I have two, one that goes back to 1954 and the other, 1964. We still keep in touch by phone regularly and might catch up in person about twice a year. It's always special.

Natashya said...

You are very lucky to have such a close and long time friend.

Ruth said...

I'm glad my connection/internet is more cooperative this morning. Last night I tried posting a long comment about 10 times, no luck. :(

But I'm back! :D

It was with wonder that I read this, Susie. And then reading the commenters who had the same life long experiences, I was impressed again.

I don't have a Jeanne, but I have a DeeDee. She moved in from Thailand when I was 13 and lived with us for 3 years until she graduated high school. We fought all the time, but we laughed a lot too. Now, she is a sister, but even more. When we get together, our adoration for each other feels like we can see into each others hearts. It's pretty special. But we hardly ever talk! It doesn't seem to be about that. Strange, no?

DeeDee is the one who grabbed my camera at the wedding and started snapping away (she knew I couldn't), bless her.

Susan said...

Tattered, our friends sustain us, don't they? After all the moving around you did, it is wonderful that you have been able to maintain that important friendship for so long. I was lucky that I only had to move twice in my childhood...in third grade, and the one in this post. Moving can be detrimental to a child, or it can make that child stronger...just depends on the personality and the support one gets.

Susan said...

Thank you, Natalie. I hope you have a Jeanne somewhere in your life. :)

Susan said...

Char, our friendship is a treasure, and like a precious jewel we take it out when we can and polish it and make it sparkle again.

Susan said...

CG, yes, things too often get in the way of nurturing our friendships and I regret the really good ones that have sometimes fallen by the wayside. I'm realizing that as we get older, we must do what we can to keep our connections of the heart as fresh as we can.

And thank you.

Susan said...

ds, you are so fortunate to have that kind of relationship with your best friend. The ones who have known us all our lives are special...they know our history and understand where we came from. I like that you called her your "lifeline"...that's exactly how it feels.

Susan said...

Yes, Sanna, you must call your BFF without delay...one never knows what tomorrow may bring. I think she is waiting by the telephone hoping you will call. :)

Susan said...

Alaine, don't you love that feeling of excitement when you hear one of their voices on the phone? It always makes my day when I talk to mine, or to any of my best friends, and I include my sister and my niece and my SIL in that category, too.

Susan said...

Natashya, I am very fortunate! I hope you have a BFF that you can call when you need someone who knows just what to say, or when you need a good laugh. :)

Susan said...

Ruthie, see? that's what BFFs do...they know just what to do in any given situation, and they just do it without asking, because they know that's what you would want.

I love that you "see into each other's hearts". I feel that way, too.

Oliag said...

What a wonderful post...and yes it brought tears to my eyes too...I wish I kept in better touch with my old high school and college friends...

Susan said...

Thank you, Oliag...it's never too late to reconnect. :)

Alaine said...

Hello Susan, I have given you and your blog an award. You can read the details of it on my blog. I hope you are open to such things.....

Cheers,
Alaine

California Girl said...

Staying in touch, keeping memories alive, our friends are our present, past and future. You two sound like you have the BFF thing nailed!

Susan said...

Alaine, so sorry for the delay in answering...I've been away with friends for a long weekend. Thank you very much for the award...as soon as I have time, I will post it.

Susan said...

Cali Girl, if only I could figure out all the dynamics of other relationships so easily....all would be well with the (my) world.

Elle Bee said...

What a beautiful thing a lasting friendship is. I loved this post.
Elle

The Bumbles said...

Well you obviously touched a chord with this post and I am very late to the party. But I wanted to say that I feel very lucky to have a relationship as you describe with my best childhood friend. She welcomed me the first day of highschool into her circle of friends when I was the new girl at a very awkward stage and although she lives in TX and I am in MA we never skip a beat when we speak, message or visit. Tender memories are a tremendous bridge to friendship you can count on. Thanks for the reminder.

Susan said...

Oh, Elle, I'm so sorry I'm late in responding. I've gotten behind after being away last weekend. Thank you so much for your kind words.

Susan said...

Molly, it's wonderful to see how many people feel the same way about their childhood friends...it seems to be universal...that instant renewal one feels even if it has been a long time between talks.

I'm glad you have a Jeanne!