Tag Archive | friends

Stand by me

I read an article in the Oct. 22 Newsweek about how hard it is for 20somethings to find friends who will last through thick and thin.  I keep thinking about the article, by a mother-daughter team, Robin Marantz Henig and Samantha Henig, which says social media makes it harder for young people to form intimate relationships.

I’m sure that’s true. But what has stuck in my mind is the premise that lasting friendships are formed in your 20s. “The friends we make in our 20s are not only BFFs; they’re also our first truly chosen friends, people we discover as a result of our adult decisions – where to live, work, or study – as opposed to our parents’ choices,” the article says.

Most lasting friendships are the ones you make between 22 and 28, according to research cited in the article.

What’s struck me about all this is how it’s so not the case for me. The major lasting friendships of my life were made at almost 3 (Kelly) almost 11 (Pam), 15 (Anita).

Just before my 13th birthday and just after Pam’s we lived at the Indian Hills pool.

At just turned and almost 15, we were a little surlier about having our picture taken on Pam’s parents’ boat.

Granted, I was married young to a man who a. wanted to keep me socially isolated and b. succeeded by being so unpredictable that no one wanted to be around him. (I wrote about that in an earlier post, American Girl.) My sister – and Pam, after she moved back to town – were the only people I could really count on to stand by me in my 20s. Kelly had moved to Northwest Arkansas and was long-distance by then.

My two good friends I made in my 20s both dumped me – one because I remind her of a time in her life she’d rather not remember and the other because she decided to change her lifestyle and I no longer fit in. Both stung, but I understand.

By my 30s I was working and no longer isolated, and as I was turning 33 I met Rhonda, who was turning 30. She’s been around through thick and thin since the day we became friends (which was not the day we met, but soon after).

In our later 30s, Anita and I joyfully reconnected – she’d moved back to Arkansas after her divorce – and we celebrated my 40th birthday together as I was moving toward a divorce.

Then in my 40s I met Jan, Starla, Dauphne, all people I can count on and consider myself lucky to know. At 50, Susan became a stalwart of my life, and just recently, Julia and I re-met – we know we had to have met in a previous life or have some kind of tie, because the connection was instant. We’ve led very different yet bizarrely parallel lives in many ways.

Pam and I were just talking today about how that article and how “universal” truths are sometimes not so universal, no matter what research shows. She’d popped in for lunch since she was in from Heber Springs for a yoga workshop.

We can do that popping in and out thing without a hitch, though we never learned to do it like Samantha or Jeanie – but not for lack of trying.

Part of the reason Pam, Anita, Rhonda and I differ from the study is the southern gothic lives we’ve lived, I’m sure. None of us took the “go off to college at 18 and make lasting friendships” route. We all did life the hard way for years.

For Pam and me part of the reason is because we grew up on Blackhawk Road in the wonder years and those friendships never die.

Yes, Pam, I know. I still need to write that book.

My iPhone thought Pam and I needed the soft-lens/cheesecloth effect at 57 …

… but we thought we’d do a “photo-booth close-up” reprise, all noses and teeth like in the old days downtown. We don’t care – we’re just happy to be here and to be together.

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The things we do for love

Yesterday as my excellent friend Julia and I were scrambling around cleaning my crazy house for our talented friend Rhonda’s jewelry party, “The Things We Do for Love” started playing in my head.

That’s mildly odd, considering I never loved that song – it’s got a catchy beat and you can dance to it, but it was never on my top hits list.

But it was the explanation for what was going on. Julia, one hand in a removable cast because she has a fractured wrist, volunteered to come help me clean. When you live in a construction project, anything very fancy requires major-league, frantic cleaning. Factor in finals, and egad.

John had more on his mind (like sanding sheetrock, ordering carpet — manly stuff — but he spent much of his day on a ladder vacuuming and cleaning sheetrock (and other) dust and dried doggy drool off the blinds, as well as cleaning the front windows.

When time was running short, Julia took over the decorating of our Christmas tree – you can see how nicely it turned out.

(And check out the detail shot; Jude made the clown ornament when he was 3. Lolly’s little artist.) 

Julia and I have discussed the instantaneousness of our friendship. Wethinks our paths have crossed before.

It’s nice being the recipient of such love. And of course we were doing it out of our love for Rhonda, who makes phenomenal jewelry. (If you missed the trunk show and want to see her wares, visit her website.)

A little sleet and a lot of cold didn’t keep people away and we had a great time. My dear friend Julie scored this fabulous blue necklace.  And Rhonda gave me these supercool earrings. 

Rhonda (of course) and Anita, two of my oldest friends, were there, as well as old friends Sonny (the sole man besides the hubster) and Julie and new friends from school. Cool.

Tess was a perfect lady and Zuzu was good too, unless she was scolding someone (loudly) for daring to take a cream puff. After all, she got slammed to the floor after sneaking her second one off the platter before people arrived. Mom said no! Mom said no!

She tried to explain that cream puffs were off-limits, but she scared some people, unfortunately.

Tess offered a toy to anyone who wanted to play but took it nicely when told it wasn’t play time. At 6, she’s ever so mature. At 14 months, Zuzu is a goofball at times.

OK, back to finals. Just had to appreciate my friends and loved ones. To sign off here’s a very old and fun clip of the Divine Miss M and the Harlettes singing about that very subject.

Excellent friend and neighbor Ellen does early shopping at Rhonda’s trunk show.