Adventures in Friendship

In another week or so, we'll celebrate our 49th wedding anniversary. During the first thirteen years we were married, we moved thirteen times. Then we returned to Near Philadelphia where we bought a house that was home for twenty years before we sold it and moved to our current home sixteen years ago. We accomplished all but one of those moves ourselves (the one the Navy paid for went less well than all of the others combined), renting U-Haul trucks whose backs and sides at the time always read "Adventures in Moving."

We took a little trip this weekend back to one of the Ohio towns where we lived a couple of times during the 1970s. As we drove across the familiar I-80, I remarked to Himself that it seemed funny that of all of the people we'd met during those early years, very few were still part of our lives. We decided that during the Navy years we resisted getting too deeply involved because we knew we'd be moving and certainly the same was true for the Chicago spell. It was during the two stays in Ohio that we made some deep, real connections with people, connections that last even until now.

I met Guenveur just two or three months after we arrived in Kent when she and I were group mates in the training class for the crisis intervention center where we both became volunteers. She was the only real grown-up in the class, the rest of us being somewhere in our twenties, and she became not just a friend but a mentor and voice of wisdom for me. She's the person who, upon meeting Joe for the first time told me, "Hang onto him. He's going to age well." Of course, she was right. A survivor of not one but two broken/replaced hips, she still lives in the same house in Kent with two of her adult children nearby and still, after all these years, responds to "How're you doing?" with her standard, "Fair to middlin; can't complain." I saw her on Friday for lunch, and we had the best time (and most yummy meal).

I met Roberta around the same time that I met Guenveur; we both attended a meeting of the Welcome Wagon club for people new to Kent and although I think we never attended another general meeting, we agreed that the brand new Welcome Wagon Book Club was to our liking, and joined that together. Within very short order we introduced our husbands and had some mighty fine Saturday evenings together. Lloyd was the rector of the little Episcopal church in town, and one of his favorite tricks after an evening of exhilarating conversation was to say, "Well, I just tried out tomorrow's sermon on you. How'd you like it?" Apparently we liked it, because Lloyd ended up baptizing all of our children and causing us to give up our status as proud heathens in favor of Episcopalianism.

We spent two nights at Roberta's this weekend. Lloyd is living with a degenerative illness and resides a couple of minutes away at a care center. We took dinner into the care center so we could all have a meal together, and still enjoyed both serious conversation and gales of laughter.

None of these dear people is up to visiting Philadelphia, so we try to go about once a year to see them. And we are always glad.

We passed a fair number of U-Haul vans and trucks on I-80 and were sorry to note that they no longer say "Adventures in Moving." I thought that was a shame.


Synthia said…
Old friends really are the dearest, aren't they?!!
Janet O. said…
Love these insights into your life experiences. Nice post.
Barbara Anne said…
How wonderful that these friends are still dear, if not near! I once read that those friends that seem to fall by the wayside of life are "friends of the road" and those who are part of your life forever are "friends of the heart". So true.

OT Quilter said…
Oh, my. We had a similar visit with longtime friends this weekend. The theme was golden friendship ("Make new friends, but keep the old...") These golden friendships are so wonderful, yes?