I moved around a lot as a kid. I know I've said that before, but I feel the need to start this post with those words for some reason. Because I moved a lot I was almost always in the market for a new best friend. I've had several of them over the years. As a kid it was a necessity. I lived somewhere for 3 years at the most and when I moved on my friendships had to move on too. Oh I could write letters and make a rare long distance phone call, but eventually having no face to face contact or recent news of my friends took a toll on the friendship.
Best friend number 1 was Staci. We moved next door to her when I was 3. The perfect age for having a first best friend. The summer before 3rd grade we moved from that house to Pearl River, Louisiana, and for the first time ever I had to best friend shop. There was a girl who lived across the street who was nice, but we were friends more out of convenience sake than anything else. A couple of months after school started a new girl moved to town. Bonnie. Not only did Bonnie join my class, but she lived in my neighborhood as well. One day the girl from across the street was invited to Bonnie's house to play. I was jealous! I rode my bike past her house several times that day to see if I would be invited to play too. I don't remember if I was included that day, but I do know that within a few days Bonnie and I became friends. Best friends. She was best friend number 2.
One of our first conversations had to do with the last name that we shared. She was the first person I had ever met outside my own family with the same last name as me. Even more interesting was the fact that our mothers had the same first name. We pretended like we were sisters and loved when people asked us if we were related to the other's siblings. We rode bikes, caught minnows and crawfish in ditches, and played radio station by recording ourselves and our records on a tape recorder. We tap danced on a piece of plywood, and I got a gigantic splinter in the bottom of my foot that had to be removed by a doctor. We rode our bikes to the new edition in our neighborhood and jumped on a trampoline in someone's backyard. We were on swim team together, played kiss and chase with the boys on the playground, and had big fun. But the fun could only last so long. The summer after 5th grade my family moved again. This time to Houston, Texas. Bonnie and I wrote letters, and we each made one trip by airplane for a visit. Actually now that I think about it she might have made two trips. Over the years our letter writing became less frequent, but I always seemed to know where she was or where she had recently been. I think the last letter I received from her came when I was in college. I also seem to remember talking to her on the phone once after I got engaged in 1990, but my memory could be playing a trick on me. After we moved to Turkey in 2002 there were a couple of emails exchanged I think, but I don't remember who found who or how we got each other's email addresses. I hadn't heard from Bonnie in quite a few years, but recently she found me on Facebook, that wonderful friend reconnecter. Last night we had the chance to chat for a bit. We reminisced about some of the people we knew from elementary school. I must admit that I could barely call anyone by name. The fact that I've moved to new cities 7 more times since that move to Houston in 1980 has really messed with my memory of people. I've had several more best friends since Bonnie, and I'm sure there are more new friends in my future.
Some people say that the art of letter writing is lost. That people don't take the time to truly connect with people anymore. I can agree with that on one hand, but I know what it's like to lose track of friends. Because of the internet, Facebook, instant messaging, and SMS I don't have to lose people anymore. I might not have the chance to talk to some of my friends for weeks or even months, but I can have an instant connection anytime I want, day or night. And for that I am thankful.
Me and Bonnie at the airport in 1982 on my trip to visit her. (And can I just say that my dad took me shopping for my outfit. It was Gloria Vanderbilt! My mom wouldn't have ever paid what he paid for those pants and that shirt, but he didn't know any better!)
Thanks for the fun chat, Bonnie! I look forward to many more!