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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Friends

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!

12 comments:

becky marshall said...

Pearl River, Louisiana, huh? Amazing...

Olga, the Traveling Bra said...

Nice post! And I agree...thank goodness for the internet! I know my life wouldn't be the same without it! :)

Joy in the Burbs... said...

Awww, the best friends stories makes me cry. I never had to move as a kid. My girls have had to move though. We promise them that we will keep up with their friends, but we all know the truth.
That is cool you dad took you shopping and got you some GV.


Joy

BonnieKay said...

Hi Nat! Thanks so much for writing this! There are certain people in your life that just stick with you. I'm blessed enough to have 3 or 4 of those. I'm so glad Facebook came along so we could STAY reconnected.

I have some other fun pictures of us in a box somewhere. I'll try to dig those up.

I remember our music teacher, Mrs. Long, was shocked when you moved away. I think she thought we were really sisters and the family was splitting up. Too funny.

Domestic Goddess said...

I am LOVING FB right now. Sometimes you just lose touch, and I am so happy to find my best childhood friend, my gang from High School and folks I knew in grade school. It is just WAY too much fun!

Charlie Hills said...

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.

Well, it's my very first time here, so that helped. :)

Mamadallama said...

Lovely post! My husband and I have talked about how things have evolved and friendships are easier to keep going because of computers, IM, and cell phones/texting. We see it with our son who still keeps in touch with people he's met on vacations over the years. It's a very interesting phenomenon.

Jason, as himself said...

I've been reading a lot of stories like this one, and yes, it is amazing how we can maintain contact so easily. And immediately!

citizen of the world said...

I moved about every three years as a kid, too. And recently found some old high shcool buddies on facebook. I hate all the extra stuff on facebook, but I love it as a means to find old friends.

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

It is so cool how facebook and the internet in general allows us to reconnect with old friends, especially for those of us who moved around every few years.

What fun for you to reconnect with Bonnie!

Momo Fali said...

Who would have ever imagined back then, that you would reconnect and communicate through computers! Amazing.

Natalie said...

becky - i know! it's a suburb of slidell...if there could be suburbs of slidell that is!

olga - i know! you have had many an adventure because of the internet! i do wish i had gotten you to turkey while we were there!

joy - it's hard. we promise our kids we will keep up with friends, but in reality we know that we won't. and years down the road they will remember those early friends with fondness, but that will probably be it. thankfully they will have new friends to take the place of those they've left behind!

bonniekay - you are so welcome! i loved chatting and can't wait to catch up some more! and i would love to see some pictures! i remember trying out for 6th grade chorus and making it and then moving and totally missing out! mrs. long...didn't even remember her name!

domestic goddess - me too! so fun to catch up with people. even if it is just a quick note on their wall it's still fun to see where they are!

charlie hills - welcome! glad you stopped by!

mamadallama - i agree! i am happy for my kids as well. the fact that they can maintain those friendships they made in turkey makes moving to the states much easier!

jason - we are a country of instant gratification. in this case i don't think it's bad at all!

citizen - i love that too. i am not really into all the extras, but i love the people part!

andrea - i am amazed at the power of the internet. truly amazed!

momo fali - i hadn't thought of that. yeah...when i think back to those days of going from a 8-track to a cassette and how technological we were i would never have dreamed we would be where we are today!