Since last week’s post, I’ve been thinking a lot about the bond of friendship (particularly between women). Take ‘Cousin Tuesday’ as an example. Some of the women, I only see in the summer by the pool. Yet, each June, we hug and pick up right where last left.
And the ‘Daughters of Diminished Capacity’ … we may not see or talk to each other for a month or two. No matter. Our laughter and memories hold us in between.
My closest friend, Pat, I’ve known and loved since 3rd grade. Our friendship has bumped a bit in the past, but bumps give it character.
My husband (a whole other type of friendship) and I spend time in the Florida Keys. When we arrive, it’s like we just went to the store for bread and milk (or wine). “Welcome home!” our southern friends say.
I’ve had a friend since toddler-hood. Deb and her family lived next door to us in the old neighborhood. We recently went years without seeing each other, yet a few months ago I sat at her table and we caught up over coffee … just like our mothers used to do. Her mom and mine were best friends, along with Mrs. Litke and Mrs. Shovonski.
So many of my earliest memories include these four women – early 1960’s, all in their mid to late 30’s, living in a cupcake neighborhood in middle class America – everyone married with screaming kids and rhinestone sunglasses.
I so wish to go back in time and sit cross-legged under the kitchen table, listening while they smoke their cigarettes and drink their coffee. I want to know those conversations. I want to know who they really were … besides being our mothers. Back then, I had no interest in anything they might chat about, too involved in being 5 or 6 years old and wanting nothing more than a spin on the merry-go-round.
They probably talked about new recipes and the rising cost of cheese ends, but … what about Jimmy the Milkman and his cute butt!! Or the childless couple who lived on the corner and sunbathed nude on their upper deck! Oh deeeeear (as Mom used to say).
I like to think too, they spoke of dreams and goals, promises and regrets. Having never had this kind of talk with Mom myself (except briefly near the end), I wish to know what she expected out of life. Her greatest accomplishment. What would she take back or do over? I’ve often wondered if we would have been friends.
My mom hadn’t seen Mrs. Shovonski in several years. Last summer at Joann Fabrics, Mom had an ‘accident’. We spent time in the bathroom, cleaning up as best we could and all I wanted to do was hustle her out of the store and home. She sat on her walker seat, so I could quickly push her out to the car.
Almost to the exit, Mom put her feet down to stop and I looked up as she said, “Hey, Shovonski! How the hell are you?” Thinking back on the moment, I am smiling. Between friends … several years (and a little poop) just doesn’t matter.