Tuesday, June 15, 2010

People, let me tell you about my best friend...

I've had the same best friend for 40 years and I'm quite proud of that fact!

We met in the fall of 1969 when we were in third grade at St. Theodore's Catholic School in Albert Lea. Mary and I were two of the eight girls named Mary in that class. (And people wonder why I go by my middle name?)

It was my second attempt at third grade and as traumatic as it was at the time, if I hadn't stayed back, Mary and I would most likely not have become friends. It took me about 38 years to figure that out and at my surprise 50th birthday party, Mary thanked my mom for holding me back in third grade. It might have been the first time my mom even realized the impact of that choice.

(So there's another positive to having ADD!)

I don't know many people that have had the same best friend since grade school. Albert Lea is a smaller community, so even though Mary and I went to different schools in 5th & 6th grade (Catholic school was shuttered after our 4th grade year), the friendship maintained. From 7th grade until graduation, we were back together again in the same schools. 

I'm sure many of our friends wondered if we were fused at the hips. 

It would be disingenuous if I didn't admit to a fight in college that was so nasty, we didn't talk for a couple of years. The topic of the fight? A guy. What a mistake! But it also made us realize the value of our friendship. When I talk to young ones about their best friends, I always warn them about the "guy" issue and to promise each other that they would never fight about a guy!

*I did create a voodoo doll in the likeness of this guy and stick pins in it regularly. Because of this fight, I have no photos of the two of us (Mary & I, not the guy) prior to 1983 cuz my evil twin destroyed all the pictures!* 

Today, we live hundreds of miles apart from each other (She's in Atlanta & I'm in St. Paul) and we may not have time to talk for weeks, but when we are together, it's like no time has passed since our last conversation.

Mary comes home to Albert Lea twice a year -the Christmas holiday time and the week of the Freeborn County Fair. Those are two of my favorite weeks and are required vacation time.  When I was a kid, the week of the county fair was always the signal that summer was almost over and we would be back in school soon. Now, instead of dreading fair week, I look forward to it!

I've been so blessed to have a friend who knows all my weakness and strengths and loves me anyway!

Who is your oldest and dearest friend? Do you know anyone who has the same best friend since 3rd grade?


sam and Mary said...

So here I am...In Chicago...away all week. Tons of work to do, so what does one do...go on Facebook. Wow...what a wonderful night this has turned out to be. I read this and ralized how blessed I am to have my best friend of 40 yrs. Wow, I hope my girls can say that! Mar..you are the BEST and that guy...he is a memory past....and we have grown from that. Hey even our girls laugh at it. I love you and thanks for making my night...or should I say my YEAR..my life!

Lynne Hartke said...

I don't have a best friend from when I was small, but an adult girlfriend and I both had our oldest sons in September of 1984. Our boys grew up near each other and have maintained their friendships through several moves, job changes, living out of state, etc. Each of them served as best man in the other's weddings and remain friends today, 25 years later.

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