Posts Tagged 'Old friends'

Found! A long-lost friend.

Kathy and I when we were toddlers with her Mom. I’m the “older” girl 🙂

Our mothers were nursing school friends and that meant Kathy and I were friends too as they, of course, arranged our social schedules. Little girls don’t pick up the phone and arrange play dates.

I have a few memories of times together then her family left Quincy for sunny Arizona for a better climate for her dad’s health. At six years old, we too young to write letters and besides, busy making new friends.

Later, Kathy wrote notes to my mom who was her godmother.  and called a couple of times a year too. My mom would always fill me in on what she was doing but she and I still had no communication.  Apparently, her family visited in 1965, but I was too caught up in my early adolescence and the Beach Boys to remember.

A few years back, I took my mother to visit Kathy’s mom in Arizona where they had a wonderful reunion. Friends for the 70 year journey  Mom told me she told Kathy all about it in one of their phone calls. I was happy they were still in touch.

Then my mom had a stroke on the 4th of July last year. Not life-threatening but definitely life-changing.

Once we settled into the “new normal,” I thought of Kathy from time to time and knew she would wonder why she wasn’t hearing from my mom. I would have contacted her but had no idea where she lived, just “out west” somewhere. Not a great starting point.

As Christmas grew closer, so did my urgency to locate Kathy. Then the most amazing thing happened…

My daughters and I visited Quincy a couple of days after Christmas and as I walked into mom’s house, where she no longer lives, I mindlessly pulled open her mailbox. Not a big deal, right, but after the July stroke, her mail no longer came to this address. Ever. The mailbox was always empty.

Until today.

The mail carrier made a stop that day to my mom’s mailbox to deliver a Christmas card from Kathy with her Utah address prominently displayed. I did a happy dance on the porch and told my girls the story.

After the holidays, I wrote her and she promptly responded. Our adult relationship was taking seed from the vestiges of the past, we had a lot to catch up on. I never dreamed we would meet again.

We did.

In March, we realized I was flying out of Phoenix and Kathy was flying into Phoenix the same day. Five hours separated our flights but we both knew we had to make this happen now or never.

We texted each other selfies for recognition. She waited a few hours at the airport, I arrived a couple of hours early.

After our hugs, our lovely reunion lunch lasted hours. I finally had to pull away to catch my plane. A most delicious time in every aspect.

Old friends reunited at the Phoenix airport!

What are the odds of a longing, a letter and a lunch coming together in three months after sixty years of no contact?  This story will show up in the book I hope to write about how God showed up and amazed me, time after time.

Kathy and I still write letters, and email and text and have a way to go in piecing together the missing years of our friendship but we’re having a great time filling in the blanks.

Missing an old friend? Keep your eyes open, anything can happen!

Hope for the best,





Goodbye to Our Parents’ Friends


Mom and Mary at our last visit.

She heard about it on the radio where she gets all the local news. My mother’s dear friend had died and no one called her. Like my mom, Pat was in her ninth decade but they still talked often on the phone about politics or shared jokes only they would get. Not long ago Pat swooped my mom up one Saturday evening to check out a church supper in a neighboring county. This was their kind of adventure!

“Who am I going to talk to before I go to bed?” was my mom’s lament. The girls still left from the St. Mary Nursing School class of 1947 could be counted on one hand.

June, another classmate, passed on as well, right after Christmas. June was a daily caller when we were kids and my brothers and I always looked forward to those distractions for my mom so we could get away with something.

Last night she got a call this time, Mary also died. Funny but I had just run into Mary’s address and was planning to send her a photo I took last August when we drove to Missouri to visit her on my mom’s last birthday,


like we had the year before. It was almost a tradition. Wish I had sent the photo earlier.

My mom mails me all the obits as these women’s stories were woven through my life as well in our overlapping years. I miss their young faces that I remember.

While we are so grateful for her long life, I can’t imagine most of my friends all passing on leaving me holding the memories, can you?

If you count a circle of friends, treat them well and love them lavishly. Life is short.

Hope for the best,


PS Another nursing school friends post…Friends for the 70 Year Journey

Girlfriends: Part 5


Sunset over the lake from the deck.

“Who were the three senior girl cheerleaders?” was one of the questions in on our high school quiz I devised. We all got that one right but no one remembered the name of our principal. Funny which memories last 47 years!

Stone of Rememberance

Stone of Rememberance

For the 5th time since we turned 60, the “Island Queens” as we named ourselves flew in, trained in, drove in to pick me up and headed north for six days of our own high school reunion and so much more.

One more added to our trio this year and although two of us couldn’t remember any contact with our new queen for the last 44 years, the time machine worked it’s magic. Somehow we morphed into 18 year-olds full of a lifetime of wisdom.


Hair styling

Conversation flowed from make-up to the death of our parents, grandchildren to good brands of jeans, our own mortality to how to make biscotti. There was never a loss of words. In between we sang along to the soundtrack of the 60’s, dropped into all the cute shops on the island, sampled Wisconsin cheese, clinked glasses and celebrated that we made it this far.

New topics get added and ones repeated each year like that one night in the summer of 1968. God-talk comes up often and this year there was more politics than usual.

Our high school mantra were these words from Wordsworth we managed to get into the yearbook. We do bring back the hour one weekend every year  in autumn.

 Do you have your own high school reunions?

Hope for the best,


PS More Queens posts from the past: G’Old Friends: Freshman to Seniors, Road Trip Reunion

Friends for the (70 year) Journey

Omi engagement

My mom in 1948

She was leaning on her walker right outside the door to her assisted living apartment.  She knew we were on her way and I guess she couldn’t stand waiting inside.

“Betty?” she looked tentatively at my nearly 87-year-old Mom and opened her arms.

How long does it take to make a lifelong friend?  For my mom and her friend, Dorothy, nearly 70 years have passed since they first clicked back in nursing school in 1944.  For a short time they both lived in the same town and raised their kids but many years ago health issues moved Dorothy and her family to Arizona and the visits were rare.

Christmas cards and occasional phone calls filled in the highlights but decades passed since their last lunch together, until last Thursday.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall as they did their “remember when’s.”  I grew up hearing stories of their antics but that too was a long time ago.

Six hours later, I picked Mom up and we had one last round of hugs.  She was quiet on the ride back, unusual for my vivacious mother.  Finally she sighed, “I know I won’t ever see her again.”  I think I mumbled…maybe we could come back next year but we both knew it was likely true.

Phoenix 2013 043

My Mom and Dorothy

This morning, I walked my 7-year-old granddaughter to school and on the way one of her friends joined us.  I watched their animated talking and laughing and wondered if this was a “friend for the road or friend for the heart.”  Probably the former, but once in a while, one goes the distance, maybe 70 years.  You never know at first which ones will make it.

If you know who yours are, give thanks and give them a call.

Hope for the best,


G’old Friends: Freshmen to Seniors

We met in the fall of 1964: Ann, Mary and Tish.  JFK’s assignation was less than a year ago and The Beatles were the new group.  High school freshmen at an all girls school, we had not yet come of age.

We were not yet a trio and wouldn’t be for another 46 years.  Back then we hung out along with other friends and dished about boys, our moms, the nuns, and the latest group on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Graduation arrived followed by three different colleges.  The letters flew back and forth…for awhile.  Same topics: boys, our moms, our classes, but now also our faith as we made the journey from what was taught to what we believed and back again.

I walked down the aisle in both of their weddings and sent congratulation cards for at least the first babies.  Before long, only an annual Christmas card defined our relationship.

Occasionally, two of us would pop up out of the long season of life of ten children between us and meet for lunch or stop by on a road trip but never three at the same time.  No one lived in the same town anymore and besides we all had new friends.

In a minute, we all turned 60. Mary invited six of the girls from the class of ’68 to reconnect for a long weekend on Washington Island to celebrate and only Ann and I RSVP’d YES.  I must admit to some curiosity and anxious thoughts, would this really work?

Our first Queens weekend in 2010

By the time we got to the first traffic light, the forty-plus years of separate lives gave way to a sweet alchemy of affection, safety and delightful expectation of what the weekend would look like.  We all gave it a 20 on a 1-10 scale and couldn’t wait for our next reunion.  A year later we returned and so did the magic.

Columbus day weekend 2012

Last weekend was our third time together.  We call ourselves the Island Queens or occasionally the “high school sweethearts.” We still talk about the boys we love (now husbands), our moms and our faith and like most girlfriends… recipes, diets, our children and now grandchildren: eight between us and counting.

We plan to meet annually forever or as long as we can.  As I quoted in my first blog post (… “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”  John Leonard.

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