SEASONS OF LIFE
The first time I became aware of passing time, was when I was in about the third grade. School had let out for the summer, and I was at our house on Old Trail Road sitting beneath the big tree in our front yard, beside the sidewalk. I don’t know why something so insignificant would stick in my mind, but I recall thinking how great it was to be out of school for the whole summer! A whole summer ahead to do whatever I wished. No schoolwork, no getting up early. What a gift summer was. But…then…I thought…it won’t last forever. The summer will pass and I will be back in school again. I’m sure up to that time, my undeveloped brain hadn’t contemplated such a far-ahead event. Then I let my mind wander to other things, but the realization of the passing of time stayed with me.
There are many events of my life that marked passing of time. I remember the exact moment that I decided to become a nurse. I think I’ve mentioned this before. I was crossing the road to Gillispie’s grocery store and the decision popped into my mind. Thereafter I never entertained any other profession. Going to Elmhurst High School before it was time to transfer stays in my mind, too. We got too crowded at Waynedale Grade School, and there were no junior highs back then, so off to Elmhurst we went having to sacrifice being the big kids. We had to be the runts all over again. At least we had “our gang”. We had developed a group of girls that stayed together through all the years to the present time. So being thrown in with a lot of new kids didn’t affect us as much as it might have. What security to have our gang. We weren’t the most popular kids in high school, none of us were cheerleaders, or dated guys on the basketball team, but we were a tight-knit loyal bunch of pals that may as well have taken vows of “to death do us part” because that is how it turned out. Marriage parted us for a while, and of course there were the kids, and the distance, as we went our separate ways, but one day, when the kids were nearly grown we migrated back together again. We met up at least four times a year in Louisville at my house for the weekend. And then, of course, there were “emergency meetings” which could encompass anything that any one of us considered an emergency.
I think the best of us was the open honesty and the trust. None of us felt compelled to “put on the dog”, nobody cared what anyone wore, we just couldn’t wait to get together again and tell each other of our tales. And what a variety of tales we shared. Because we were all so close, nothing was off bounds, no secret too sacred, no sin too great. Nope, we all accepted and looked forward to the next revealing tidbit. There were never any gaps which lacked sharing and depth.
We usually went out to eat once, but most of the time we spent in the house with all the food we bought (chips and dips, and such) laughing ’till we were sick, and bonding ever tighter the older we got. I don’t know that I could have appreciated at the time how unique we were, or how much support we gave each other through all those years of being teens and later, sharing stuff about our kids, arguing with our husbands, or oh, just any old thing. We are truly blessed that we had each other.
Now we are separated again. From Florida to Ft. Wayne. We are grandmothers and great grandmothers. And we wonder what happened to the time. Are we really going to be going to our 50th reunion? Are we really going to be married 50 years soon? None of us have gotten divorces, none of us are widows, and the time keeps passing. We are all still close and care more deeply for each other than I can express. We still manage to get together about twice a year. And we have e-mail of course.
I’m glad we had the opportunity to start out together at Waynedale Grade School together, go to Elmhurst High School, and to have been fortunate enough to spend our lives together. The same “girls” that drove around Hall’s Drive-In flirting with boys, are now old gals, I guess. The mirror is no reflection of who and what we are. We are the young girls who learned to put on garter belts and two hose, and we are the girls who got married, went to school, had children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We are so lucky. To have the history we have is indeed a gift. So…Gelaine Listenberger, Nancy Lee, Betsy Cochran, and Billie Blush…we are forever BFF. (My granddaughter taught me that…it means best friends forever!). Thanks to all of you for every minute, every day, every year that we spent together and will spend together. I wish everyone could be so lucky as we.