Fifty Years

Neither of us remember how we met. Kids don’t make much of a fuss about making friends; they just sort of… become. I still have a few of those black-and-white pictures we used to be able to take – stacked four on top of one another – in those little photo booths you could find in department stores back in the 70s. I love and treasure those photos of the two of us crammed together into that little booth, grinning big toothy smiles, being silly or just unselfconsciously staring into the camera with serious, loving looks on our faces.

Selfies, decades before the official age of selfies.

We looked a lot alike and people asked us – all the time – if we were related. We made up a very elaborate story of being sisters who were separated at birth but who somehow magically found one another a decade later. It was such a fun story to tell and – because we did resemble one another – fairly believable. I half believed the story myself.

Our friendship was an easy one: she was as elegant as her beautiful – and elegant – mother. We both loved to read. We both loved to sing. We were dreamers. I was a little goofy; she was goofier. We were never at a loss of things to say.

At some point near the end of elementary school, my friend’s Mom moved to a little town perhaps 10 kilometers away. We visited one another a few times but such a separation – at age 11 – might as well have been 10,000 kilometers. It didn’t take long before our young lives took over and we lost touch.

For some reason, as one decade became two, then three, then five, I always thought of my friend at Christmastime, usually when I would play Loreena McKennitt, whose voice always reminds me of my friend’s lovely voice singing Where Have All the Flowers Gone? and convincing me – for a short time – that she had written the song herself (was I impressed!).

We reconnected recently on Facebook. I have a love-hate relationship with social media: there is so much room there for easy, anonymous meanness and fake news of every conceivable size and colour. But there is also the possibility of connecting with an old friend you haven’t laid eyes on in nearly fifty years.

After a few back-and-forth messages, we decided to meet up in our old home town, next time she would be coming to visit and I would be coming to see my Mom and my sister. I won’t lie: I was a little (well, make that a lot) nervous. I am such an introvert. My idea of a grand outing is a quick trip to the store. I love quiet pursuits such as reading, writing and knitting. “What if she finds me bone-crushingly boring?” was my first thought. “What if I can’t think of anything to say?” was my next worried rumination.

A few nights before we were to meet up, I texted her and asked what time I should drop by (she was staying at her Mom’s old house so I knew how to find her). When she suggested 10:30 a.m. I gulped but then quickly sucked it up. I am not a morning person but clearly, my old friend fell into that dreadful category (actually, she doesn’t, she would later tell me). I guess I was so appalled by the early hour that I overplanned: by the time I was leaving my sister’s house, I had it in my head that we were to meet at 10:00. And I arrived promptly a half-hour early.

“Is Patti here already??” I heard her call out – aghast – to her husband, when I came to the door a full half hour before she had been expecting me.

So much for good ‘first’ impressions.

As elegant as ever, she floated into the kitchen where I stood shyly – and very embarrassed – waiting. Her hair was long and flowing and she was wearing a gorgeous, creamy-white, vintage nightgown. My first admiring thought was that I could never pull off looking that elegant if someone showed up on my doorstep a half hour earlier than I was expecting them.

Thankfully, things just kept getting better from that point on.

It was late November and my friend – who later confessed that she, too, had been a little nervous – had suggested we go to a few local markets of artisans selling their Christmas wares. It was such a lovely, soothing way to bridge a 50-year gap. We wandered about, sometimes on our own; sometimes together and gently, quietly got reacquainted with one another.

When we got hungry, we bought some food being sold by a local vendor and plopped ourselves down at a table to eat. Accompanied by the comforting sound of Christmas shoppers floating past, we began to catch one another up on the five decades of our lives since we had last seen one another.

Not once did we find ourselves at a loss for things to say.

I have done a lot of thinking about soul connections as I have aged. We may grow older; our hair may turn white and our youthful skin may gain a few wrinkles, but I think our souls must run on a different plane. At one point, as my friend shared bits of her life and I quietly munched and listened with my full attention, I felt a surge of love for her – starting at the place in my chest where I have always imagined my soul to be – and flowing up and out of me. It felt like no time at all had passed since we had last broken bread together. Despite the cumulative 100 years of life experience we have both lived since, it was as if our souls still easily remembered the way of things.

We still look a lot alike. At least, that is what a friend of my friend said, when she saw our old – and a few new – pictures on Facebook.

I do think that the souls of good friends; true friends; always remember: whether we are meeting for the first time or whether we are meeting for the first time in fifty years…

Patti Moore Wilson/©




Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

17 thoughts on “Fifty Years”

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