Monday, June 20, 2011

This Friend

I met this friend in second grade. We have accomplished something that very few people have. We've managed to keep in touch through the years. Through the moves, the marriages, the children. Our friendship has mostly been nurtured and kept alive on the phone. Hours and hours and hours of phone conversations. 

She is the keeper of my secrets and I know most of hers. When I was a single girl living in my own apartment, she was married with 2 children. We lived vicariously through each other's lives. I would call her and tell her about my dates and she would tell me about what she cooked for dinner and tell me stories about her babies.

She had 3 children before I was even married.  Then I married and had 3 children.  She went on to have 2 more for a total of 5. I knew about each and every one of hers...and she knew about mine.  I knew what she cooked for dinner, she knew what we had eaten.  I knew her husband's faults.  She knew my husband's. We certainly knew each other's faults.  I could hear the PMS in her voice, she could hear it in mine.

There were years when our phone calls were few.  There were years when our phone calls were daily......even hourly. 

We could not have been more different.  Yet we were bound by our history together. We were bound by our knowledge of each other's souls.  There were times, I just needed one of those phone calls.  It was so easy to pick up where we left off.  No explanations needed.

She went back to school, I went back to work.  She divorced.  I stayed married.  She moved to a different city.  I moved to a different suburb. Her kids all grew up.  My kids grew up. But still we kept in touch.  Our friendship has never really been about visiting each other face to face.  It was about that phone.  Those long, long conversations.  Sometimes deep.  Sometimes funny.  Always comfortable.

And then facebook.  When we didn't speak, we kept up on facebook. 

Recently we had our 35th high school reunion.  Many phone calls to each other about what we would wear, what time we would get there, how fun it would be.  She would wear a bustier....I would wear something that covered my derriere.  Her hair would be longer, mine would  be shorter.  She would be very tan, I would be very fair.  I would be taller, she would be shorter.

It was a fun evening.

And then last Thursday morning, she messaged me on facebook.  "Juju, I'm scared.  I can't breathe. I can't walk.  Call me."

Apparently she has been short of breath for awhile...but she never told me. 

Out of respect for her privacy, I will not go in to detail about what is wrong with her.  But her heart is damaged.  And her liver is damaged.

She is in the hospital, in CCU, fighting for her life.  She has a lot wrong with her....and a long road ahead of her if she is to recover. 

And she has all of my secrets.

She cannot be replaced.

I am the 3rd girl from the left on the front row. 
 She is in the fifth girl from the left.  With the yarn bow in her hair.
The rich girl with pantyhose on.

She is on the left, I am on the right.  In the middle was our friend who moved away from Bryan to San Antonio the summer after 7th grade.  Our parents let us take the Greyhound bus from Houston to San Antonio to visit her the summer after she moved.   If that doesn't say "long ago," I don't know what does.  No one would put their 7th grade daughter on a Greyhound bus now. Long hair and strawberries must have been all the rage.

This photo was taken on August 11, 1985, in the waiting room of the hospital where Jordan was born.  She came up there and waited with my parents while I had a C-section.  She was always, always tan.  Even in December.

Taken at our 35th reunion.  Just 2 weeks ago. 

She's a fighter.  But she's never been in this big of a battle before. 


  1. you are a good friend to her. and like we alluded to last week, this whole situation reminds me of the song "for good".

  2. Friends since we were 3-that's 50 years now! We share some memories, the three of us, but many more separate memories-you know her better than she even knows herself and you have always been her rock. She has been blessed with you by her side all these years. I mostly rode tricycles with her and the Elmendorf girls. You two have been through the thickest of it together; the jungle of life; two wonderful women with different strengths-a perfect match. You have such a beautiful way with words-thank you for sharing your memories with us. Here's to praying for many, many more future memories...

  3. Oh my... what a wonderful friendship you both have shared... I sincerely hope your friend will be okay. I'll say a prayer for her.

  4. A beautiful tribute, Julia. I'm praying for her. Read about her on your facebook today.... You are such a good friend .... be strong for her - I know you will.

  5. I am keeping you and your friend in my prayers and thoughts. A treasured friendship like yours is hard to find today. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I am a stranger--a friend of a friend who passed your blog along. But I just wanted to let you know how much your writing touched my heart. I am blessed to have two childhood friends, so I know how you feel about her. I will add you both to my prayer list. God bless you!!