My very first girl friend was Cathy. She lived two doors down. We baked Creepy Crawlers and ate dirt on a dare. When she moved in the 2nd grade, I moved on to Leslie up the street and then Andrea around the corner. As I was allowed to cross streets on my own, my friend “territory” expanded. And when the two elementary schools emptied into the single middle school, I was in a girl group! But that November, over Thanksgiving weekend, we would be moving three hours away, a galaxy away from my friends. On my last day of school that half-day Wednesday, I emptied my locker into a shopping bag, which broke on the way home in the pouring rain. Through the blur of tears I watched the puddles turn my perfect cursive into an even blurrier mess. Sounds rather Dickensian, no?
My college pals, who’d all settled in the NYC area, and I kept in close touch with our “Soho Saturdays”; the women I swam with in the mornings at the Y created “Swim Girls Suppers,” a once-a-week girls night out so we could chat—something you cannot do with your head submerged in water. During my first marriage, my husband and I socialized with a large group of other marrieds. But in my early divorced days, I rediscovered the joy of having pals all to myself. On Fridays nights, Fran and I met over drinks and appetizers and shared match.com woes; Pat and I alternated Sunday night dinners of never-before-tried recipes; Elaine and I met at the mall every other Tuesday after work, where we each bought one thing under $20. Then, at the age of 50, I reconnected with an old beau, a Bucks County “boy,” and moved 73.7 miles away to be with him. But being with him meant leaving my friends. It snowed the day I packed up my car for the last transit and led the moving van along the interstate, then county roads, all the while my windshield wipers beating steadily.
Making friends as a younger woman was easy: “Hey, would you like to…” I’d say to a girl in one of my college classes, then, as time passed, to a woman I felt comfortable with at work. And living in small neighborhoods inside larger towns, somehow friendships just happened. However, making new friends here hasn’t. Part of this, I know, is because I work at home. Still, while my new husband has lots of friends, I was surprised that few of their significant others made an effort to get to know me, let alone invite me to join them anywhere, my theory being that women of a certain age have certain feelings about uncertain new associations. And while it took a few months of branching out and meeting loads of fabulous women, thanks to the Goddess Group I joined (that’s a story for another day), the Doylestown Y, where I swim, and people I’ve met through my writing – along with dusting off “Hey, would you like to….?” – I want to publicly acknowledge Cindy, Heather and now Kathi as my first friends west of the Delaware.
More are welcome….