Once upon a time there were four little girls. They attended the Irish Catholic School in Oil City, PA.. What made these four girls different in attending this elementary school was that only one of them was of Irish descent. That would be me. The rest of this ‘gang’ were Polish. They were also all shorter than myself.
We all met in first grade. Our friendship developed over the next three years and by the fourth grade we were a tight little group. We all lived far enough away that we were not allowed to go home for lunch, thus, we were lunch carriers. Being lunch carriers relegated us to eating lunch in the lunch room, of course, but then we had to have an hour lunch time on the playground. Playground is a generous term for where we had to play. It was the asphalt parking lot the church used. This was our ‘playground’. No swings, no slides, no equipment. We did have the errant ball to play with and of course no school girl would be without her jump rope, even if it was a piece of clothesline from their mother.
The playground was hot in the spring and fall and freezing in the Northwestern Pennsylvania winters. That did not deter the four of us. We played together no matter what. We shared secrets, we stood together when one of us was not being treated well. We rejoiced when one of us had a baby sister born. We were good friends.
The four of us, Marlene, Vicki, Lorraine and myself attended one another’s parties and called each other on the phone. We had sleep overs (never the four of us together, our parents were smart like that!).
In eighth grade, our last year of elementary school, we each had a decision about what high school we would attend. Would we continue onto the Catholic high school in town or go to that public high school. Our eighth grade nun approached us one day and asked us the dreaded question. One by one, we each answered. We were going to go to the public high school. We each had our reasons we gave, but actually, looking back on it, the simple fact was that none of us could afford the private school.
High school started. That was the end of the four of us as we had known it. Vicki went into the business course of study, which totally separated her from the three of us. We rarely saw her. We would catch a glimpse of her in the hallway, but she was surrounded by her new friends and we drifted away a bit.
Lorraine and I lived close enough that we walked home from school together each day. Her mom would drive us to school, until we got our driver’s license. We didn’t have many classes together, but we still connected daily with one another. The commute to and from was really the only connection we had.
Marlene and I stayed in touch with phone calls and sleep overs. We only had one class together the entire four years. This was because Marlene is very intelligent. She was the salutatorian for our class. Marlene also had a big crush on my dear hubby. When he asked me out and I went, it put a strain on our friendship for about a year. After that, Marlene said she was glad I was dating him and all was well.
After graduation, Vicki went to work at a business in town. She is still there. I have only seen her once since graduation. When my Dad died, I had to go to her work and there she was. We talked and talked and talked. It was wonderful. Since then, we have exchanged Christmas cards each year, along with letters.
Lorraine went on to nursing school. She met her husband and had her family. She and I also exchange Christmas cards and the occasional email. I went to her wedding, but missed most of it, since my oldest was the baby who cried all through her wedding.
Marlene went to college and became a college professor. She never married. She retired last year. We see each other often. We talk often. She is what I refer to as my ‘forever friend’. We have shared some of life’s’ hardest times together. She has been an encouragement to me and my girls. She has travelled the world a couple of times over. I always expect to get a middle of the night phone call from her from a distant port telling me she has met someone and is married.
Marlene and I have planned on sitting together for our class reunion this Saturday. It’s a natural thing for us to do. A couple of weeks ago, I had an email from Lorraine asking if I was going to the reunion. (You can see where this is going). Yesterday, I talked with Marlene. She is going to get hold of Vicki. For the first time in 44 years, the four of us will be together.
I once wrote a post about friendships, (One is Silver…https://dearanonymousfriend.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/one-is-silver/), how different people mean different things to you throughout your life. I had often thought of the four little girls who clung to each other in friendship. I think of where we have all been. I never thought we would ever be together again. I thought that I was the only one who was sentimental of those times. Turns out, I am not. We will be together this Saturday evening. We will look at one another and catch up. We will have a bond from long ago. A part of me knows that this may be the last time the four of us are together. In reality we know we do not have another 44 years to wait until our next visit, and our lives and families keep us busy. We all want a picture together, a keepsake of who we once were. A link to our past.
So, now, I go to prepare for my trip. My first stop will be to visit my heart that the cute little bandit stole from me a year ago. It will be good to visit my heart again, and even better to hold that cute little guy and celebrate with him. I know there will be stories from that. Once I leave that place where my future lies, where my little guy is beginning his life, his adventures, I will head to celebrate my past.
It’s going to be an eventful week and I am excited! Thanks for stopping by and staying through this saga. I appreciate it, DAF