There's one thing I know how to do really well - be a friend. I've heard it said many times that if you end up having only one good, true friend, you're doing really well and have a good life. Well, truth be told, I feel blessed and fortunate to have many friends that I consider to have a very close, good, true relationships with.
Beginning in childhood, I've maintained friendships with several girls, now women, that I have grown up with; friendships that have endured more than fifty years. As with many friendships, especially that have roots in childhood, there are and were many common bonds that brought us together. The neighborhood -- in this case, a housing project in NYC where we grew up; our particular group all went to Catholic school together, and, we're from mostly English/Scottish/Irish heritage. Our fathers all hung out in the bar together, our mothers were, for the most part, tough enough to deal with their husbands drinking, and at times, pretending none of it existed. I mentioned in an earlier blog about social masks....no doubt, our mothers wore them as a way to cope with having to face the daily challenge of holding a family together. As I look back and think about my friends -- Edie and Marguerite, and my sister, Marge, mainly, we leaned on each other daily having been faced with the daily drama of having a family member -- in this case a parent -- have a drinking problem.
We all had a certain amount of chaos in our homes, yet, we formed a bond, and had so much fun....every day. Because we did not have the technology we have today, and all the trappings that go with that, we managed to creatively spend our days. Wow, we did some crazy things. Especially as teenagers....dare we forget the times we tried to get into the Beatles hotel room?.....picking up sailors (harmless fun!), bringing home some British rock groups home to Edie's house, only to get thrown out by her sister.....at 3 am.....we were no more than 15. And, laugh we did. I know most people have fond memories of their youth and teen years; my friends and I talk about these times whenever we get together.
We sustained times of great tragedy, also. Edie's father died when she was only twelve. That was very tough. I remember being so afraid to go into the room at the funeral home -- not knowing what to expect.
But, the thing that strikes me even today, is how the four of us -- Edie, Marguerite, Marge and myself, stuck together. There was also Carol and Patrice and others in our "crowd" but, mainly the four of us were always together.
These paragraphs highlight the early friendships that still exist. Throughout many other years, I've collected a diverse circle of good friends. People I know I can call on no matter what is going on with me, who will not judge or criticize my choices; friends who just allowed me to be. And, I think the common denominator for maintaining these friendships, is that I know how to be a really good friend. My friends will tell you that they never question my loyalty or that I will be there for them -- no matter what. Unconditional love.
I will write more about friendship in future blogs....more about who some of them are, and how they have impacted my life. A friend is a present you give yourself.