Lately, because I'm spending so much time alone, I find myself reflecting on the people in my life and the many friendships I have forged over the years. I have friends from every aspect of my life--childhood, college, work, travel. I maintain these relationships because they are based on something important to me--common interests, a shared history, a special bond.
What's more, my friendships reflect some major aspect of me. The people in my life give me a sense of continuity, a sense of who I am. And so I do my best to keep up these relationships. I met one friend on a cruise around South America about fifteen years ago. I followed her into a formal tea--something I never would go to--because she was carrying a book I'd read. Another is a mystery writer like me. We hardly knew each other when we were in the same high school class, but now we're in touch pretty often.
Recently, I had two very rewarding experiences regarding friends whom I'd met many years ago. Over sixty years, in one case. Last week, I received a Facebook message from someone asking if I remembered her at college, where I was her maid-of-honor. At first I thought this was a joke, until I looked at her name. Her first name (which I have changed): Marisol. Of course I remembered her! We were at university together and I had been her maid-of honor. Ecstatic, I immediately messaged her back.
Both Marisol and I were Spanish majors planning to teach Spanish at the secondary level, and we became good friends. Marisol was from Cuba. She'd come to the United States alone. This was a period of great unrest in Cuba. Castro had led the fight against Batista for control of the country and his new government had strained relations with the United States. In our senior year, they were so bad that her parents were unable to send out her tuition. And so all the Latin-American students at the university got together and paid for it!
Marisol had fallen in love, and they decided to get married in our senior year. She asked me to be her maid-of-honor and I happily accepted. We lost touch after graduation until last week. We spoke at great length that evening--after sixty years of not seeing each another. She'd read the Class Note I'd sent to our alumni magazine about my latest book and contacted me. And how interesting that one of her four children lives in the next town!
Right after exchanging messages with Marisol I took a short walk to my mailbox. Inside was a belated Christmas card from a couple I thought I had lost. My husband and I had met an English couple on our trip through Spain and Portugal over thirty years ago. We became good friends. We visited them several times in England and they visited us here in the United States. The last ten years or so our main connection was via Christmas cards and emails. Therefore, I was crestfallen when I never received a card from them in 2019. I emailed them, asking if everything was all right, but there was no response. I figured that one of them must have died and I would never hear from them again.
Until a year later! Inside was a long letter explaining that they had moved and bringing me up to date on their lives and children. As soon as I get a free moment, I'll write back.
My friendships mean a lot to me. I'm so grateful to have regained two that are especially precious.