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Thursday, January 21, 2021

The People In My Life by Marilyn Levinson

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. 



Paula Gail Benson said...

Marilyn, it is so wonderful that you’ve been able to reconnect and remain in contact with your friends. I feel the same way and am always grateful when someone takes the time to reach out to me.

Kait said...

I can't say it any better than Paula.

Friends across all parts of our lives are the glue that holds us together. One of the joys of Facebook is re-connecting with those we've lost touch with.

KM Rockwood said...

When I was a kid, I used to wonder why my parents participated in Christmas card exchanges with people they never saw or heard from otherwise.

Now, I appreciate hearing from old friends, even if it's just once a year.

Email has made a huge difference in rekindling old friendships.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Paula, Kait and Kathleen,
I feel our lifelong friendshiips are of special importance to us these days when our activities and travel are so curtailed.

Susan said...

Marilyn, you are so right. And maybe the pandemic has made us realize how important these connections are since time has slowed down and we have time to think about them. I have a group of five friends with whom I do zoom meetings once a week. It isn't the same, but it helps considerably. I also treasure the friends I've met through Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. You have certainly said it well!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

I think the connection with lifelong friends has been happening all over during quarantine. Even locally, at least one club, which normally meets every other week, now is zooming once a a week for mental health connections and two groups of friends have a weekly call. Most important is taking the time to talk or write that we wouldn't do or feel we can in "normal" times.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks, Susan. Our writing friendships are very dear to us.

Debra, I now Zoom with 3 close college friends every month. We have more time to connect, and these connections are good for us in so many ways.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Thanks for the reminder! It's time to connect with a high school friend with whom I talk monthly.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Margaret, I'm due to doing the same—writing a letter to the English couple I mention in my blog.

Shari Randall said...

You've put it so well, Marilyn. Those chances for reconnection are so sweet.
This made me think of the old Girl Scout Song - if you'll forgive me -- "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold."

Jackie Layton said...

Hi Marilyn,

The pandemic has made long distance and online friendships more valuable than ever before. I've made friends through social media, and I probably would've missed out on these new relationships if I'd been living my 'normal' life.

Thanks for sharing your sweet stories!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Love that line. Shari. I don't think I've ever heard it before. But then I wasn't a Girl Scout.:)

Jackie, It's so nice that we're all in touch so often—Zooming, etc.

KM Rockwood said...

We don't always appreciate our friends when we are young, and sometimes lose track. Later we may realize the value of such friendships and put some effort into renewing them.

Marilyn Levinson said...

And sometimes, Kathleen, friendships fade away. I think we have to be open to that possibility, too.

Beth said...

Ditto, friends here on this blog. Zoom reunions are fun. Don’t forget to welcome back friends who are shy and rarely comment on Zoom
calls, because they don’t want to interrupt or because they feel they haven’t been missed!

Marilyn Levinson said...

You make a good point, Beth. At Zoom meetings, people start to speak at the same time. Sometimes a chat for two works better.