The other day I thought of an old friend, Mary. In our days as young housewives and mothers we had belonged to the same book club, and occasionally she and her husband met me and my husband for dinner, or we had an evening of bridge after the kids were all put to bed.. Then, for a number of years, our paths did not cross.
So when she popped into my mind recently and I began to wonder what had happened to her through the years, I picked up the phone and called her. I invited her to coffee, and as an afterthought asked her to bring Dick along.
We talked non-stop, bringing each other up to date between sips. A week later, Mary called and invited me to join her for lunch.
One of the joys of retired life is finding old friends. Filling in the gaps. It’s easy to understand we had drifted apart when our work and our families had taken all our time and concerns. And now, when most of the things on our to-do lists have been checked off, now that our kids are far away and dealing with their own families, now that we have all the time in the world to do as we please, we reach to pick up ties we had dropped or ties we had stored.
Friends who live in other states and whom we have not seen nor heard of for years come to mind as we sort our old pictures, and often we can google and track friends down and surprise them. OMG, they’ll tell their families, you’d never guess who I heard from today. Memories come rushing back, and if we exchange pictures we will marvel at the fact we can still see the face of our youthful friend in the face of our aging friend.
I have a special reunion coming up next week. My group of college friends has kept in touch all these years since we met in 1942. There were 15 of us who shared a house when our dormitory was taken over by the U. S. Army Aircorps for housing cadets in training during WWII. Our housemother was Miss Grammer, from the school of music, so we called ourselves the Grammer Girls.
The Grammer Girls scattered about the country after graduation, and after the war, but always kept in touch with rare weekend “family” reunions and with round robin letters. Many of our husbands are gone now, but we still get together whenever we can, and this summer it’s for a special reason. Within this year we will all, the 8 of us still living, have turned 90. Barbara’s birthday party, planned by her daughters, will draw us back to Iowa to celebrate.
Re-uniting now is rather like finding we’re the final team members on the bench when others have been dismissed from the team or have gone on to some other sport. We’re good for a few more games, we say, and we exchange emails or we meet somewhere halfway for a brief visit and show pictures of our grandchildren and talk about old times.
Or sometimes, to find old friends, we only have to go across town.