Oh, Gretchen, how we miss you!

Make new friends,
But keep the old,
One is silver
And the other gold.

I learned that song as a Brownie, I think, and I’ve loved it ever since.  The trouble is, though, that I’ve always had trouble making new friends.  All of my friends (except for you, lovely internet friends, and I love you all so very, very much ♥) are friends that I’ve had since childhood – my oldest friend and I go back…um…*counts on fingers*…23 years now. Holy crap, we go back 23 years?! That’s kind of a scary thought!

My friends have been on my mind a lot lately as my ten-year high school reunion is fast approaching.  That’s kind of a scary thought, too.  It’s hard to believe we’ve been out of school for ten whole years already – I don’t feel any different than the girl in that picture up there!  Most of the time I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and that someone will figure it out any minute and then I’ll be in big trouble.  I suppose we all feel that way at some point in our lives.  Anyway, I’ve been having mixed feelings about going to my reunion because on one hand, while it would be nice to see everybody, there are a lot of people who won’t be able to make it back (I have the wonder of Facebook to thank for that knowledge).  Also, there seems to be about the same level of organization this time around as there was the last time, when the whole thing was thrown together in about two weeks and basically all we did was hang out at the country club and drink.  This time the plan is to wander downtown (which is all of a block long, and no, I’m not kidding) between the brewery and the two bars, talking and drinking and maybe stopping at Nana Rosa’s for a pizza along the way.  Still not terribly organized.  As far as I know, we didn’t even have a float in the Fourth of July parade, which classes usually do during reunion years (I skipped both the parade and the fireworks this year due to the fact that Iowa seems to have been transplanted to the surface of the sun – it was weird, but at least my living room is air conditioned, as opposed to the park and the parade route).

Pictures like this are a rarity. California and Iowa should be closer together!

But enough of that.  The fact that it’s already time for my ten-year reunion has me wondering where the heck the last ten years have gone!  Some friendships I’ve lost and that has bothered me quite a bit, because I don’t like to lose friends since I have such a hard time making them in the first place.  I recognize that sometimes it’s just the way things go, but when you’re so close with someone, realizing that these things happen sometimes doesn’t make it hurt any less.  In some ways, the end of a friendship can be like the end of a marriage or the death of a loved one. Grieving is done.  But at the same time, I’ve gotten to know some friends better than I ever could have imagined and even made some new friends who I am very excited to have met.  I couldn’t ask for better friends than the ones I have, although I could – and do! – ask to see them more frequently.  I’ve often remarked that I wish transporters were real (and by that I mean real in the sense that they were currently capable of transporting matter in the same manner as on Star Trek) so that I could see my friends more often, since so many of them live at least an hour away.  I’m fortunate to have many wonderful friends who have put up with me over the years and been there for me through thick and thin.  They are my sisters, my confidants, the ones who tell me what I need to hear whether I want to hear it or not (and I don’t always).

Friends are the family we choose.

(c) 2012.  All rights reserved.

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15 thoughts on “Friends

  1. *tara says:

    Love this post, for obvious reasons. 🙂 I’m honored to be one of your high school classmates who is still in your life. I too get sad when I think about friendships that faded away (or even ended abruptly). Hard to believe it’s been ten years!


    • Kay Lynn says:

      Aw, thanks! I’m honored to have gotten to know you so well over the years. I mean, why did we not get to know each other better in middle school? We missed out on three extra years of being friends there! 🙂


        • Kay Lynn says:

          Wow! I don’t even remember that! But your mom was the best sixth grade teacher ever. I’m really sad that my kids won’t get to have her, too. I hope she’ll enjoy retirement, though – I can’t imagine teaching for over three decades!


    • Kay Lynn says:

      I can’t imagine not having contact with people from home like that! Then again, I live in the same small town I grew up in, so not having contact with any of them would be rather difficult. 😉

      But still, wow! That must have been very hard!


  2. Human In Recovery says:

    Kay Lynn,
    I am someone who constantly moved around as a kid and later as an adult, forming lasting and close intimate friendships is something I’ve never seem to have learned how to do. Those whom I was friendly with in middle school drifted away in early high school, before I left and moved into an early adulthood. Imagine my shock and surprise when I finally caved into the demands of the 21st century and got a Facebook account, to almost immediately have people from what would have been my graduating class contact and friend me on Facebook. A couple of impromptu reunions, not events, just gatherings have been posted and our 25th is coming up this summer. Still haven’t decided myself whether to attend.

    So, reading your post is both familiar and unfamiliar and I both empathize with you and am envious. Thanks for sharing,


    • Kay Lynn says:

      I’m lucky in that I grew up in one place. I’ve moved around a lot more than I would have liked as an adult, but most of those moves have been within twenty miles of where I grew up. I live in a rural area, though, so people tend to move away after high school and not come back. I know what you mean about surprise Facebook friend requests – I’ve had my share of those, too! Thanks for stopping by, Kina!


  3. gaiajuliacaesar says:

    I remember hearing about the last reunion. Gl #1 got into a fight with gal #2 over a man who was neither of their husbands. (Both were married.) and Class clown was doing the sports broadcasting. And my mother wondered why I didn’t go. I just looked at her (after she told me the story) and said “nothing changes.”


    • Kay Lynn says:

      Yeah, and the worst part is that that was the highlight of the evening. We were two, maybe three people shy of having a lunch table reunion and everyone hung out with the same people they had hung out with in high school because nothing had really changed at that point in our lives. I’d like to think that after ten years things have changed, but I suppose they probably haven’t changed all that much if no one can get things organized any better than this. 🙂

      But you and Tara should come up anyway! We could have our own reunion and it would be a blast because we rock. 😀


  4. utesmile says:

    Thank you for linking my blog on your blog. I have to say that I left my hometown with 23 and went to England leaving all friends behind going into the unknown. I have made many wonderful and meaningful friendships here in London since. Only one friendship from my home survived the long distance. Once you are away you really see who your friends are as the true friends will not just drop you. Obviously it is twosided as you yourself have to make the effort too, Only real friendships will survive distance. As you say friends are the family we choose and we really need to be grateful for our wonderful friends.


    • Kay Lynn says:

      You’re very welcome! I enjoyed your post. I left home at 17, right in the middle of my last year of school, and moved in with some friends to get away from my dad’s drinking (he wasn’t a mean drunk or anything, I was just tired of dealing with his abuse of alcohol). I can’t imagine what it must have been like to only have one friendship from home survive – that must have hurt! But like you said, it shows who our true friends are. I am very grateful to have some wonderful friends.

      One of them left a comment about this post on my Facebook wall. She and I go way back, and it reminded me of that quote that is often attributed to Marilyn Monroe: “…If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best!” or something like that (it’s early – I haven’t had any caffeine yet. :))


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