This week’s song lyric Sunday theme is gratitude. I am so grateful for the friends in my life, their friendship, their support, being able to share laughter with them. Can’t imagine life without them. For Good from the musical Wicked is my choice this week.
Just look at me
And just look at you
You can do all I couldn’t do
So now it’s up to you
For both of us
Now it’s up to you
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…
Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend…
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
Because I knew you
I met my friend David in the summer of 1973 when I was 15 and he was 17. He was the friend of my best friend’s brother and about 8 of us began hanging around together that summer and into the school year. We partied on weekends, ate lunch together in school and got to take the school elevator because David had a key as part of the “AV”-“audio visual” crew transporting overhead projectors to and from classrooms. Pretty big deal back then. He graduated high school in 1974 but went to college locally so we still saw each other off and on. He married and asked me to be a bridesmaid in his wedding, a departure from the usual where the bride picks the bridesmaids, especially in this case as I barely knew the woman he was marrying!
Our lives took many different twists and turns through the years, but somehow the bond that was created in our teens never seemed to break. We have never been out of touch over the past 43 years, and try to meet for coffee a few times a year. Our differences never seem to make a difference- we both have the same point of reference from so long ago, know each other’s “history” as our own. I think our ongoing friendship speaks to how important those teenage years were, and even the friendship we shared in our early 20’s. We always seemed to be there for each other- I can remember turning to David for a shoulder to lean on during a bad patch with a boyfriend, someone he knew, and how our friendship got me through those troubling times.
David and Me At My Surprise 21st Birthday Party
We met for coffee today, for the first time in a long time-and we sat for 3 hours catching up on what’s been going on. We shared a few laughs and caught up on what some of the others from the old gang are doing these days. I looked across the table feeling like it was only a moment ago that we were teenagers, so much of that time still so vivid in my mind’s eye- not believing the man sitting across from me is going on 61. I smiled remembering those days, some filled with laughter, some in a drug induced haze, some filled with heartache and tears. I smiled thinking how glad I was to have someone still in my life who remembers those times too. And how fortunate.
The minute I saw the theme for Ailsa’s challenge this week I thought of this photo. My BFF ran a half marathon last month, for the first time in her life. That’s 13.2 miles. (she is in all black with white headphones on the left)The last mile was tough for her, and as she came into view from where her friends and I were standing at the finish line, we all went down the road to meet her and accompany her to the finish line. To my mind that is camaraderie.
It was a perfect game. * It started three years ago when a friend asked if I wanted to learn to play Mah Jongg, could I be their “fourth.” I am not really a game player as I am not competitive by nature, but I knew the other women who were playing, and was assured it was going to be more fun than any kind of competition about winning. One of the women knew how to play and would teach us other three. And so it began. We learned the game and alot more during our three years of meeting once a week for 3 or 4 hours. We laughed, we shared, we celebrated milestones. We broke out into song if someone said something that reminded one of us of a lyric. Showtunes, sixties rock, folk songs. We snacked, we noshed, we drank a lot of coffee. It was fun to win, but we always cheered for the winner and would share our hands and discuss what we should have done, the luck of the pick of the tiles sometimes determining our ability to win or lose. It was a special time for all of us, we looked forward to it every week and nothing came between us and our game. No hidden rivalries, just four girls getting together and forging deeper friendships, through laughter and sharing while playing the perfect game.
* I say was because the unthinkable has happened and we are losing one of our 4 to cancer. I wrote about it here
I spent yesterday in New York City’s East Village.The East Village is considered to be the area east of Third Avenue and the Bowery to the East River, between 14th Street and Houston Street. It is found in the lower portion of Manhattan.
I had not been to the area since I was in my 20’s. At that time I went to concerts a few nights a week at a venue called The Palladium that was located on 14th Street. Yesterday I walked along 14th Street and the building facades looked foreign to me. Where the Palladium had once stood, demolished in 1997, now stood New York University dorms. I did spot another theater called Irving Plaza, where I had seen Talking Heads and many other punk and new wave bands popular in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Seeing the marquee
transported me back to another time in my life, left so far behind from the person I am today. The man I attended all those concerts with died two years ago. I thought back to those nights, our lives ahead of us, no real responsibilities other than getting to work the next morning on time. Not thinking about what lay ahead of us, who we would become, where our lives would take us. It seemed an endless time, music night after night.
I was taken aback at the nostalgia I felt, I suppose it was stronger because I had not been to the area since those times. Revisiting places as they change, as we change, makes the defining moments between them less apparent. I was sad at the thought of my friend from that time being gone, not here to see the changes, to share that moment of “remember when”, maybe to remind me of something I had forgotten that he had remembered.
I pulled my coat tighter against the cold winds, readjusted my earmuffs, and broke from my reverie to join my friends and husband as we continued on to our lunch destination. Present in the present, but knowing one can never fully leave their past in the past.