A song from my Girl Scouts days recommended us to "make new friends, but keep the old ones; one is silver and the other's gold."
I hadn't thought about that song in decades, but it sprang to mind four times last year and continues to ring true. Last spring, Paula, my best friend from elementary school reached out to me. She and I had lost contact when our families moved from our old neighborhood. We might have reconnected in high school, but she went to St. Joseph's High School and I went to Drury.
Many years later, I became friends with her younger sister through our sons' athletic endeavors and learned Paula was married, had children of her own and lived down South. She moved back to the area and one day came through my line at the supermarket where I work part-time. We went out one night to a local bar catching up and spent a nice summer day together — first at the Clark Art Institute viewing the van Gogh exhibit and then lazing by my pool.
Between my crazy schedule and her crazy schedule, we haven't gotten together again, but I know we will.
At the end of October, I received an email asking if I was the former Margaret Ebert who had lived on East Main Street when I was 12. The writer also asked if I remembered answering a chain letter and corresponding with a girl named Nancy in Waltham. We had become pen pals, drawn together by our love of stamp collecting (our letters to each other were always filled with stamps we were swapping). Then high school rolled around, we had other interests and stopped writing ...
We had many similarities in our lives when we were young, and it's uncanny how many more we've racked up over the years. We're talking about meeting in the near future. It's funny, but when I was young, everyone thought Waltham was so far from North Adams; now it's considered a hop, skip and a jump away.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving was a reunion with some of the "girls" from high school. It was the second time since high school we had all been together and we took up where we had left off so many years ago. It made me realize how much these women had shaped my life and how much I loved them.
About that time, Janice, another friend from elementary and high school, emailed me to see if I remembered her. How could I forget all the times I went to her house and got to play dress up with the many fancy evening gowns she had access to?
We've emailed back and forth, but again crazy schedules have prevented us from meeting face-to-face. I can't wait to see her I wonder if an evening dress would be too over the top for our reunion?
Since it's been freezing cold, and since one of my newly found "old" friends originally came from Great Britain, I offer up this recipe for Friendship Tea. It's a type of poor man's Constant Comment tea. Warning: It's a bit on the sweet side OK, it's a lot on the sweet side!
½ cup instant tea
1 cup sweetened lemonade mix
1 cup Tang
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a an airtight container. To serve, put 2 to 3 tsp. mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of boiling water. Adjust amount of mix to taste.