This morning, around 8:15am, I had asked my three (out of four) children to rally for camp. The usual, “Get dressed, brush teeth, and put your shoes on- and HURRY UP!” began. They moaned and whined like I was asking them to eat mud and clean the basement. Little Flora was the only one excited to complete the task, and she spent five minutes working her shirt up and over her head all by herself, and demonstrated how she can take her diaper off in record time (and even throw it away!) She was rather proud.
A red car drove down the street. After a few minutes, I glanced outside to see the car had pulled into our driveway. A couple had gotten out and started walking around the side of the house to a door no one really uses. I stared and studied them. I suddenly realized that the man was a sweet family friend who lives nearby. Cool. The woman accompanying him however, was not his wife that I could tell.
I looked harder… and my eyes grew larger- and it hit me.
Evelynl!!!!!! My BEST FRIEND FROM 3rd GRADE… who I keep in touch with via Facebook, and lives very FAR away!
She and her uncle were literally walking up the steps to my front door.
I ran to meet her, swung open the door and said, “S-H-U-U-U-T UP.”
It was all I could say. I hugged her tight and just like in the movies, a slice of life passed before my eyes. I think I began speaking, maybe a lot… but I have no idea what I said.
When you realize that you’ve lived a life and LOVED someone other than family… a mere friend at such a tender young age (8 or 9 years old)… Well, you cry. You cry because you realize that your life back then, that which seemed so unbelievably dramatic, was simply said: “Growing-Up”.
This friendship I am talking about started in the early 80’s. And all too soon, her family left Virginia Beach, and relocated overseas. To this day, I’ve saved many of the letters she wrote. I can still visualize sitting on my bed, slicing open her pastel rainbow lined stationery, reading her three page letters describing her new life in Israel, that always ended in some version of, “Yours till Niagra Falls”.
Back to today.
I just sat down and had a bite to eat with David, and he asked what we had talked about today… (We had the opportunity to visit this afternoon with both of our families at the neighborhood pool.)
“I don’t know,” I said with a reminscing smile, “Work… current life… her move to Denver… the kids.”
Today the old memories subtly played behind the scenes. Her mannerisms and laugh are still exactly as they were… her energy- the same.
I looked at her wonderful husband, whom I just met today, and asked, “Do you just fall in love with her over and over again every day?!”
When she moved away from Virginia several decades ago, we walked “our” beach in Newport News one last time, crying and laughing and we carried a handwritten note.
It read, “TRUE FRIENDS FOREVER – EVELYN COHEN BECKER & ELYSE WENDY TAPPER.”
We buried it in the sand, in true-young-dramatic-girl fashion… crying and day-dreaming of the day that we could see each other again.
I still have many of our letters. I still have a plastic box with tiny perfect conch shells from our beach…
And today, in the midst of a slightly chaotic camp morning, with a naked 2 year old dancing around the yard, and piles of life everywhere…
A (very old) dream came true… and made me feel like that little girl all over again.
“I look at my childhood friendships differently now. Powerful stuff those first real connections.”— Evelyn Becker