Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Memory Lane

There’s something about old friends.  This is not to detract from the very real and genuine friendship offered to you by people along the way, and some of my good friends are relatively recent, but what I’m talking about are people who had a profound influence on your background and in shaping your life as it is today.

I am very lucky to count three of my best friends as my three oldest friends.  I have known them since I was 10 years old and we met in the institution known as boarding school and have become firm friends ever since.  This is a unique and special relationship that in some ways transcends that of family past and present – you would never tell your mum about your wildest fantasies, but believe you me, they could spill the beans!  And we keep in touch – I’m not talking Facebook or social media (although one lives abroad so it does help) – I’m talking really in touch, phone calls, texts and emails – and we have met up just by ourselves with no husbands or kids altogether at least once a year, for a long weekend for more years than I can remember.  And we take up where we left off the year before, and for the three days that we are together we talk and talk and talk, with a little sleep and a lot of eating and drinking.  And it is fun going back to being just Me – not someone’s Mum, or Wife, or Job Title. 

And like any relationship it’s not without its ups and downs.  We’ve fought, sided with one or two others, we’ve told each other when we don’t like their boyfriends, or choices or situations.  On the other hand, we would drop anything if one was in trouble, or needed something.  We are there for all of the important things – weddings, funerals, christenings, big birthdays and so on.  My kids know my friends as ‘Aunties’ and I am the same to theirs.  They are real, human, non- virtual friends and as I said, we are very lucky, and we cherish this.

But I’m not dissing Facebook – in fact, I have made some very good friends who started off as acquaintances that I added in the spirit of bonhomie, but who have turned out to be really genuine people.  And by the same token it is always good to see status updates of good friends who I see regularly.  But the real reason why I’m not dissing Facebook is that yesterday it actually helped me get in contact with my very oldest friend, whom I have known since I was 8 years old when I lived in Kenya, and lost touch with nearly 30 years ago. In that time she had moved to New Zealand, got married, lost both parents and had two kids.
8 years old in Kenya (with Maasai warrior)

When moments like this happen, memories come flooding back.  There are flashes of memories so deeply ingrained that you can simply reach and pluck them out of the air.  The smell of the washing powder her mum used, the layout of her bedroom at home, the bikes we used to ride, flashbacks of the painful stages from childhood to teenage hood.  And then the odd letter, the promise to keep in touch.  Then nothing.
And life goes on, and you forget.  Until one day you remember and wonder.  

And one day you do something about it.

I would love to hear your stories of old friendships, and your comments below!