|Kathy and LaVonne, c. 1961|
Our mothers were close friends before we were born, but Kathy lived on the east coast and I lived on the west so we knew each other only through Christmas letters. We finally met on my 12th birthday, in Kathy's aunt's house, and we talked all afternoon.
We never stopped talking, though the topics keep changing.
Back then we talked about boys and parents and our impending move to Michigan - she from Washington, DC; me from California. We spent the next four years (grades 8 through 11, when we lived four houses apart on the same street) arguing about which coast was better, confiding about the boys we had crushes on, sharing books (which our strait-laced teachers sometimes confiscated), complaining about our unnecessarily restrictive parents, and dreaming about what we would do when we grew up.
Then I moved to France, California, Michigan, Washington state, and Illinois; while Kathy lived in Michigan, France, California, Indiana, and Maryland. Except for a few months in Michigan when we were in our 20s, we never lived in the same place again. But together we've toured vineyards in Napa Valley, shopped for curtains in Indiana, and groaned about loud American tourists in Oxford.
Over the years we've talked about boyfriends (several ) and husbands (one apiece), dogs (mine) and cats (hers), sex, food, wine, friends, and travel. We both left the conservative denomination of our youth and became Episcopalians. We both spent many years caring for aging parents. We consoled each other as our parents died.
Kathy and I don't get together all that often: she's back in DC, and I live near Chicago. After 46 years apart, our lives are quite different, and we don't know most of each other's friends. But we stay in touch through email and Facebook and telephone. Just yesterday, in fact, we discussed Social Security and buffalo mozzarella.
My granddaughters, who are older than Kathy and I were when we met, talk about their BFFs - best friends forever. Everyone should have at least one. Forever isn't nearly long enough.