NaBloPoMo Day 20:
Tell us about your first friend.
My first non-family friend was a little girl named Shannon who lived on our street when I was a toddler. Shannon – who was five months older than me – had an older sister, Noël, who was six months older than my sister Gina. My friendship with Shannon has had three distinct phases over the course of the last 40+ years.
Act I – We lived (and played together) on the same cul-de-sac as Noël and Shannon until I was about four years old. At that point, my parents bought a larger house in the next housing tract over, but it was still less than a mile away, and our parents made the effort to keep us all in touch. My parents divorced, we moved time and time again over the years, but we still periodically got together with Noël-and-Shannon for playdates and sleepovers.
Act II – We’d left my hometown before I started school, so Shannon and I didn’t go to school together from kindergarten through sixth grade. In seventh grade, however, we moved back, and though we didn’t live in the same neighborhood, Gina and I were bused in to Noël and Shannon’s local school for a magnet program. Sadly, although we saw each other regularly, we didn’t have any classes together! Finally, as juniors in high school, Shannon and I were happily reunited in U.S. History. We bonded once again, this time over our love of writing silly poetry. (One favorite I will always remember started out, “Dearest Jim, why can’t you see just how much you mean to me? You’re so cute, so sweet, so nice – and I bet you don’t have lice!”) After high school, I was the one to move yet again, off to college in Oregon.
Act III – Shannon and I kept in touch over the years through Christmas cards, letters, and the rare phone call. I’ll be forever grateful that her family stayed in one place so I could always find her! Now, though, I’m thankful for Facebook and its power to give old friends a peek into each other’s daily lives. It’s been a treat for me the past few years to get to see Shannon as she looks now, to see her boys grow up, to have a feeling for what she is up to and how she is doing. I am so rarely in Orange County anymore than we haven’t had much face time together over the past 25+ years, but I’m thankful we’ve been able to keep our friendship alive.