Monday, August 2, 2010

Old friends, bookends...

June was a busy month, beginning with my cousin Carissa's high school graduation and ending with a week in the North Carolina mountains and my cousin Elliott's wedding near Atlanta, plus a whole lot of work-related stuff thrown in there in the middle.  And aside from all the festivities with both sides of my extended family, I managed to shoehorn in some quick visits with some old friends.


In North Carolina, I reconnected, pretty much by accident, with my old pal Sarah Ellen.  We were camp friends who saw each other for exactly six days each year during a church music week we attended with our families from the time we were tiny until we graduated from high school.  We kept in touch for a while, but as life progressed, we lost touch.  In recent years I scoured Facebook--no luck--and Googled her periodically, but got nowhere.  But I ran into her sister at music week this year, and lo and behold, Sarah Ellen was coming up later in the week!  And wow, was it good to see her--reunited after a full ten years.

Reunited, and it feels so good
Mo was my best friend in high school.  She was a year older, and when she graduated and headed off to the University of Tennessee--along with a sizable majority of my other good friends--I was a bit lost.  Her family moved to New York City partway through college, making visiting opportunities limited, but we were a regular presence in each other's email and voicemail boxes, I was her maid of honor when she married her awesome husband Justin, and we remained close.  A few years ago, Mo and Justin had a baby, and somehow our friendship sort of....fizzled.  I don't remember exactly how or why. Suddenly, it had been nearly four years since we'd had any contact, though I'd thought about her many times in the interim, and it just seemed stupid.  

I have this theory that there comes a point in your life where you sort of stop making new friends. Not stop entirely, as though you suddenly become a hermit and don't meet new people, but there comes a point where you're done making those BEST friend kinds of people--the ones who remember when you cracked a raw egg on your head in front of 60 of your sixth grade peers, or with whom you spent an evening rinsing orange juice out of an entire suitcase of clothing in your hotel room at senior band clinic, or who suffered through countless nights of fire alarms with you in college.  The ones for whose weddings you'll travel to random midwestern towns, requiring a layover, a rental car, and multi-night hotel stays. Those are the people with whom you develop a friendship shorthand, and there comes a point where starting those kinds of relationships becomes rare. (Or maybe it's only me.  If so and I'm just antisocial, please, let me live with this delusion. It'll be better for everyone.)

Anyway, based on this theory, it seemed like letting one of those people go without a fight was a pretty dumb idea.  Mo lives a mere four hours away from me.  In a city where part of my family lives.  There was no excuse. This could not, nay, WOULD not, go on.

So, a few days before I went to Pittsburgh for Carissa's graduation, I sent an exploratory Facebook message.  How about, say, lunch?  She was game.  And so, on my way back to DC after graduation events, I made a detour.  And voila!

Old friends, plus one
Mo and Justin met me for brunch, I met their hilarious son, and we caught up on as much of the last few years as we could cover over a two-hour meal.  A month later, I got a two-word response to some comment on my Facebook page and burst into laughter.  It wasn't anything outwardly funny, but there was that friendship shorthand again, sending me straight back to high school and our hijinks in the French horn section of the wind ensemble.


  1. This resonates with me so much, Hannah. Throughout much of my early 20s, I mourned the fact that my good-friend-making days seemed over, and that I had lost touch with so many good friends through the cross country move, off to college, get a job and move on with life process.

    It's true that it is hard to form the kind of friendships that one makes in their youth, and I've found that my "good" friends in adulthood often fade when the proximity of work or living arrangements ends and life gets in the way. I too lost touch with my oldest and dearest friend for about three years after she had children. But then I reached out to her and now make the effort to visit her all the way across the country since I'm the childless one for whom travel is easier. And I know, with her and a few other dear friends I've picked up over the years - it will never matter how long we haven't spoken, we will take up right where we left off.

    It's a beautiful thing. I'm glad you've enjoyed reconnecting!

  2. "...or who suffered through countless nights of fire alarms with you in college" I do hope you never have to suffer through that nonsense to solidify a friendship! This was a lovely retrospective, by the way. I vote for at least 2 blog entries per week. Get crackin', Pannie!