When Old Friends are New

We found we have more in common than our ancestry

We found we have more in common than our ancestry

Last weekend, we had guests at The Little House and it was awesome.

Mike’s mother, my Aunt Grace, was my mother’s best friend. His parents were also my Godparents, an honor in the Lutheran Church that is more than just symbolic.

We lived on the same block of post WWII bungalows and our dads worked for the same railroad. While the neighborhood was generally tight-knit, our families were even more so, vacationing and celebrating milestones with each other.

I even learned this weekend that our fathers hand-dug the basement together that created the addition to their little house.

After my maternal grandmother died when I was a baby, Mike’s Grandma Quinn became my grandma too. And there were the coffee klatches, Mom and Aunt Grace could sit smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee and talking all day (Mom often recounted this is where they learned President Kennedy was shot).

Mike is four years older than me and we were both mid-life babies. Truth be known, his birth was probably the inspiration my mother needed to have another child when her older three children were almost raised.

I can remember asking Mom when I was little what Mike was to me if his parents were my Godparents, and she told me that would make him my Godbrother, so I looked to him as another big brother when I was a kid.

He was there to stick up for me in the neighborhood, help me with my math (he was always good at it and I wasn’t) and when he started dating his wife, Charlotte, in high school, she even gave me fashion advice, as I was just entering junior high.

We all attended the same high school and Dale was in Charlotte’s class, but they weren’t in the same circle. Since Mike was older than me, college, careers and families took us in different directions.

About the time my Godparents started needing Mike and Charlotte’s care, my mother needed mine. My job as a journalist occasionally brought me by the building where Mike worked and I would always stop by and see him and catch up on the latest news of his parents and family.

Our friendship up until this past weekend was really based on our parent’s friendship, our mutual childhood experiences, and of course, our parent-care and grief over their loss.

Like Dale and I, Mike and Charlotte recently moved from the community in which we all grew up to a home on the water.

I knew all four of us shared a love for fishing and the outdoors and I invited Mike and Charlotte to The Little House for a visit.

I’ve often blogged about how being in a small space can bring people closer and heightens relationships. Now The Little House has played a part in the four of us forging a new friendship based on our current interests, life experiences, family, and midlife challenges.

Sure, there were plenty of “Remember When’s,” but I think we were all surprised to learn how many common interests we all share, not just in lakes, boating and fishing, but in animals, guns, funny movies, antiquing, dreams of visiting Ireland, and good food and drink.

Mike even developed a special bond with Sade, our pit bull, who helped him put to rest in his mind the media hype and hysteria of the breed.

I feel like we have new friends, although I’ve known Mike all of my life, and Charlotte longer than I’ve even known Dale.

It’s wonderful to have people in our lives that have a common past, but even better when we learn we share enough interests to build our own friendship in the present.

Do you keep up with anyone that you knew growing up or anyone who has become a “second generational friend?”

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21 Responses

  1. Finally, Finally…I’ve been looking for this information for a long time. Thanks

  2. Christine says:

    great artical, love the story. I have two friends from kindergarden that I keep in touch with. Its fun to talk of old times. God Bless, Christine

  3. babette says:

    I love the few friends in my life from my childhood. LOVE them. Just lost one of them, in fact and the world seems off balance to me.

    BJ, too funny: I always wanted to stay home alone when I was a kid. I think the loud family life sometimes made me pine for the solitude.

  4. Alexandra says:

    Unfortunately, I do not. This has to do, probably, with my having spent 25 years living in France, so I’m atypical, I’d be willing to bet. I think about this often, how different life is today from when your parents and godparents were young. I was walking through the woods yesterday with my husband, thinking back all the way to pioneer days, when we could have been on the way to see one of our adult children, living in a different part of town. Now my daughters,who live two hours away, are too busy with their lives to come visit, and my son has a family on the other side of the nation. This country has lost the feeling of community, and that makes me sad. Thanks for sharing this reunion, Kerri. I hope you will have more opportunities to spend time together.

    • Kerri says:

      I think you’re right, Alexandra, and I share your sadness for the loss of community. On this particular block, all of the parents knew the children and everyone looked out for each other.

  5. I only have one “true” friend from childhood in my life now. It really is a blessing because, especially now with both of us struggling with eldercare issues, we have a new common ground.

    • Kerri says:

      That is an especially good time to have someone from your past in your life, Roxanne. On the worst days, its good to have someone reminding you of the “good old days.”

  6. Lynette Lemmon Chastain says:

    I love the article Kerri; I also have such wonderful memories of growing up on that block and tons of playing time with you and Mike.

    • It was a great place, Lynette. Remember how our mothers used to come out on the stoops and call us home at dinner or dark? 🙂 I have great memories with you, too.

      • Lynette says:

        I do remember our moms (and my siblings) calling us home from the stoop. I also remember Kim’s mom using a bell.

        • OMG, Lynette, I had forgotten that! Thanks for the memory.

        • Kim Jacobs says:

          I kinda forgot about that BELL my dad had attached to the outside of the porch. As a young little girl, I would enjoy going to play and never want to come back home lol
          But my momma figured out a way to grab a hold of the rope hanging down from that darn bell and keep ringing it until she seen me walking towards the house… What memories 🙂

          • kerri says:

            Thanks for visiting, Kim. I had forgotten about that bell too, until Lynette wrote about it! Those were the days, weren’t they? Long summer days and evenings playing on the block until we got called (or rang) home!

  7. Phillis Godwin says:

    Good article as usual. Love

  8. When my dad met my mother at the end of WWII, my dad was finishing his 6th year of service and had planned on making the military a career. My mom had moved often after her dad died (I think she told me she had attended no less than 6 schools between elementary school and high school), and she didn’t want to move her kids around. I often wondered what that life would have been like, but I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything in the world either! 🙂

    • Bj says:

      Yes, that seems to be like my life. Though dad’s job in the air force required us to move often (and quite often with little notice)…I attended 30+ schools from Kindergarten to the last of the 5 high schools I attended before I finally graduated from one!
      Lucky (depending on how you view it) for me I had plenty of brothers, and we tormented each other as siblings will all over this planet! LOL

  9. Bj says:

    Growing up military, this is one part that I never got to enjoy..having the same lot of friends all through school, growing up together. As an adult I still travel, but now make the time to make those lasting friendships-no matter the distance! Every once in a while, though, I find a friend I knew at some long forgotten far-flung base, and it is as if the world has shrunk once again! Those friends,rare gems that they are, once re-found, are never again lost….
    I would not trade my upbringing for all the world nowadays, though as a child, I often asked to be left behind!
    You are definitely one blessed lady, Kerri!