When Old Friends are New
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?”