I grew up as the daughter of a Marine. This meant lots of travel, loads of opportunities to make new friends every few years and the gift of belonging to the wonderful family of the Marine Corps. Through the years one woman has kept me up to date on her family through the treasure of a Christmas newsletter. We trade these back and forth each year and I look forward to sharing in all the events, both good and bad that have happened throughout the year. Last year's letter ended with the promise that she would come to visit me...and she remained true to her promise.
Aunt Joan called this week and told me that she was visiting her daughter, who was a childhood friend of mine, and that they would like to drive the two hours for a long, overdue visit. I was thrilled. I think I actually hollered out loud and then went about jumping up and down and enthusiastically telling my children about my joy at seeing these women. I'm not sure they could understand my joy. They have grown up in the same town for at least twenty years. They have not moved all over the world. They have roots here. They run into people that went to the same elementary, middle and high school as they did.
These two women have known me all my life. My "Aunt" Joan recalled the first time she ever laid eyes on me. I had a pacifier in my mouth. A pacifier. I didn't even know that I used one. My mother isn't around for me to ask these questions. When she was here, we were too busy arguing for me to ask her important questions. But here was someone who knew me as a baby and a young child. Stranger still....someone who knew my parents when they were my children's age.
My childhood friend, Tari, also recalled stories that were long forgotten. At my age, I'm not sure they weren't tossed out of my brain to make room for other stories. Did I remember agreeing to accompany her to a boy's house? A special boy who had invited her over to swim. I don't remember donning the polka dot bikini she said I wore and I especially don't remember me being more busty than she was at that age. I don't even remember having breasts as a young woman. In fact, my own breasts probably don't remember being young either. She was happy though that regardless of my pre-teen voluptuousness her special friend chose her over me. Well, of course he did, I told her......she was beautiful, had straight blond hair and was sweet; The All-American Girl. I was a short, curly haired mouthy girl who wasn't super concerned about this guy.
Something about being around these folks was so special. Sure, I could go home to family and they have known me forever, but this was different. I felt like everyone else I know. I had friends who had known me a long time. And they chose to stay in contact all the way through my childhood and into my adulthood. I was a part of the bigger picture in life. Even though I had the gifts that moving to different states and counties can give you, I never had the tap root that plants get when they are going to be in one place for a long time. These woman felt like such a wonderful link to my hazy past. I only hope my children can appreciate the roots that they have as they grow into mature adulthood.