How does one look back on a year such as mine? Three years ago, I ventured out into one of the scariest places I think I’ve ever been. Post divorce, 40-something, straddled with debt that wasn’t all mine, looking forward to fewer years to earn back the losses than I had behind me. While many would say I look good for my age, the fact that they had to add the phrase “for my age” said it all. I was divorced, single with more children than most, struggling to avoid bankruptcy, and wondering how I was going to pay the bills and put food on the table. I was frightened. I was destitute. I was humiliated and ashamed. I was alone. To make things better, I blew an engine on one car, and dropped the rear differential out of another. I had no credit, no cash, no clue what an engine or a rear differential was, and nowhere to turn. I was terrified. I wondered, often, how and if I was going to survive. I was also 40-something and it was only a matter of time before the aging process we all must eventually succumb to, became no longer disguisable. Further, I still had children at home, lots of them, and would probably retire (if that was still even a possibility for me) with them at home. Not exactly the formula for finding someone to spend your golden years with before you actually get to your golden years. Continue reading
Note or disclaimer or preface or something: I wrote this article, several months ago, long before the class reunion occurred. I was going to post it, in advance of the reunion, but I hesitated, intending to go back and edit and re-work it. Call me chicken. Now that I’ve actually attended my class reunion, reacquainted myself with people I’d lost contact with, and heard some of their feelings about our 30-year reunion, I’m posting this, even though it is after the fact. I looked forward to this reunion with hopeful anticipation, but also with a great deal of dread and anxiety. I now know I wasn’t entirely alone in that experience.
I do know this for certain, after having attended the reunion: We are no longer in high school anymore. I also know my classmates and I have grown and matured into respectful, decent, thoughtful people. Because of that, I know that my thoughts here will be treated respectfully and sensitively. It is in celebration of all our successes over the last 30 years that I offer this series of posts as a humble treatise of gratitude for the part each of you have played in making me the person I am today. Thank you.
My 30-year-high school reunion takes place this summer in a small dusty town in eastern Oregon. Though there is likely more pavement there now than when I packed my bags and hustled out of there without looking back, the place is still rather small and somewhat dusty in comparison to the lush green venues of Western Oregon and other areas in the Pacific Northwest. This is not to criticize the place where I spent most of my childhood. The high desert definitely has a solitary rugged beauty all its own. It is just that I am a mountains, rivers, oceans and trees kind of girl. I’ll take forest over sagebrush, and beaches over buttes, any day of the week. Though, admittedly, wild antelope effortlessly bounding across the Oregon outback is certainly a breathtaking sight. Even so, unable to fully appreciate it at the time that I lived there, I did make haste to get out of that part of Oregon as soon as I could do so and, as I mentioned before, I never looked back. I subsequently lost all contact with friends and classmates from my high school years. Continue reading
The Friendship Files began with my story about Sleepovers and Regifting. The humorous anecdote told to me by a friend, made its way onto my blog with full prior approval by those I was writing about. The friends I wrote about loved the retelling and asked for more. The friends who read the story were entertained, amused, and inspired. Then came the Friends Who Pull Off A Great Bash, Christmas Party Friend and Mr. Knows, and Mexico Friend and Husband. I currently have Mr. Christmas Eve Party, Colorado, Single Girl, Gamblin’ Betty, Aspiring Writer Friend Back East (AWFBE), Semi-Professional Photographer Friend (SPPF) and others waiting for me to tell the story that reveals the way they’ve impacted me, inspired me and encouraged me by simply being my friends. Sometimes they’ve simply done nothing more than make me laugh at times when I thought I might sink into the quagmire of despair. They rescued me, each and every one of them by just being them and by loving me in their own peculiar ways. I am beginning to have people line up to tell me their story and have me write it. I love this! Each story tells me something more about the way life is, we are, family can be. Stay tuned. There are so many ways my friends enrich my life and make me a far better person than I would be otherwise.
There are also those friends who stopped in at a point in my life when I needed whatever they had to offer, or maybe they needed what I had to give, but they didn’t stay long. They all taught me something because I was willing to pay attention. This is what my friends and aquaintances do for me. They move me toward being the best possible me I can be. If you are blessed, your friends do this for you as well. I only hope I am the kind of friend that returns the favor in this regard. Maybe in these vignettes that I’ve written and will be writing you’ve found something of life, of love, of hope, of the human condition we all partake in that resonates with you. If so, I hope you’ll comment. If not, I hope you’ll comment. No matter what, I do hope that The Friendship Files bring you hope, encouragement, inspiration, laughter, and when needed that clear realization and assessment that only you can make for yourself when you realize you’ve bumped into an area of your life that you need to take control of and master so that it doesn’t master you anymore.
May “Further Tales From The Friendship Files” encourage you and help you find the strength and determination that you need when you need it most, the humor to help you laugh at yourself and the desire to seek to be the very best you possible…after all…that’s what you were born for.
P.S. Mr. Christmas Eve Party don’t despair. Even though I haven’t written your story yet …your graciousness in inviting me in to your family’s inner circle at a time when I was most lonely meant so very much to me. May your kind multiply and fill this earth rapidly.