The Comfort of Old Friendship

“I recognized each one as soon as she smiled!” my grinning former classmate enthused. Here we were, some 20 children of the 60’s, gathering for lunch for the very first time since our high school graduations from The Marymount School in Richmond, VA. This October occasion proved to me once again both the power and comfort of old friendship. What unconcealed joy in a happy, spirited room! The several spouses and partners, now photographers and videographers, caught the fever as well. We thumbed through old yearbooks and newspaper clippings, thereby bringing all 31 graduates to the party. People stood during lunch and told merry tales, with basketball lore holding center court: shots tried and of course made from mid-court, menacing opposing teams, a player who confessed she could neither shoot nor guard but was swift, a non-team member who bravely brought up our 103-13 defeat to a state powerhouse our freshman year. (I thought of my treasured old uniform, hanging in the closet, number zero at-the-ready.) The mounds of potatoes that secured our winning tally in the food drive…driving her dad’s old station wagon down Grove Avenue on a sunny spring day and knowing the world was perfect…a tooth lost in field hockey practice…the tulip trees that lined the school entrance and the charming sunken garden…formal dances held in the solarium…the Raw Egg Throw and Potato Sack Race at Field Day…and one poignantly told memory of a recently found Richmond newspaper photograph of several classmates dressed as shamrocks for a parade—and discovering that the back of the clipping reported the events unfolding in Selma.

My basketball uniform, always hoping to score more than my number.

Our parents were young again. Classmates still, the moments of our lives rolled together, tied with the string of gratitude for our shared experience and for each other, both then and now. Time stopped in the present. I was surprised by my emotion—touched in a way that could have blown our school uniform knee socks off. Rejuvenation!

I don’t want to forget yet another high school lesson. Whether our childhood next door neighbors, teachers, colleagues from the early days, tennis or dance partners, old friendship deserves our attention. It supplies uncommon satisfaction. Old friendship welcomes like a favorite easy chair, asking little and giving so much.

Bonds like glue.