Well, she's not really "old" - but she's a true friend who has remained a friend since I was 5 years old. Does that count as "old" - we're middle-aged, but aging together. She's been my buddy since kindergarten when she grew up living 2 houses up the road from me.
In many ways, I'm amazed we were ever drawn together - really only by the fact that we lived within shouting distance of one another as children. We have absolutely nothing in common on the surface. Even now, she's slow and relaxed, I'm full of energy and frantic need to be somewhere other than where I am - on to the next thing - fast!!! But she's dear to me. She slows me down for a bit, let's me kick back and be a kid again. In many ways, when we get together (once in fall, once in winer, once in spring and once in summer) - we spend 3-4 hours together catching up on old times and new musings.
Pam remembers me back when I was a scrawny, really bird-like kid - always with a book in my hand and a loner "weirdness" that always made me seem like I was the new kid on the block, even when I wasn't. Pam was one of the few kids who immediately drew me into her nurturing and accepting middle-class family. I remember her when she was a tan, athletic girl who was as horse-obsessed as I was book-obsessed. Her parents were older and had been married FOREVER, mine was a fractured family. She brought me into her circle and always made me feel like I was a part of SOMETHING.
And it's really been Pam who has always made sure to write letters, make phone calls, arrange quarterly visits, even though we live in other states. When I was younger, I used to wonder why she bothered, since we really didn't seem to have much in common. Well, I'm so glad she's stuck with me and made the effort all these years. I don't always know how to be a friend, although as I'm getting older, I'm learning.
Now, in middle age, I value the friendships I share with many people, and each friendship brings me different gifts. Pam is definitely a treasure. Yesterday, we had breakfast together at International House of Pancakes. She had the strawberry crepes while I had eggs over easy with bacon, toast and a never-ending stream of black coffee.
Never of us are "skinny" anymore, but every time we meet, I think we're little girls again. We excitedly chatter together and giggle like school girls. Each racing to the next punchline of the funny things we did when we were young . . . why did we ever like HIM? Do you remember that hairstyle, oh gawwwwdddd! Remember when I first become a mother? I thought she was going to be a little doll I just carried around . . . . oh no, you were an excellent mother. And what are we going to do with these men of ours now? Jeeshh!! Why do they fall asleep in front of the TV and snore? I dunno. You gotta love it, Pammy. See you again in July. Love you.