Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Make New Friends, But Keep The Old"

When I was young, I attended church camp. I remember learning that old camp song:

Make new friends, but keep the old;
One is silver, and the other's gold.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been thinking a lot about a good friend of mine, also named Amy. We grew up together. We've known each other since we were five years old. We lived on the same block, with one apartment building in between our houses. One of our major goals in life when we were children was to accomplish the world record for dandelion chains. We spent days making one that went from one end of the block all the way to the other. However, we eventually grew tired. It was a long dandelion chain, but we were pretty convinced that the world record must go at least all the way around the block. We never called the folks at Guinness.
Oh, and that camp song? We used to sing it in a round, and every other song we could possibly somehow make a round out of, endlessly.

As we grew up, both of our families moved to different houses in town, but we stayed close. We were both on the speech team and acted in reader's theatre and contest play productions. We both played the bells in band. We continued to share a close friendship all through high school.

After graduation, we moved to different cities. We kept in touch via phone calls and visits. I was in her wedding, and she was in mine. Even when she moved very far away, to Hilton Head, we continued to keep in touch and stay close friends. Eventually, she moved back to the area, and our friendship was easier to maintain.

Over the last five years, we somehow grew out-of-touch. Not intentionally. It was just one of those things, where you are going through a lot in your life, and then one day you suddenly wake up and think . . .oh, my gosh! Years have gone by, and I haven't even spoken to this person! I was reminded of Amy because my brother, who is a teacher, met her daughter at his school . . .and she just graduated from 8th grade. I remember her being a little girl! I remember going to Amy's house when her third daughter had just been born. I realized the other day I wasn't even sure how many children she had, and how old they were. I realized how much had changed for me since we'd last talked . . .I'd been through a divorce, gotten remarried, changed professions, moved several times, had two children. What had she gone through? Did she still live in the same place? Would she still want to be my friend? Would we have anything to talk about? The questions went on and on . . .

I found what I thought was her phone number under her husband's name on the Internet. I called several times over the course of a week, and each time got the same strange response. I would ask if Amy was there, and the man would say "no." Hmmm . . .ok? I would say, "Do you know where I can contact her?" "No." *click*

So finally I gave up. I felt weird continuing to call this guy, who wouldn't really tell me if I even had the right number. I thought . . .well, at least I tried. Maybe we'll run into each other sometime.

A few days later, I went back to the daycare where I used to work to pick up some of my things that they'd boxed up for me. My boss said, "I had the greatest talk with Amy the other day!" (She, too, attended our school). What? "You called her?" I asked. "Yes! She's doing really well!" Wow! So Jennifer had Amy's number. Great! I asked her to email it to me, promptly went back home, checked my email, found the number, and called it.

It was the right number, but no one was home. I left a message--my husband teased me for sounding so nervous. I was nervous! I didn't know if she'd even want to call me back!

A few hours passed, and she didn't call, so I tried again. This time, she answered. Literally, within minutes, we were laughing and chatting away. Amy realized halfway through our 90 minute conversation that we were acting just like we did when we were teenagers. We decided to get together tomorrow night and hang out.

No matter how much time goes by, true friends are always true friends, and no matter how much changes in our lives, these things remain the same. Sure, we'd both been through various diverse experiences, which we openly shared with one another. But the heart of our friendship and care for one another remained the same.

I'm really looking forward to seeing her again.

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