There’s something to be said for long-term friendships, those that span years and survive through distance and sometimes even through decades of lost contact. There’s comfort in remembering those friendships that sustained us during our most formative years and comfort in knowing that the support we gave each other when we were young is still there, as we enter the final chapter of our lives.
Mostly my blogs have been about writing, or at least topics that are related to it. This month I’m going to write about a group of young girls who became friends back in the 1950s and ‘60s and to this day have preserved those close bonds that started so very many years ago.
When I was 12, my family moved from the East End in Pittsburgh, PA – which is where I grew up- to another neighborhood several miles away called Stanton Heights. It’s kind of frightening when you’re that age to think about meeting and making new friends, and I was sad to leave behind my old ones. But then there was the Stanton Girls.
The Stanton Girls was a club, friends who got together regularly for social activities and camaraderie as we wove our way through puberty and adolescence. Many of these girls had known each other since elementary school, and I still marvel that as a newcomer I was warmly welcomed into the group, a group that had sleepovers at each other’s houses, attended dance parties, worked on class projects together and commiserated with and consoled each other when we suffered the angst of unrequited teenage crushes, first loves and first breakups.
After we graduated from high school, some of our group continued their friendships throughout the years but for others life got in the way: college, marriages, divorces, and geography separated us. And sadly, there were some who were taken from our group much too soon. But back in 2005, at our 40th high school reunion, those of us who attended determined that we would stay connected, and we did, through emails, phone calls and visits. Years later, after our 50th, the first bi-annual reunion of the Stanton Girls was held in Florida.
I couldn’t attend that first one, family commitments got in the way, but last month I attended the second. Our common experiences as teenagers and our willingness to share our life stories since then, the happy and not-so-happy ones, enabled us to easily pick-up where we left off. We meshed as well now as we did back then.
We came together from all over the country- north, south, east and west- and despite our disparate narratives, those that formed us into the women we are today, the connections were still there. After two lovely days of sharing and laughing, and now in our 70s, we made the decision to meet yearly, fully aware of how quickly life goes by and how old friendships become new again and are to be treasured for their timelessness.