My parents bought the house next door to my friend's parents house. They actually bought the house FROM J's parents--it was the old family farmhouse that had been moved to that location. J and I were kind of forced together, as the houses were on the edge of town and most kids lived closer to the main street than us.
J and I were very close until the middle school years--that was when we were put into different classrooms. We never had a falling out, we still walked to the bus stop together, etc, we just didn't have the same homework and projects to do. Both of us "moved on" to classmates as our closer friends. It happens with most people.
In high school, J and I did become even more distant. She became a 'wild child', more of a party girl. While I wanted to be wild, too, I couldn't: The Mother would have killed me--literally! Again, we were still friends, but not exactly FRIENDS, if you know what I mean. Then in 10th grade, my saving grace came to be--I got a boyfriend who stayed with me through the rest of my high school years. J went to the parties and The Boyfriend and I had our own private ones--we drank, but did no drugs. At least *I* did no drugs...
Right after graduation, The Boyfriend and I broke up, so J and I were both single at the same time. We got together and partied the summer away. (I was no longer as afraid of The Mother...) K and I managed to get together--while he was home on leave--and J and I did things together when he was away. Both her and I started college in the fall and quit shortly after midterms. We weren't quite ready for more school. The rest of the year was spent sitting at The Mother's kitchen table drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and teaching ourselves to crochet. Eventually we both got jobs.
The following year, K and I got married and J was the maid of honor. At some point, we introduced J to S, K's best friend from the Navy. The two of them married and I was her matron of honor. And the four of us began our life journeys.
After the Navy, K and I moved to where we are still living--a town 100 miles away from where we grew up. J and S moved to Wisconsin to the town where he grew up. We had two kids, J and S had three--and the busy years began. We talked on the phone to keep in touch and saw each other at least once a year whenever we would visit 'back home.' Our friendship survived and began to strengthen during those years.
Then the 'teen years' came to be--along with the requisite 'troubles.' Crying to each other, trying to find solutions to our problems, finally turned J and me from best friends to sister friends. I don't know if I ever would have gotten through those times without J to cry to. She saved me more than once.
Of course, the empty nest years finally came to us. This has given us the time--and money--to be able to get together more often. K and I do a monthly road trip to where J and S live--we do our shopping and then the four of us go out to eat and have a nice visit. We also go to plays and concerts together and are in the planning stages of going to some tourist attractions nearby. One of these days we will go on vacation together--we just have to decide WHERE. :) (K and I want to do Las Vegas, they want us to go on a cruise. We'll figure it out.)
Last weekend we got to visit with J and S. We went to a nice restaurant to celebrate our anniversary and exchanged gifts. I gave J a silver charm with the number '50' engraved on the front and 'Sister Friends' engraved on the back. She gave me my initials--cut out of discarded books. Here's a picture:
So, fifty years as friends. And there is no sign that things will change any time soon. I have had a vision of the future: J and I are sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch of a retirement home. We each have a glass of wine in one hand, a cigarette in the other. (We have promised ourselves that we will start smoking again at the age of 85. ;)) We will live out the rest of our lives in each others company, friends to the end. I can see it happening.