We had no idea on this one particularly warm September day 50 years ago it was the start of what was to become a lifetime friendship. Jodi and i became friends from the moment they lined us up for our 3rd-grade class picture. Smack next to each other, year after year, our being two of the tiniest girls in the class. It was my first year at a new Elementary School and I was resistant to change, and feeling a bit alone. Afterall, I was only 9 years old and in a whole new neighborhood. I believe Jodi and I were placed in each other’s lives at that moment in time by a force greater than ourselves. Something very magical, precious, rare and unique.
Mind you, it did take some work on our part over the years, as geographical distances separated us, marriages, different careers, hobbies, and circles of “social friends”. Through it all, nothing ever separated those two lovely little girls, 9 years of age, so happy to have found each other on that warm September day. Our trusting and sister-like bond was created and the glue which held us together is so much stronger than anything which could have pulled us apart.
As we entered High School years, a period which was graced without the disruption of cell phones and the Social Media “like” posts of today; we were still the best of friends!
The postman was our “Facebook” or Internet of things in the long Summers as we wrote letters back and forth in the mail, despite living only a mile apart. Our parents were very kind and took us to so many fun events, and they too became very good friends. We were thrilled! It was the meshing of one family and another, no religious barrier could divide nor time or distance. Friends are there for one another, and we were certainly manipulative in getting our parents to bring us places, trust us to go places alone, and to trust we would always enjoy each other’s company. I recall Jodi’s Mom saying with a lovely giggle, “so Cara you are so smart we can miss the day at school, how could we miss this gorgeous sun?” as she drove us down to West End at the Jersey Shore and called in sick for us at school. It was quality time, we didn’t think about the ramifications of missing a day of school back in the late, late 1970’s
We did everything together. Shopping especially, after all, we were teenage girls. The mall was a happening place and one day while shopping we found “IT”. Our secret for life! The first of 3 full years of Snoopy Diaries which we bought to write to each other in every single day, and in code, so no one would really understand or be privileged to our secrets. Life wasn’t always easy, there were the days we had to walk to school, Jodi in her 5″ corky heals when her Dad couldn’t drive us. Not serious here now, we truly had our own individual trials in life, yet never let them come between our friendship. It was sacred, and still is to this day! It nearly crushed me when she left for Florida with her family missing graduating with our lifetime of classmates or school friends.
A great deal has happened in our lives, between our weddings and the funerals of all but one of our parents yet we never let anything come between us. Nothing. I was so very proud of her early success in her career, as she was of mine which didn’t happen for another 12 or so years. We laughed, we cried, we never fought, not once as we learned from “others” who did, it wasn’t worth it. Not an argument in 50 years! We have an instinctual bond, where the night before my Mom’s passing, Jodi called me out of the blue. We planned on her visiting the very next day and instead she was there for me to hold me up during my Mom’s funeral services. These are the qualities found in a true friendship. The ability to show up in a moment’s notice and be there for each other. These are the ways, old-friends remain “lifetime” friends, by always putting the other person before themselves, when the other is in more desperate need of the love and kindness only a true friend can share.
Birthdays were always our check-in time as life took us in slightly different directions. We sent cards in the mail still in those days, or missives as I love to refer to them – often long-winded notes on my part attempting to “catch up” in 10 pages or less. Remember, we wrote the thousand page diaries and still both do to date! Not just snoopy anymore.
We would give each other the space necessary to heal and wait for the other one to reach out in time. If we didn’t hear from each other one April or one July – we knew something was wrong. Sometimes, the best of friends have to “let go” for a period of time, to allow the other to grow as an individual. There was great heart-ache for both of us, something we had never imagined could possibly happen to us when we were so young, so stylish and just so happy to have each other! We each had separate tragedies and yet, now, they have brought not only us back together, but our two lovely daughters are beginning to become friends also.
My daughter is a natural red-head, like Jodi, her daughter a natural blonde like me! We laugh about it, and yes, in some secret way, we hope their friendship will blossom into even an inkling of what our’s has been, in a much faster and “meaner” world then we were fortunate enough to grow up in.
Jodi and I were raised as princesses during the 1970’s in a lovely area of New Jersey and we lived a very good life. Broadway shows in the ‘City’ when we were girls of the suburbs, skating lessons, horse-back riding, shopping at her cousin’s fancy store in SOHO, and each year we schemed up a Spring Break to Florida whether we flew, or went in the back of my families’ van. We truly LIVED in those days, we loved and we LAUGHED!!!! Our parents intertwined our last names when speaking to us, as to make each of us feel a part of each other’s family. Cara ____ – ____ and Jodi ___ – ____ out of sheer respect!
I suppose in ending I needed to write this about our friendship today, keeping in mind the many friends I have let go of in order to make “better choices” or changes in “work”, “lifestyle”, “wealth” and many other variables. But not my Jodi. We have been blessed to be bonded at the hip since that warm September day, her in a lavender dress and me in my Easter yellow. Trusting each other always, and even more importantly looking out for one another when needed.
Our next meeting, Jodi’s and mine will be when my daughter is married in August of 2019, a joy we shall celebrate together once again after years of remaining friends. Friends through all the ups and downs, all the trials and tribulations, all the death and remorse, but especially the joys and the laughter which still remains to be our key ingredient to this marvelous lifetime friendship with hopefully many more years to come! We are very blessed. Not everyone can say they still have a best friend from the third grade. But we can!!!
And we still have the snoopy diaries, to prove it!!!
Happy Friendship Day to my dearest friend Jodi!