A High School Friend

I had a very best friend in high school named Sue.  We actually became fast friends in 8th grade, after she came over to ask me about a book I was reading – Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.  From that interaction forward, our friendship grew and we became virtually inseparable for several years.

My family had moved to the area at the start of 8th grade, and up until Sue, I didn’t have any close friends.  My home was a little bit chaotic – a big rambling house with my folks and my sister, our two dogs, lots of boxes in the basement, and eventually my 87 year old grandfather.  He’d been a bachelor for many years, and it was quite an adjustment for all of us as he moved into a family with busy teenagers. My dad went back to college and became a business student, my mom worked part time, and our social activity and closest friends were from church, none of whom were my age.  Looking back, I see that I was a typical teenager, wanting to escape my house, and Sue’s home became the respite. She lived in a wealthier part of town, and her home seemed calm and put together, where mine felt discombobulated somehow, as our family was in transition for several of those years living in Michigan.

Sue had lots of friends, was very popular, an athlete and accomplished musician. I was shocked and delighted that she wanted to be friends with me, a gawky geeky girl.

We’d get home from school and check in with our moms, and then call each other to arrange getting together. We’d leave our houses at the same time, and meet half-way between our homes, walking the rest of the way around the neighborhood and end up at her house.  She’d often play the piano and I would sing along – she helped me to learn to read music, which aided my efforts at piano lessons. Or she’d play her dulcimer or banjo. She was very musical, and we had lots of fun, singing at the top of our lungs and entertaining her mom with our latest renditions.

There were times when Sue came to my house. My folks would often drive us to the mall to walk around. Of course, my folks walked around, too. I remember Sue commenting how cool it was that my folks still held hands, a fact I took for granted. She came with me to some church activities and retreats, and we had many spiritual discussions.

We wrote letters to each other almost every week. Just silly things, like which boy we thought was cute or all about that English assignment, or the latest gossip on one of our teachers. She always signed her notes with smiley eyes and hair.

(I came across those letters a few months ago, as I was cleaning out to get ready to move to Colorado. I didn’t remember that I had kept them, and I read several of them before deciding it was time to part with them. Maybe that’s why she’s on my mind – I’ve been subconsciously thinking of her since I disposed of the letters.)

She taught me to make chocolate chip cookies – we did that a lot. Her dad would come in after work, a very tall distinguished looking man – and he’d give her a huge hug, all the while dipping four fingers into the cookie dough behind her back and coming away with a handful to eat. Her mom, of much smaller stature – would just laugh and remind him what was cooking for dinner. Her mom had a wonderful laugh – kind of like a tinkling bell.  They both welcomed me into their home every time I came over. Her brothers were typical brothers – one a couple of years older, the other younger.  I remember one time when Sue and I were watching a scary movie by ourselves in the family room, with all the lights off and we were huddled under a blanket, and the older brother snuck into the room and jumped out at just the right moment to scare us like crazy!

Sue taught me the joy of lying under the Christmas tree. We’d turn out all the lights in the room except the tree, and we’d lie under the branches and look up. The soft glow of the lights reflecting off the ornaments was so peaceful. We’d recline there and listen to Christmas music and talk about our holiday break and family traditions.

At some point, in our Junior year I think, we became less exclusive, and our friendship circle expanded to include two other close girlfriends.  I found another friend to hang out with sometimes, and Sue’s and my friendship shifted. We were still close, but had lots of room for others.

My folks moved away during my Freshman year in college, so I never had the experience of “going home” to reconnect with old high school friends. My relationships shifted again, and I lost touch with most of the girls and guys we had hung out with.

Sue and I went to different colleges, and I remember visiting during her nursing undergrad program with my boyfriend (now husband) and another close friend. That was one of the last times we saw each other.

We exchanged Christmas cards for a few years, and then we got busy with our families.  I lost track of her as we moved across the country. At one point,  I found one of her daughters on Facebook and asked her to get a message to Sue, but nothing happened for a couple of years, until I found Sue on Facebook and we communicated briefly.

In the past year, I’ve reconnected with another high school friend, Chris, and it’s been so fun to catch up with short phone calls filled with stories of our families, and laughter at reminiscing. It turns out that she is practically neighbors with Sue, and they see each other for social activities together. I’m glad – Sue makes a great friend.

The Lonely Time

I woke up this morning with the feeling that I’m headed into “the lonely time.”

We’ve been here in Colorado Springs for just over two weeks. We quickly settled into our apartment, getting everything unpacked and pictures on the walls in just a couple of days. We’ve been to a church. We’ve been out with our son and his girlfriend. And today I went to a local Moms In Prayer Group – a beautiful ministry of praying for our kids, and a great way to meet other women close to my age.

But having done this thing called “moving” so many times, I know how long it takes to make female friends. Rarely do I find them immediately. And as we all know, relationships take time.

First, there’s the meeting – I have to be in places where other women are. Moms In Prayer, Bible Study, book clubs.

Then there’s the second meeting – maybe a get-to-know-you coffee or lunch date. That’s where I tell everything about me – my kids, my husband, my faith, what I like to do with my time – and they do the same. An information download.

Then, if that second date goes well, there might be a third. Maybe we go to a shopping mall together, or the other person shows me around town. Or we go for a walk in a park. More information download, as we wiggle our way toward intimacy.

At any point in this process, we may decide to just be acquaintances, and so the journey  starts over with someone new.

Once again, I’m doing all the right things. I’m trying to “put myself out there,” be with other women. I’ll join a book club, say “Yes” to lunch dates, maybe find a knitting group, look for a Bible Study that starts after the holidays.

I’ll remind myself regularly that I’m not alone. I have friends who live far away, but they’re still good friends – I’ll make an effort to stay connected to them.

And I have Jesus, “a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).” He’ll never leave me (Deuteronomy 31:6b). So I’m never truly alone.

Cardboard

I’ve been thinking a lot about cardboard recently. Maybe because I’ve been surrounded by it.

The back of my Kia is full of cardboard boxes from our move to the apartment. There are three boxes still in my living room – one to go to Goodwill, one to go to the storage unit, and one full of packing paper.

My indoor recycling bin is full of cardboard – a box from Land’s End, one or two from Amazon. There are the food boxes – the one from the frozen dinner and the soda box that had the cans of pop in it. There’s the cardboard base for the frozen pizza.

So what happens to all this cardboard?

For the boxes that are recycled, cardboard is used to make chipboard like cereal boxes, paperboard, paper towels, tissues and printing or writing paper. It’s also made into more corrugated cardboard.” (https://www.wm.com/thinkgreen/what-can-i-recycle.jsp) So cardboard makes more cardboard!

Other boxes, like all the ones from the apartment move, will be stored to reuse when we eventually move to a house. We’ll pack the apartment back into the boxes and load them up to relocate.

As they say, “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” We‘re trying!

Pictures of Our Apartment

We made it! It took several days, but we got here a week ago. Our furniture arrived two days later. Stuffed the storage unit, but the apartment feels comfortable.

The back of the car is holding all the boxes – need to fit those in the storage unit somehow!

It was 70 degrees and sunny two days ago, but today is our second snowfall in a week.

Seems like this could be a bigger storm – supposed to snow on and off for the next couple of days, after it takes a break this afternoon. What a fine time for my hubby to travel to Mexico! Still, at least I don’t have to shovel.

Didn’t get to a church yesterday😕. Drove hubby to Denver airport instead – snow was already starting up there, so drive was slow-going. Son and his girlfriend came over last night and we all made dinner – fun to be living near him!

I think I’m going to like living here in Colorado. It feels a little like we’re on vacation, but I’m sure that will settle down as time goes by, and it will feel more like home instead of holiday.

The cats are adjusting to apartment life. They discovered the top of the cabinets!

Today, they’re each sleeping curled up and staying warm, including one who crawled up under the covers. I wonder if they’re responding to all the snow?!

As the saying goes, “So there you have it!” Blogging from my new home in Colorado Springs. Not so much Spring today, though. I think I’ll curl up like the cats and take a nap!

On the Road

We are on the road, traveling across the country! Moving from VA to CO, a total of 1555 miles. We left home around 10:30 this morning – it took us awhile to load the “few” remaining things into the Mini and the Sorento.

Those few things included all the cat paraphernalia, three suitcases, a couple of items that the movers missed – a glass cutting board, a laundry room decoration – snacks, the computer, lawn chairs, the air mattress with sheets, blankets and pillows, a box of dishes, and other items we need in the apartment before our household goods arrive. So the sports car and trunk of the Kia are stuffed!

We’re hauling the Mini behind the Sorento – that’s a new experience. It’s a bit of a surprise to glance in the rear view mirror and glimpse a car following so closely! Oh wait – that’s us!😀

The cats have done pretty well, especially considering that their trips in the car up to now have only been to the veterinarian. This is much more significant – 15 minutes versus 8 hours. The younger, Henry, is the cry-baby. The elder, Annie, just quietly curls up in the crate, even though she didn’t want to go in either.

We stopped at a rest stop and let them out of the crate to wander around the folded-down back seat and trunk. Annie even used the litter box, while Henry tried to find a spot down low where he could disappear from this torture. After about 30 minutes, we put them back in their cocoon and started the final part of today’s drive – to Louisville, KY.

Our route today took us through part of West Virginia. It is beautiful, and I can understand why there’s a song about its roads. Winding – even the interstate is twisty, and the trees are changing colors, so the mountainsides are shades of red and orange and yellow in addition to the green and brown.

We’re in Kentucky now. So far, it’s flat with some hills. I haven’t seen the acres of horse farms – I hope we get to see that tomorrow. In the meantime, there are fewer semis and even less car traffic than we had earlier today.

Tomorrow we’ll drive to my sister’s in MO. From there, we’ll be halfway to our new home. In all, we’ll drive through Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. That’s a lot to see.