Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nothing Nicer than Renewing Old Friendships

I reunited with my dear old friend Teddy Wilson from my Toledo days (1967-1985).  She's still beautiful, smart and spunky after all these years. It was wonderful catching up.  We picked up from where we had left off 28 years ago, as if we had never lived miles apart for so long. We skimmed along the outlines of our changing lives, our children, now grown with children of their own; our jobs, our retirement; our highs and lows, our journeys and travels, internal and external, close to home and far away.  

We could only touch the surface at our first reunion, we had so much to say, so we met again at  Barnes and Noble.  We chatted over tea and then browsed the books, zeroing in on the poetry and music sections. Just like old times. I didn't find any Van Cliburn recordings, but Teddy got a volume of Mary Oliver's poetry.  We shopped for our grandchildren, too.  Our lives intersect in so many ways.  We're going to get together every two weeks we decided.

There's nothing nicer than renewing an old friendship.  It's a waltz down memory lane, a slow waltz.  We danced back to the times when we were young mothers, neighbors on Robinwood Avenue in the Old West End, confidantes.  Teddy, now retired like me, was a public school teacher, taught English, loved literature and poetry, developed currculum for the County, and tended to her beautiful house with its elegant Spanish-tiled entryway and lush garden.  I was a community activist, finishing my dissertation, teaching women’s history, and working on a  pioneering battered women and family violence prevention project. Those were the days of the War on Poverty, against a backdrop of  the peace movement, the Civil Rights movement and a powerful women’s movement.  America was changing, and so were we.   Teddy and I took long walks around our neighborhood and had long talks about our lives and dreams during those turbulent times.

We recalled all of it.  Up to the present. We toasted  the recent reauthorization  of the Violence Against Women Act that Senators Barbara McCulsky and Joe Biden, among others, have long supported.  Teddy stays current on all things political, and she brought me up to date on the sequester, looming budget cuts, the hearings on gun control, the eloquent testimony of a Chief of Police who supported it and stood up to some Senator's harsh questioning.   We had both watched the excellent PBS documentary  "Makers, Women who Make History," and loved it. It hit so close to home, this sweeping social revolution.

Two old progressive Democrats sharing the same perspectives and worldview,  who always enjoyed ranting together, and still do!  It was like talking with my brother Loren, and I reminisced about him and told Teddy how much I miss him. Teddy understood.

We’ve survived “the bloody sharps and flats of life,”  the ups and downs, learned from our achievements and our mistakes, and moved on.  Like Mary Oliver’s poem "Wild Geese," we are flying home again, home to the center of our true selves.  How blessed to reunite with such a good friend, and to learn we are still on the same page, older but wiser.  
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