As you know, last week I had an adventure—a 2,100 mile roadtrip from Encinitas, California, back home to Crystal Lake, Illinois. As you saw in the photographs on the previous posts, the scenery traveling through Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska was breathtaking—each state compelling in its own unique way.
The highlight of my trip? That would be the 2-hour visit I had at the home of one of my mother’s closest friends, Mrs. Gaylor. It felt heavenly to be welcomed into her home and embraced by her warmth and good humor. A trace of the Carolina’s still lingers in her voice, bringing to mind amber-colored honey—gentle, unhurried, and sweet.
Then low and behold along come Chuck (left) and Joe (middle)—Mrs. Gaylor’s two sons—among my best friends growing up. I missed their sister Kathy (flying in from Montana) by one day. We gabbed and laughed as we reminisced about “incidents” we reminded each other of. Then all too soon I had to hit the road.
It was a magical window of time—my growing up years on Goldenrod Street. I’m glad for the Gaylor-influence in my life. We couldn’t have lived so close for so many years and not have gleaned some of the best from each other. I’m proud to call them friends.
What friends were a positive influence in your growing-up years?
“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan
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© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved
Very nice story about you REALLY GOOD FRIENDS!! YOUR SECOND ___!!!! Love, Mona XXXXXOOOOO
Mona – It’s good to see you here at Speaking from the Heart. I’m delighted you stopped by 🙂
How fun a trip was that, new truck, beautiful drive, and reconnection with family and friends – all the perfect ingredients indeed.
When I was growing up I lived on Minister’s row – all the mainline churches in town had their parish houses on that street. It was nice because my parents were teachers and our friends had to do lots of sharing. The Presbyterian Minister’s oldest daughter lent me her doll to play with and helped me make a costume for the Pet Parade….and the sharing of clothing was vital for party occasions and holidays. The woman all did each others hair and did canning together – good memories.
The problem was that ministers were always being transferred so there was lots of change and new friends. I do not keep up with many of them and my mum was 94 at her death so many were long gone.
Patricia – I love the idea of having a “Minister’s Row.” How cool is that?! And if you take after your mother, it sounds like you’ve got great “longevity genes” — 94, my goodness!
Looks like you had a delightful reunion! 🙂
I spent a couple of years as a teen living with my family in Greece. In the international high school there I met a dear friend, Bojana, who was from what was then Yugoslavia and is now Macedonia. She widened my horizons about many cultural things as we shared our inner lives with each other. When we moved back to Connecticut and she moved back to Skopje we wrote letters for several years but then lost touch. But somehow Tim (bless him!) found her again via inquiries in chat rooms online and we began emailing each other. In 2002 she and her husband came to visit us – we hadn’t seen each other in 28 years! It was a wonderful reunion!
Barbara R. – How thoughtful that Tim found Bojana. I can well imagine that your reunion was filled with happy tears and laughter 🙂
I am truly my Father’s Daughter! He passed at age 63. People are fooled because my face looks so much like my mothers, but even that is changing.
She had 20/20 vision and all her own teeth and was sharp, sharp…she fell and fractured her vertebrae at age 92 after Kyphoplastic surgery the pain was gone, but she could not dress herself or twist or turn in any way….I think 38 years teaching first grade kept her very young 🙂 and her Gram lived to 106 and her mum to 96
6 ministers and their families/ one household of Catholic nuns at one corner and a huge mansion of a place at the other end of the street for a monastery of healing brothers (Catholic also) They ran the only medical services and hospital in town We all had a Labor Day picnic in our back yard, because my father always cooked and organized these things.
Patricia – 106, 96, and 94 on your mom’s side, YOWZA! And then oh-so-young on your dad’s. We won’t really know whose genes you got until your “expiration date” comes due, but I’m sure hoping their from your maternal side 🙂 The diversity of faiths at various get-togethers organized by your dad sounds like a great time of learning, open-heartedness, and acceptance.
I love trips down memory lane with old friends from our childhood. I have many but likely one of the most influential is Frank Jordan who I wrote about awhile back here http://creativepotager.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/a-moment-with-frank-jordan
Terrill – Ohhhhhhh, this is a delicious link. I enjoyed it the first time I read it, and it was just as scrumptious the second time — thank you!
Hi, Laurie — I grew up in the Army . . . we were always moving; I made friends each year only to lose them in the next as one of us always got transferred. As a result, some of my best friends were books. I often wish for the history of shared memories. In my grown-up years, I treasure finding and holding on to friends, creating stories, and having a past that is comingled with the lives of others.
Barbara – And while I love my childhood friends, like you, I treasure my grown-up years friends as well. I love when you said, “…having a past that is comingled with the lives of others.” It calls to mind threads in a colorful tapestry.
How very lovely, Laurie. So glad you were able to visit Mrs. Gaylor and two of the kids. I worked in my dad’s drugstore starting at age 12 and had so many lovely older people who cared. There are really two many to name, except I remember one gruff old guy gave me a polished Petoskey Stone when I left for college. So many lovely caring folks…
Kathy – How cool about the “gruff old guy” who gifted you with a Petoskey Stone — I love that story!
So Many that I am sure to miss far more than I put down.
Cousins Ian Howard and Brian Cronin from very early in my life.
George French and Paul Revell and Pat Hughes from early days at Waitakaruru.
Jim Dahm and Kevin Sherson from Ngatea.
Merve Blackwell fro Kaiaua.
Chris & Sharon Hickey, Ed Lock, Penny Bovaird, Liz McCabe from University days at Waikato.
Rex Smith & Rob Billings from fishing.
Len McKinnon, John & Tina North, Paul Millington, Joginder Singh, Jim Bryant, Dennis & Pam Wrench, Arnold Teklenberg, Nick Jarman, Peter Stevens, Olaf Skarsholt, Pete Ravn, Geoff McCaughan, Rachel Harvie, Geoff Rowling, David & Roger Douglas, Max Purnell, Colin Broadley, Alan Geoffrey, John Parker (JP) and so many others from my time in Waitakaruru.
Just too many from my time here in Kaikoura, hundreds, Bill Edwards, Stuart Grant, Graham Butcher, Robin Stanford, Peter McInnes, Rusty Arthur, John Macphail, Barbara Woods, Marion McChesney, Thora & Doug Lawson, Charmaigne & Tim Webber, Trevor Ruawai, Scott McIndoe, Sheryl Hart, Keith & Viv Ingram, Trish Rae, Mark Solomon, and so many more.
Then there are all of the amazing online communities, Laurie, OM, just too many write.
Thanks Laurie, for this opportunity to get present to, and grateful for, all the marvelous people who have made a difference for me in life.
You said friends, and my best friends have mostly been in my family. My wife Ailsa, my dad and mum, my sisters, brother, cousins, uncles and aunts.
Ted – Hula Burgers! I don’t think I even KNOW that many people!
About 20 years ago I did a count up, and there were about 50,000 people who expected me to know them on a first name basis. That figure is probably closer to 70,000 now.
I can probably remember the names of about 5,000, but I can recall things about the others usually.
When involved in lots of things, you meet lots of people.
Prior to getting married I was on 32 different committees, and chairman, secretary or treasurer of 8 other them.
I have run 5 campaigns for parliament, and met a lot of people each time.
I owned a fishshop for about 6 years, and knew most of my clients by name, a couple of thousand of them (we used to sell about 60 tonnes of fish a year).
At Waikato University it was a very small university, only about 1,200 students, and I got to know most of them over 3 years.
At Auckland Uni, I probably got to know about 500 people over a year, as well as about 50 that I did Skipper ticket and engineers ticket, and Advanced First Aid with.
I have learned so much, from so many different people, it is hard to recall them all.
Most people are willing to share their knowledge if you show interest, and give them time.
Ted – Good grief! The memory “catalog” in your brain clearly has several more chapters than mine, and your social calendar requires a shoe horn to squeeze in an extra event. If I’m not mistaken, Ailsa has a milestone birthday event coming up next month and I hope that lots of the folks you mentioned will come to help her celebrate in a big way 🙂
After more than 30 years, past Christmas I contacted my best friend at school,Marleen.
At 18 or so I went to uni to study law. She went into marriage and kids and working in the flower shop of her father.
It is as if that 30 years never happened. She is now a grandma and married for the second time. I connected to her husband too, who is watching with humour and great joy and astonishement two grown up girls talking and talking like ever before.Moreover he participates in the conversation too !.
Elke – Isn’t it wonderful when people who haven’t seen each other for a period of time can just ease right back into a conversation and pickup right where they left off? And it’s oh-so-nice that you connected with Marleen’s husband, too.
Laurie, this past week I delived an emotional eulogy at the funeral of the 79 year-old mother of one of my very best lifelong friends (one who I attended school with and still see movies with, and one who I called upon to read my own eulogy back in 2003 at my own mother’s funeral, which I was way too broken up to deliver) at a Catholic mass. It was likewise a eulogy written by my friend for his mother, and it must surely rank one of the most beautiful that’s ever been written. But my friend Tony Lucibello, who is the head coodinator of the Belleville New Jersey mental health facility, is quite the brilliant guy and always has been. This was one of the greatest honors of my life (as I’m sure it was for him eight years ago) and it’s one I’ll cherish till my dying days. I think I am going to e mail you my friend’s eulogy to his mother, because I beliece it represents one of the most exceedingly beautiful remembrances and appreciation that a friend could ever have for his mother, and to read those words was quite a blessing.
So I know precisely what you say about the power of friendship in regards to the Gaylors and how meeting up with them allowed the priceless recollections to ryn in front of you. The wonderful pictures here tell it all, and are the most appropriate emotional capstone to a trip you’ll never forget.
Sam – I shared with you in a side email after reading the eulogy that your friend wrote that I don’t know how you made it through. I wept just reading it to myself and I didn’t even know the dear woman. I can well imagine that everyone in attendance was in tears. You and your friend clearly have a treasure in each other.
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