A couple of weeks ago, I was reunited with my best friend from elementary school (we met in 3rd grade and remained bff's through 6th grade).
A little history: I lived on the 'west side' of town and Lana, lived on the 'east side'. The west side kids were bussed (1 hour each way!) up to an elementary school just below Skyline High School. The east side elementary school was in jeopardy of being closed because there were not enough children to populate it. I still remember the drama of it all.
The 'east' didn't want their children coming out to the 'west'- because you just DIDN'T do that. And so off we west-siders went.
There were no kids in my neighborhood that were my age, so I made friends with the east siders. And Lana was one of them.
I always loved being around her. She seemed so mature. So wise. Yet she liked to have fun and laugh.
I remember the first time I was allowed to walk home from school with her and stay at her house. I can still remember what her house was like. I remember what her bedroom looked like. She had bedroom furniture that I would have killed for. Her bedroom seemed so mature. Full of breakable trinkets that seemed off limits to me.
She was a baton twirler (not sure if that is what they are called) and she had pictures and trophies and ribbons all around her room.
I looked up to her. And not just because she was so much taller than me. But because she was an old soul. She was kind, wise and good.
And then I graduated from 6th grade. The 'west side' kids were no longer needed on the 'east side' so we were sent back to schools near our homes. I had to start all over again in the friend department. It was awful.
I still have a few letters that Lana sent to me after 6th grade. They are full of 'I really like this boy, he said hi to me and pushed me in the hall yesterday' and 'tell me who you like!' kinds of things. I love them!
After a year or so, the letters became infrequent, in fact I'm not really sure how often we kept in touch with each other. I do know she came to my bridal shower- but then we moved on with our lives and we lost touch.
I got a notice from Lana asking if I was the Becky West that went to her elementary school- and that was that! We have been emailing and filling in the gaps from when we last saw each other, ever since.
So a couple of weeks ago, we met for lunch. We both admitted later that we had butterflies in our stomachs- not sure what each other would be like after all these years.
When I first saw her, the years fell away and she was exactly the same girl I remember admiring so much.
As I sat across from her at lunch, talking way too much about myself, I looked at her face and thought, 'Yes. This is my friend.'
Our faces may show the years that have passed, but her eyes were still the same. We are both mothers now and have had many experiences in our lives that have shaped who we are today, but deep down- we are still those same little girls who liked to play chinese jacks at recess.
It is always wonderful to feel that connection with someone- that no matter how much time has passed since you last talked to each other, you still can look into each other's eyes and know that they are the same person that you knew and loved.
Me and Lana now
and then. (Our third grade class picture.)
I am on the top row, second from the left. Lana is on the second row from the bottom, third from the right.
We have promised to keep in touch- it will be fun to now be a part of each other's adult lives.
Thank you Lana for finding me again! Let's do lunch again soon!