Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Friend, Joan

I don't know where to start. The beginning is probably the best, isn't it? The beginning was 1946. Two girls ending up in the same home room, each coming from different elementary schools and merging into "Junior High." We were 10. It was 5th grade. The school started with 5th graders and went through 9th grade.

I don't know exactly why we clicked, but we sure did. She was very shy, I was very bold. She had short dark hair, I had long blond braids. She was skinny and I was chubby. She had long polished fingernails and I chewed mine. Oh MY! I lead and she followed and we soon learned that we both could knit, crochet, and liked to draw and paint. It didn't take us long to be friends and the friendship lasted 65 years.

I really don't think many other odd couple girlfriends went on the huge number of double dates that we did! We both liked to dance, bowl, swim and we loved the beach. Were we "popular?" Nope! We were bookish - a bit, but not into the cliques and clans of the time. We mostly stuck to ourselves, but also had other friends that meant a lot to us at the time as well.

Oh! The secrets! Oh! The pains of marriages and growing families. We shared EVERYTHING!

Joan was an extremely creative and talented quilter in her latter years and I was into horses and crafts, but she lived down the dirt road and we got together often, still sharing, and aging together.

Joan developed breast cancer and went through the entire process of treatments and recoveries.

Not long after her breast cancer she seemed to go downhill mentally and it was soon determined that progressive Alzheimer's was to be her destiny. The long road took almost 13 years. I thrived and she withered.

Now she's gone. My best friend is gone and I'm sad. Our bright years together and our struggling times together are memories dwell on scenes that are no more.

She took her memories with her and that's the way it should be.

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