Throwback Thursday #17 – Buddies, Friends and Penpals

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. This is the weekly post where we ask you to turn the dials back on the time machine and remember things from your childhood and beyond. Lauren and I co-author these posts and I’m up again this week. If you want to join in, it’s easy:

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Friendship

The importance of developing friendships cannot be overstated. Socialization is an important aspect of living with other humans on this big blue marble we call home. So, think back about your early friendships and relationships. Consider the following when you write:

Who was the earliest friend you remember? What drew you to this person? What kinds of things did you do together. Did you have pen pals? Have you maintained long-term friendships from childhood. Did you have autograph books? How about high school yearbooks signed by friends? What kinds of things may have made you sever friendships? Are you a friend collector – the more the better – or are you content with the intimacy of a few close friends? How does your personality (shy or outgoing) affect the friendships you develop? What is the quality you desire in a friend?

My post follows:

I have always been a shy person. Making friends was not an easy feat for me. No social butterfly here.

Growing up in our small community, all the kids were friends. We were all each other had so we had to make the best of it. I am still friendly with those still around, although I would not say we are friends. To me, a friend is the person who stays present in your life. Time, distance, and experience can make us grow closer or further apart.

I never had a pen pal but I wanted one desperately! I had great fantasies about having a friend that could tell me about faraway places and different cultures.

In school we exchanged notes which often got us in trouble with the teacher. If we were caught exchanging notes, we had to endure the punishment of reading them aloud in front of the entire classroom. We also had “slam books” which were handmade books designed for questions and answers about who we liked, our favorite foods, who we thought had the coolest clothes, etc. Ours were tame in comparison to some I have read about. We had autograph books that all our friends signed because none of us ever met ayone famous living in central Ohio.

Because we moved several times, my early friendships were often short lived. The longest relationship I have somewhat maintained is with my childhood friend – I’ll call her Candy although that is not her name. After her father passed away and my mother passed away, our parents married each other so we became step-sisters. I lived far away and our paths only crossed when I made a trip home to visit. She would eventually develop a relationship with my ex-husband which everyone thought would be the demise of our relationship. It wasn’t. I had moved on, but honestly, small towns never really allow you to move on.

My best friend in high school was Carly – also not her name. She lived down the street from me and we hung out after school, usually at my house. Everyone loved my parents I guess because our household was fairly laid back and culturally very different. All my friends loved my mother’s southern cooking. We attempted to stay in touch after I joined the Air Force, but we eventually lost touch. We did reconnect years ago and exchanged emails for a while, catching up on each other’s lives, but it did not last.

I had a small number of good friends in high school, but my best friends were those I met through band or through Civil Air Patrol. In Civil Air Patrol, we spent every Wednesday night together and several weekends a month practicing for search and recovery missions in the event of a downed or missing aircraft. We all became close.

Yearbooks were a way to leave pearls of wisdom for our friends as we each moved on from high school. I did not get to buy yearbooks because at the time my mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and there was no extra money for things like that.

After high school I joined the Air Force and made a lot of friends, but again, the military life tends to be transient. You develop friendships fast but they suddenly disappear whenever orders come down. You learn to move on.

I had a couple of people reach out after high school through classmates. We chatted a few times, but I quickly learned that by traveling some and leaving home, my world views and perspectives changed much more rapidly than those people who stayed in a small close community all of their lives.

Some of my best friends today are people I met online through various online communities. I have had the pleasure of meeting several in my travels and strangely enough, they tend to be some of the strongest relationships in my life. Perhaps because you meet knowing nothing about each other. Physical appearance does of come into play. The relationships are based on the strength of their words and shared ideas about life. We have watched our families grow up, orchestrated meetups and exchanged letters. We have mourned deeply when someone in our circle passes away.

Friendships to me are more about quality than quantity.