Friendships

old friends

The value of true friendships is probably inestimable. Lasting friendships anchor us in a world that is changing ever faster each year.  Those friendships give us a shared history of experiences from good and bad times, because friends have seen each other at their best and at their worst.  They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses but are able to extol those strengths over the weaknesses, so that forgiveness always triumphs over any possible grudges.

Our hair may whiten with the years, as Microsoft programs come and go, and gas prices continue to rise higher than those we used to pay for fine jewelry, but our good friends are able to keep a sense of continuity and meaning in our lives.  Whenever we ask, “Do you remember?” about something or someone from forty or fifty years before, the smile of recollection on the friend’s face as he answers, “Yes, I remember” means we are not alone.  We have something together that no amount of money can buy, because we are connected by reminiscences, even when they become the only ones left to stave off the slow approach of dementia or the oblivion of Alzheimer’s.

As the years roll by, the number of friends with whom we share remembrances shrinks, like the old clothes from college that no longer fit us and have been tossed into the attic.  Our perspectives shrink too, until there is no one remaining, who remembers what we remember.  The old friend with whom I took the wrong train and ended up in Cleveland when we were in high school together may be the last to laugh at that private recollection.

old friends 2

As someone who has moved across the country twice during the past ten years, I know the enormous significance of dear friends I have left behind, even though we are still in regular contact by phone, computer, and occasional visits. Our dearest friends cannot be replaced by better climate, a lovelier home, or increased financial opportunities.  Friends are the “family” we choose.  They are our mainstay, our stability, our safeguard in a world that is spinning faster year by year toward ever more impersonal, electronic communication, and mere “virtual” relationships as disposable as plastic water bottles.  If we do nothing else of importance during our golden years, it should be to value and nurture those friendships that are the best ones, often the oldest (while continuing to make new ones), along with all the shared laughter and tears that they provide.  JB

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About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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3 Responses to Friendships

  1. Randy Starewicz says:

    I agree so vehemently with the friendship post…I say almost those same things constantly to those who will listen..we have the ol’ Morton group that gets together at least 4 times a yr.: Labus, Jancich, Damiano, Radios (now moved to Texas), weiss (occasionally), Skafish….we so enjoy our remembrances….

  2. Steve Marshall says:

    It is true that long time friendships are great and rare.My Mom and her friend Marion were friends some 54 years and it was ofteb ass thet were a s one in thought

  3. Pingback: Old Friends | Planned Peasanthood

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