September 30, 2011

Women’s Friendship Month/Day: Part 2



     Women’s Friendship Month—September—and Women’s Friendship Day, September 28, provides an opportunity to review the long-term women friendships in my life.  This is Part 2 of the post. To read Part 1 click on Women’s Friendship Month/Day: Part 1.


     At this point in my life my husband decided to change careers. We spent three years in Stone Mountain, Georgia, while he attended seminary.

     It is shared experiences that deepen women’s friendships. Unfortunately, when a woman moves repeatedly the bonds of the friendship tend to soften with distance and time. It is difficult to build depth of relationship when women are separated by miles and miles.

     While in Stone Mountain I picked up my friendship with Shirl, whose family had moved there several years previously. However, it wasn’t quite the same. We knew we’d be separated by hundreds of miles in three years, and that seemed to blanket a slight fog over our renewed in-person relationship.

      Meanwhile, I made no attempt to develop any meaningful women friendships, knowing it takes time to do so, and three years is usually insufficient.

     While living for five years in New Castle, Pennsylvania, I met Colleen. Our common interests pulled us together. I also met Lena, who now lives in Florida.  Our bond is special, having a cross-cultural flavor.

      In Jamestown Pat #2 came into my life. I admired her desire to serve and learn under the most difficult of circumstances.

     Connellsville, Pennsylvania, brought four more special women friends—Pet (Elinor), Rhonda, Barb. And Debbie. Pet and I had a special relationship as next door neighbors, and I was sad when her physical and mental condition required that she move away. When she died a short time later, Monte served as pastor at her funeral. As across-the-street neighbors Rhonda and I worked through many neighborhood and family problems. Barb came to me for help, and has grown so much she is now a good friend. Debbie was another pastor spouse. After my last move to Laurel Mountain Borough she assisted me in starting the Beanery Writers Group. We also discovered another tie that binds: her husband and I were surprised to learn that we share common ancestry.

     Since 2000, when we purchased our Laurel Mountain Borough home and 2003, when we moved in full time, I’ve had the opportunity to put down roots. Here I’m celebrating having numerous women friendships—the first being my former neighbor Peg, who supported me in many ways as I visited our new home during the two and a half years before we moved in full time.  She made me hot tea when I was frazzled. Her computer allowed me to maintain contact with the newspaper where I freelanced. And we played many a game of Scrabble on her computer.

     Although I still maintain contact with many of the surviving women friends I’ve had during the years I do know some haven’t flourished well over the years due to my constant moves. It is very difficult to maintain many friendships at a deep level with women scattered in many different communities.

     Before I conclude this post on women friendships I cannot neglect to mention two women friendships with unique bonds. My daughter Sandy lives almost next door, which allows us to build the bonds of women’s friendship in a deep and meaningful way. It is an intergenerational opportunity, since I couldn’t have a woman’s friendship with my mother. And my sister Nancy and I have a bond unlike I have with any of my other women friends: shared childhoods, with all the memories.


     I expect that the women friendships being developed in my new community—barring separation by their moving or worse—will be different than those I’ve had before. They will be the ones with whom I will share one-on-one experiences, face to face, on a daily basis, through a number of years, without the expectation that I will be moving. And they are rooted in a mature understanding of what friendship can truly be.

     These are the women to whom I say Let’s become eccentric together- the kind of old ladies who take long walks, wear silly hats, and get away with acting outrageous in public places. And if should ask how long we’ve been friends, we’ll say,* not long, not long.

     And when I visit my friends in other communities and anybody should ask how long we’ve been friends, we’ll say, “Oh, forever— since before you were even born!”*

     And to all my friends, both far and near, I say Let’s become little old ladies together- because a friendship that’s as special as ours can only grow better through the years,* regardless of the distance between us.

     I could write an entire post on any of the women friends I’ve mentioned by name—and others I haven’t mentioned by name—but this summary must suffice. Remember: all friendships are valuable, but friendships between women are special.





Women’s Friendship Month/Day: Part 1

My Neighbor Elinor, AKA Pet

Three Women Wildly Battle With UNO Cards




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