Saturday, March 29, 2014

Slice of Life Challenge - Day 29 - Chrissy and Celebrating Friendships

In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are participating in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge. I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.

                        It is Celebration Saturday, too!   I'm celebrating FRIENDSHIPS today!

Birthday Dinner 1972

     This is Chrissy on your left.  She was one of those childhood friends that seemed more like a sister than a best friend.  She was the daughter of the Shortens, one of the families I blogged about earlier in the month with whom my parents were such good friends and still are.  I have lots of great memories of Chrissy and her family.  We were together A LOT!  I loved their house.  She had two younger sisters, Libby (one of the reasons I loved the name Libby and wanted it for our oldest daughter) and Susie.  Their bedroom was so fun because they had bunk beds!  I thought that was the coolest.  The four of us would play tigers on the bunk beds.  We pretended they were cages.  I'm not sure why we'd pretend to play tigers, but we'd have fun roaring and jumping on all fours around the room.  Later, they built on a small second floor bedroom addition that had skylights!  That was even more exotic than bunk beds!  

     Chrissy was an athlete.  We played soccer together for several years.  When I made my exit into cheerleading, she continued to play sports.  I remember she played soccer and basketball. Maybe softball, too.  Everyone liked Chrissy.  She was smart, friendly, and fun.  She was one of those people who blended into every group.  

     She came along on several of our family vacations.  Since I am an only child, my parents were kind enough to let me invite friends along.  She camped with us up at Lake Erie and came along on a houseboat trip.  We always had a blast.  She was up for any adventure and had a great sense of humor.  I hardly ever remember her in a bad mood.  My dad liked to tease my friends, and he liked her a lot because she could always come up with a good comeback.

     Chrissy's family owned the local funeral home.  I can remember playing hide and seek with Chrissy throughout the funeral home.  Somehow, we weren't afraid of the coffins or other possible morbid things that one finds in a funeral home.  We just thought it was fun.  I can also remember playing hours of kick-the-can in her front yard on hot summer nights.  She liked to play at my house also, swimming in the pond, riding horses, fishing.    Lots of fun times!

     I roomed with Chrissy and my other good friend, Karan, when we went off to college at Miami.  We had a great freshman year.  Her parents and mine would come to the football games and bring tailgate food for us all.  I loved her parents.  Sally was like a second mom to me throughout my childhood.  She taught yoga, which I thought was so glamorous.  She would even lead yoga classes for all of  Chrissy's friends on sleepovers.  I can remember us sitting in a cross-legged position, imagining relaxing scenes in our heads as Sally would talk in a soothing voice, putting us through meditation exercises.  Grant, Chrissy's dad, was so funny.  He always had a twinkle in his eye and a kind thing to say to me.

     When it was time to get married, of course Chrissy was one of my bridesmaids.  After a while, we drifted apart, but I've seen her several times over the years.  She came to several Friends' Thanksgivings.  She lives in California now, and my mom does the Cuties' outings (I explained the Cuties in one of my previous posts) with Sally.  Regardless of how much I see her now, I know she played a huge and happy part in my life.

     After chronicling several important friendships this month in my slices,  I'm amazed at how God places people in our lives for a reason.  Sometimes it's just for a certain time and place.  Geography, a common interest, a job sometimes helps us make a friend.  Soemtimes it's a chance meeting when you recognize a kindred spirit.  Sometimes it's a neighbor or hobby that brings people together. College.  Grade school.  I had a best friend, Laura, who I needed in high school for a number of reasons - I believe she helped me stay connected to God because her father was a pastor.  She had a deep faith, and I was without a church at the time.  I was heartbroken when she moved my sophomore year. Then came Amy who I believe helped me hone in on writing and thinking.  She helped me search for what I wanted in life. I met wonderful people in Pittsburgh when I lived there for five years when Ed took a job there.  I had lived in the same place my whole life, and I felt uprooted and lonely.  Friends like Jen, Maureen, Lisa A., Lisa S., MaryBeth, Anthony,  Kim, and many more were the touchstones I need to survive and then thrive there.  I've made great friends through Ed's work - we've gone on vacations, camping trips, and boating together.  I've made great friends through teaching.  The three colleagues I team-taught with in Lebanon I still see often and am writing with one of them, Megan, and am in a book club with Becky.  Speaking of that book club, it is made up of good friends, too!  When I started at Kings, I was lucky to be partners with Lynn.  I have a  neighbor who has become a wonderful friend. I've been blessed with friends at the churches I've attended. Those of you reading now know that blogging, tweeting, and the Nerdy Book Club can also bring friends together!  I'm even lucky to be friends with my family.  I would choose them as friends if they weren't my family.

     I   think back on some of my daughters' best friends - Libby had Janie, Dani, Alaina. Matt, Annie, then an amazing group in high school who included Jenni and Hannah.  Now she has an amazing group in college.  Katie had Shannon, Ellie, Nicole H., Nicole S., her best friends now - Jessica and Hannah, and I know she'll make some great friends at OSU.  I now have a group I know are forever friends: Karan and Lisa whom I've known since grade school, and Jill and Annie who I met in college - now we're one big group, and I don't know what I'd do without them.  I don't have sisters, but that's okay.  I've chosen the best sisters anyone could have.

       Friendships are well-crafted miracles.  I thank God for them!

Two generations of Miami friends at Friends' Thanksgiving 2012


  1. Love the 70's photo with the pigtails and kneesocks as well as the 2012 photo of two generations of friends. What a lovely friendship, indeed.

    "Friendships are well-crafted miracles." LOVE THAT.

  2. Love this, Holly: 'friends are well-crafted miracles!" This is such fun to feel all the happiness in your friendships through the years. I hope you share with them what you've written!

  3. I love this post about your bestie when you were growing up and the commentary on the importance of good friends. I am so grateful right now that my daughter has strong friendships. I know you read about the engagement party we are having. Such a gift to have lifelong friends. Wonderful celebration!

  4. Your pictures tell it all. Your words show the solid friendships you had growing up and continue today. I have really enjoyed reading your posts this month. I love your pictures...and felt like I was a part of your family while reading your posts. Jackie

  5. Oh how I love this photo you shared! Takes me right back - the knee socks, the plaid, the ponytails! So delightful. This is a really wonderful post. Like Linda says above - I hope this is shared with your friends.

  6. The photographs made lovely bookends to this slice, Holly - the past leads into the present, with friendship and love woven throughout. Beautiful.

  7. What a blessing to have such friendships! Thanks for sharing.

  8. " Friendships are well-crafted miracles. I thank God for them!" That is so true! I thank God for the friends that he has brought on my journey; especially the friends that I have had since fourth grade! Miracles indeed!

  9. I love the picture of you and Chrissy! I had a very similar wardrobe - socks included. Although I didn't have the pigtails because my hair was always short. It is fun to remember our friends of the past and how they have influenced us today. This was fun to read today.

  10. What a great celebration of friends! It's amazing to think back over my life and to think of all the friends who have been there for me along the way. I am such a believer in things happening for a reason. Sometimes it isn't clear in the moment, but looking back, I can see how friendships mean so much and helped me to become who I am today. :)