I have this box in my closet that I haven’t opened in years. I’m not sure why I opened it this weekend…I think it was because an old high school friend of mine sent me a package last week (actually she sent it to my son) and when it arrived I was really struck by the fact that even though I haven’t seen this woman’s handwriting in more than 20 years, I still recognized it!
That box in my closet contains cards, letters, photos and notes I passed in school with my friends. I can still tell at a glance, without actually reading the note, who wrote it after all these years. When I think about the friends I have now, I don’t know that I would recognize any of their handwriting. In fact, I’m often surprised when I see it. I communicate in writing with a lot of my friends, but not HANDwriting.
When my best friend and I passed notes in school, we wrote on both sides of that paper…all over the paper…with circles and arrows and different colored pens/pencils to mark different conversations. I had a little bit of trouble translating some of those notes after all this time. I also had trouble making out the faded pencil notes after all these years (Note to kids who might be reading this: write your notes to your friends in PEN…they’ll hold up much better 20-30 years later!!! In these days of e-mail, texting, and instant messages, do kids even pass written notes to each other???)
I’m reading Jeffrey Zaslow’s The Girls from Ames: A Forty-Year Friendship right now. One of the girls has scrapbooks of cards, letters, notes and memorabilia documenting the friendship between these eleven women. I wish I had nice, neat scrapbooks…all I have is one box. And I wish I had saved many more of these notes. As a writer for kids/teens this is a real treasure trove.
One of my husband’s closest friends has a line that really resonates with me: “you can always get new friends, but you can’t get new OLD friends.” Nobody knows/understands you quite like an old friend!