In September 1978, we started graduate school together at NYU. We received our Masters in Public Administration in June 1980, and have remained friends without fault for all these years. Oh, we’ve been through the mill with family matters in these 40+ years but we always know we have a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on in times of need.
Connie lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she grew up, yet for a while she lived in north Jersey. While we were in grad school, she worked at the East Orange Veterans Administration hospital, as the director of volunteer services. My brother Stu was the payroll supervisor at the V.A. and they knew each other before Connie and I ever met. The back of the hospital lot is located a block from the front of the house my husband and I purchased soon after my graduation.
In last week’s blog post, I wrote about my daughter’s engagement party at our house in December. Our friends were part of the celebration. They’re family friends who have watched our children grow and they made concerted efforts to be here to celebrate.
On December 23, Connie was one of our friends in attendance. Aside from driving up from Allentown, Connie not only brought our daughter a gift but she left a bag for me. Inside were the most beautifully handstitched, 100-year-old family treasures, which she entrusted to me (see the pictures below and the loving note).
Almost as if knowing that Connie would bring me the doilies, our neighbors/friends Cricket and Roger also came with two gifts. One for the engaged couple and another, which was a round scented Grapefruit + Bergamot candle, for me. The attached note read, “For being the best hostess forever and ever. Cricket & Roger.”
The candle now sits on one of the beautifully crafted doilies for all to admire and for me to have such a heartwarming story to tell about them. The display looks and smells so enchanting that it will be difficult to move the candle to a safe spot to light.
I love how our various friends from all walks of life have become acquainted with one another over the years. They’re at all of our family events, be they happy or sad, joining us for religious holidays, or just fun gatherings.
This leads me to the old adage, “You can pick your friends...” My “friends”— pick wisely.