“Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
My friends from childhood are hard to remember. Two come to mind and with their memories come two important lessons I learned from them.
1. A true friend feels like an equal
Glen lived across the street. I loved playing in the gutters with him after a large rainfall. We made little paper boats and we tried to run with them along the street, not a particularly safe pastime. We both got new bicycles and had training wheels at the same time. I was frightened to let my father remove them so Glen kept his on until I was ready.
2. A true friend is aware when equality is threatened
Joy Ellen saved me from feeling left out in Jr. High. She was loyal and we spent countless days together and even more hours talking on the phone. The shiny lacquer on our phone rubbed off due to hours of use and due to my sweaty hands. Her dream was to own a horse. That was impossible since she lived in a cul-de-sac of door to door houses. In our junior year of high school we both tried out for Madrigals, a very small choir, and she did not make it in. I found out I had been selected when the older group of singers kidnapped me from my bed one morning and took me to breakfast. Joy Ellen was not there. Our relationship suffered from this upset. I was aware but felt helpless to comfort her. I stopped talking about what my singing group was doing and that lack of openness made a rift which was never filled. In her senior year her family moved to the country and she got her horse. But our friendship waned. I still feel I should have prevented the schism by being more compassionate.
“Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
Walk beside me… just be my friend”