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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gray Matters: A delightful trip back in time

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I expect a good many of you who have reached a certain age have had this

experience, and I am certain you have found it as pleasant as I did.

I'm speaking of hearing the voice of a dear friend one hasn't been in contact

with for ages, and being instantly transported back in time. This happened

a few days ago, and what a delight it was! Mary's and my friendship began

in our high-school years. Going back that far does take a bit of time

travel! We didn't go to the same schools and we attended neighboring

Methodist Churches, but our respective Epworth Leagues (that was the

Methodist youth organization) had county-wide gatherings now and then. That

was where I first met Mary and her brother, George. He was my age and she

was two years younger. Then both she and I participated in Declamatory

Contests. Those had three divisions, oratorical, dramatic and humorous.

During my last two years in high school, she won in her local oratorical

division and I won in our dramatic, so we went on to county and district

competition together. That cemented our friendship.

I always referred to her late brother, George, as 'the brother I never had.'

The two of us started off to the University of Iowa together and Mary joined

us two years later. Today's students and parents accuse me of fabrication

when I tell of this, but I swear it is the gospel truth. When school

started in the fall, their dad or mine would take turns transporting us to

Iowa City in our respective family cars. With the exception of a few sturdy

boxes sent by mail, everything else we needed was transported, along with

the four of us, in that automobile. Nowadays it seems to take at least a

van and a u-haul trailer to get one kid to campus!

But let me tell you a bit more about my friend. She was a very small child

when her mother died. I think it might have been at the birth of her

youngest brother. Someone, possibly the grandparents, kept the kids for a

few years, but when Mary was still very young, her father decided he wanted

her, and his four sons to be with him. And it was at that point she took

over as housekeeper. I am sure her dad and brothers all pitched in, but the

responsibility was chiefly hers. I didn't realize all that was involved

until some time later. Toward the end of our college years my parents moved

to a farm which was just a couple of miles from theirs. By that time, her

oldest brother was married, so it wasn't quite such a houseful. During

those summers, the three of us were inseparable. Happy memories come

flooding back!

Now that I have moved to eastern Iowa, we are almost neighbors again, so we

will be calling and seeing each other frequently. And all of this came

about as the result of a single phone call. Take my advice and don't let

those precious friendships fall victim to the passing of time as this one

almost did!