Sunday, October 23, 2005

Friends for life

The Internet is an amazing thing, that's for sure. You can find out just about anything just by inquiring, conjuring, Googling, Yahooing, and just plain searching. It's the ultimate in being nosy, and if you're smart about it, you can learn the most amazing things about people.

I'm online every single day, and I learn something new just about every single day. Why, yesterday alone, I learned all about myself just by going to a recommended website and typing in my birth date. I discovered that I was "executive" material. I also learned that one of my lifelong friends had died.

Edie and I had been friends since the second grade. She and her family lived a couple of blocks from us and we walked to and from school every day. In fact, I practically lived at her house. They didn't have much money and their house was sort of ramshackled, but I didn't care. I loved the freedom we all felt being in their house. Their father laid carpet for a living and their mother was an alcoholic who died young. There were five girls in the family: Edie, Frannie, Alice, Jackie, and Lori. Of the five, Edie was my buddy and soulmate. It was during our teen years that we discovered Elvis and all us girls formed a singing group that specialized in the shoop-shoop song with Frannie as the lead singer. I was also friends with Edie's cousin George who eventually married my sister and my friend Loretta. I have a treasured picture of Edie, George, and I in our graduation robes outside our old high school. That was in June of 1960, a pivotal year for me. It was the year I grew up. We were all best friends until I left home following graduation and moved to another state. From then on, we only had sporatic contact. It was so sad leaving them.

The last time I saw Edie was in 1990 when I went back to my hometown for my 30-year high school reunion. It was a bittersweet evening and one where I felt a splintering in the fabric of time. I saw people I had not seen in 30 years, people who seemed glad to see me but who I didn't know anymore. They weren't my friends in high school but they acted like I was a long-lost sister. Only Edie and her husband Stanley were "with" me that evening. Afterward, we three went to a local tavern for a drink. I felt out of place in an environment Edie and Stanley were at home in. After saying good night and goodbye, I promised myself that I would stay in touch with Edie.

Fifteen years have passed and I can only remember talking with Edie once in all that time. I would occasionally think of Edie and would wonder what she was up to. But, I never followed up. During a recent conversation with my sister about an old high school friend of hers, I decided to see if I could again find Edie. The problem was that I couldn't find her phone number. And, I had her last name spelled incorrectly. So, my search was futile.

That brings me up to last night and the power of the Google. On a whim I typed in Edie's maiden name and did some searching on Ancestry.com, the Social Security Death Index, and the NW Indiana Times archives, and to my amazement I discovered that I had rediscovered my old friend Edie. With a sinking feeling and a heavy heart, however, what I discovered was Edie's obituary. She had died on February 21, 2004. The obituary didn't say what happened or where it happened, but it did tell quite a story. I learned that Edie was preceded in death not only by her parents, but also by her younger sister Jackie (aged 48 when she died). I also learned her sisters' married names and where they lived, and I was able to track down a phone number for Frannie.

It was too late to call Frannie last night, but I did call and leave a message for Loretta out in California. I have not heard from her yet. I would like to call and talk to someone to find out what happened and to offer my condolences. I would like to apologize for forsaking our friendship all these years. I would like to say I'm sorry for letting 45 years pass without keeping in touch after all we had been through. We had a history together since 1950 (55 years), but I let it all pass. I should say that WE let it pass. Maybe she felt as awkward as I did 30 years ago because we both had changed.

I feel so sad at her passing because I have lost a lifelong friend, someone who knew me when. I realize that I will never have another best friend like Edie. Her death makes me feel vulnerable because she was only 61 years old when she died. I'm 63 but I don't feel old -- I feel as if I could go on for another 40 years. None of us knows what life has in store for us or when our last day on earth will come. My husband is always hollering at me for spending so much time online or just playing solitaire. He thinks I'm wasting life and he's right.

September Song (Kurt Weill/Maxwell Anderson, 1938)

For it's a long, long time
From May to December
And the days grow short
When you reach September
And the Autumn weather
Turns the leaves to flame
And I haven't got time
For the waiting game
And the days dwindle down
To a precious few
September November
And these few precious days
I'd spend with you
These golden days
I'd spend with you

Goodbye, dear friend. I hope to meet up with you some day in Heaven.

2 Comments:

At October 24, 2005 5:07 AM, Blogger Alipurr said...

very sorry to hear of your friend Edie. glad that you are writing about your life though. i am sure there are thousands of things you have never told me or anyone that i would be greatly interested in. love you mom

 
At October 24, 2005 5:34 AM, Blogger jellyhead said...

That is sad about your friend. It's nice that you have held such feelings for her through the years, and that her passing actually touched you.

I have just read all your latest posts. You sound like such a lovely mother and woman. I actually felt quite emotional when I saw the comment your daughter made just before mine - she sounds like she respects and loves you in a way that I hope my daughter will respect and love me one day.

I hope you keep writing, too.

 

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