My first girl friend lived down the street from me. Her family had horses and we would take them out and ride up into the hills above Ventura Blvd. in Tarzana, CA. That area was all green with a little stream running through. Those days were so long ago when I was in Elementary School that I have forgotten her name. I lost touch with her after I graduated. That area today is fully populated with very expensive homes.
When I was in High School in Canoga Park I had several girl friends. There were 4 of us who hung out together, Donna, Gene, (spelled like a boy), and Mary Lou, who spelled her name in 2 words, mine in one. We used to go to the beach together. And one summer afternoon we all bleached our hair blond.
My other friend in High School was Norma. She wanted to be an actress and took classes in acting and diction which caused her to speak differently from the rest of us. But she was talented. I remember she married a Mexican boy who carried on his family’s traditions in which the male was King and the females obeyed the King’s desires. That marriage didn’t last, there were no children, and I lost touch with her after I married.
All of my friends of those years drifted away when I entered UCLA and we all got married.
Then, after my first child was born I became interested in joining the Native Daughters of the Golden West. I was one, after all. I met Betty on the night we were initiated and we clicked immediately. She was shy, as was I, and she was a talented artist. She created all sorts of things and urged me to develop what ability I had. She suffered from Shingles and tried to alleviate the pain by sitting in a bath tub full of warm water and baking soda. Her marriage was not a happy one and eventually she left her husband and married the man across the street who had been in love with her for years. They moved to Carson City, NV. Betty was my friend for more than 50 years. We corresponded and often spoke on the phone. Each time we called it was as if we had just talked the previous day. Betty died of lung cancer.
Then my husband and I began playing contract bridge and we met several people who became friends. One couple in particular was our partners in team games and although we played in tournaments together we didn’t socialize in other ways. Then my husband died and they were my comfort through the worst of the next few years. But they separated and divorced. I still see Eve, but not often. We have known each other for more than 40 years.
Another group of friends I made during my years in the bridge world were Kay, Serene, Louise and Judy. They had all been BFFs for a long time so if I was included it was with all 4 of them. We had parties, including the husbands and my current date, went on rallies, and shared creative activities. I was closest to Kay. She and I would have a puzzle weekend occasionally. She would provide the jigsaw puzzle at her house on a Saturday afternoon, we worked on the puzzle, had dinner with wine, gabbed, and I would spend the night there. We could finish the puzzle on Sunday and I would go home.
When the 1994 Earthquake hit I was living within a mile of Kay’s home. My townhouse was intact, but I was afraid to stay there alone so I spent 3 days at Kay and her husband’s home. They had another couple also there for 3 weeks when their mobile home was burned to the ground and they had to find another place.
Kay introduced me to genealogy and helped me get started on searching for my ancestors. This turned into an obsession which still occupies my life. Kay and I began making yearly trips to Salt Lake City to do research and each time shared a room for a week. Then others joined us so that we usually had a group of 10-15 people who all helped each other with their research. We realized that all of us loved reading so we began meeting once a month for brunch and to exchange the books we have read and liked. This group is still ongoing. But I only see them once a month and have no other contact with them except an occasional email joke.
Some of the friends I met through bridge and genealogy are no longer living. Judy was the first to go from lung cancer. She was beautiful, extremely talented, generous, fun, and married to a bookie. Louise was intellectual, very active in the bridge world, and married to a man who had extreme food dislikes. Louise died from lung cancer. Serene, also a bridge player and married to a bridge player died from lung cancer. And my best friend, Kay, died from lung cancer.
I have no BFF. I do not have lung cancer. I am 86 years old and have outlived all my BFFs. I have a few new friends that may develop into BFFs, but I doubt it. I have a busy life, I don’t like to drive anywhere, my legs are weak, and my back hurts all the time, so I am content to stay home except for the 3 times a month when I meet with the book group, the games and movie group, and one new gathering of 4 of us who play cards. It’s enough. My BFF is my computer.