Best Friends: A Trip Down Memory Lane

A little trip down memory lane….

When I was growing up, I lived right around the corner from my best friend, Jennie. We met in Kindergarten and were literally joined at the hip. We did everything together. Being a parent now, I marvel at the things we did and wonder how on earth our parents allowed us to do these things? I know, I know, it was a different world back then.

We used to walk just under a 1 km each way to school every day. AND we came home for lunch: so that’s 4 km each day! Rain, shine, snow, sleet – we did it. Two little girls, talking all the way – stopping for sip sacs at Perrettes or swedish berries at Provisoir. We would be wearing our little school uniforms: blue tunics and a white blouse up to grade 3; then a kilt, white blouse and green vest from grades 4-7. Of course, on cold days we wore jeans under our uniforms – sometimes with cougar boots – which were all the rage in the later years. Sometimes legwarmers too. Yikes.

We weren’t always in the same class and I was always devastated when that happened – but we still managed to be inseparable as soon as class was out. We would still have our walks to and from school and then hang out after school and weekends and holidays. We celebrated birthdays together and never missed a Halloween together. My Dad would always take us out and we would make our rounds until our bags were full of loot.

We sometimes got in fights, but always had our mother’s call each other to help sort it all out – and it always got sorted out.

We spent summer days together – eating the raspberries from her family’s garden (her parents always just assumed their bushes did not produce any berries), swimming in her pool (I think she really taught me how to swim in that pool), playing in the back of their old station wagon, walking to the “depanneur” (corner store) to get chocolate bars (Yorkies), dancing to Carly Simon in her living room, sleepovers at both our houses (my basement was so dark and scary though I often cried) and playing baseball and Rumoli with other neighbourhood kids. Incidentally, I found Rumoli at a Zeller’s not so long ago and bought it! I tried to teach it to my kids – it is quite complicated. We were smart cookies.

Some of the best times were when we went up to her Grandparents cottage for a week. We felt so grown up and independent. We took the row boat out (I seem to recall getting stuck though) and played lots of games. I remember eating the meals her grandmother made us. I also remember going skiing with her family and falling and them having to take me to the hospital;) I think of that every time I get on skis now!

During the year, as we got older, we would go to my house for lunch on Wednesdays and her house on Thursdays. I always wanted grilled cheese there as they made the best grilled cheese ever!!! But my favourite meal was their “Northern Italian Spaghetti”. I was a very picky eater – but I loved that meal! In fact, when I got back in touch with Jen (as she goes by now – although will forever be Jennie in my heart) through Facebook, the first thing I asked her for was the recipe! It continues to be a favourite of mine now – and has become a staple in our house – and is written as “N.I.S.” on our menu blackboard when we have it!

We lost touch somewhere around the beginning of high school. Sadly we drifted apart and then she moved away. We reconnected a couple of years ago on Facebook as I mentioned. Rob and I had the chance to meet up with her (and her parents) at her parent’s home a couple of years back and it was so nice to rewind time and recall all the good stories. It was also really nice to get to know her as a person now.

I look back on those years and think about how lucky I was to have such a best friend. Although my children have good friends, or “best friends”, I see now that my relationship with Jennie was very unique. I was blessed to have her family as an extension of mine as well. Always so welcoming and kind – although I always thought her brothers were a tad scary.

I think about how those years shaped me as a person. Jen is a travel nut now – she also has a bad case of Wanderlust. I told her it must have been something in the raspberries that we ate that gave us both the travel bug. I still love grilled cheese and Northern Italian Spaghetti. I stand in fear at the top of a ski hill (and ski down anyway). I love spending days swimming and traditions on Halloween. I look back with such fondness of my years as a child spent with Jennie. They are such happy memories. I hope that my kids will have some special childhood memories like that.

I also remember us as being very loyal to each other and that I think set the bar for my friendships even now. I am not someone with hundreds of friends – and never have been, but the friends I do have are like family to me. I think that all started with Jennie.

Although we don’t see each other much now, and lead very different lives, I can tell by our few exchanges and interactions that the bond is still there. I guess once you are linked in childhood, you are forever linked.

Thanks for the good memories Jennie. I’m so glad we have reconnected and look forward to making some more memories as adults!

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