Friends - Ties to the Past, Road to the Future

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Friendship is a complicated thing.  It encompasses so many facets, so many levels of connection.  It involves everyone on the planet.  Regardless of our circumstances, our personality, our income level, our race or our religion, all of us have friendships.  They may evolve in their intensity, they may differ in length, they may even end, but it is human nature to make friends.  Our friendships with one friend to the next may differ....we may talk to one friend daily, while another we may only talk to monthly or even less, but each friendship is important and has value in our lives.  As we move through the different stages of our lives, our friends sometimes change.  We sometimes acquire new friends who are in similar life stages, i.e. we make friends with other new parents or parents of our children's friends.  In today's world where people leave hometowns for careers, it's not always easy to maintain long-term friendships.  Sometimes if we grow and develop differing views, we grow apart from friends.  But sometimes if we're lucky, as we grow our friends grow with us.  Their views and values may remain similar to our own and in those cases, we may be fortunate enough to have these friendships throughout our lives.    That is the case with the friendship I want to tell you about today - a friendship that has spanned more than a half a century.
When I was three my family moved from an apartment to a two-family flat 'on the hill' in Cohoes.  Ann Marie lived next door with her mom and dad, her brother and her grandmother.  She was 7 months younger than me but we became best friends.  Being an only child, Ann Marie is the closest thing to a sister that I have.  Aside from the typical kid spats, we got along very well.  Although we each had other friends, we were best friends.
Ann Marie (L) Me (R)

Here we are, around the age of 5 maybe, with our puppy, Dutchess.  Plaid was obviously in style at the time, as well as really short bangs.
The perfect mommies to our baby dolls......Remember....she's 7 mos. younger.....                 
My First Communion Day

1962 - Taken in the yard between our houses.  Mine was the yellow house.

Here we are the Brillo headed Bobsy Twins!
Future Swimsuit models for sure! Frizz was IN!

I'm the short one, as you can imagine....the innocent one who just a short time later pushed Ann Marie off the dock resulting in a nasty cut on her thigh.  

Ann Marie was always taller - look at my feet!  Never touch the floor - even today.

I was in Second Grade, Ann Marie in First.  Check out the saddle shoes!
Easter Sunday - classic 60's attire!
We had mumps together, went to parochial school together, looked like brillo heads from the hair permanents her mom gave us, learned to ride bikes together.....all the things girlfriends typically do together growing up in the 50's and 60's.   We were neighbors until I turned 13 when my parents moved to Saratoga Lake.  That didn't stop our friendship though.  Ann Marie would come to Saratoga for an occasional weekend.   She even went to the Junior Prom with a guy from my high school - pictured below.
Yes...I wore black to my Junior Prom and no, it was not in style to wear black in 1971.  I call it my 'Classic Little House on the Prairie" look.  I loved that dress.  What can I say, I was NEVER into fashion, not even way back then. 

 One weekend when she visited, in order for me to see my boyfriend I had to find a 'date' for her.  So I introduced her to our friend Chuck.  After that first blind date.....the rest is history October they'll celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary!   Sharing life's journey didn't end here.... we had two daughters each - first her, then me, then her and me - at two year intervals.  We grieved the loss of parents together, faced the challenges that come with 'letting go' of our children as they reached their independence, faced health scares, and through it all Ann Marie and I are still best friends. Ann Marie is the friendliest, most giving person I know.  It's a known fact that a perfect stranger will soon be bearing their soul to Ann Marie while waiting in a grocery line.  When someone is in need, whatever the need, Ann Marie and Chuck are there, often with a home cooked meal.  Ann Marie's faith is an ever present part of her life and the foundation of the way she lives that life.  Ann Marie's life has not been without it's trials.   She is a three-time cancer survivor.   Back in 1995 when she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer, all of our world's were shaken.  But Ann Marie demonstrated that she and her faith and strength were bigger than cancer and she carried on.  Since then she has faced that enemy two more times but you'd never know it.  Her positive attitude, her sense of humor, her love of life and her sense of adventure are an inspiration for everyone around her. 
Ann Marie and Chuck have been the second family God chose for  us.  They've been with us through all things that life has brought our way, good and bad.  Our friendship doesn't need daily phone calls or texts, but we know we can count on each other as we embrace life's ups and downs.  Aside from knowing we can always count on them for a shoulder or advice, their faith is perhaps one of the most comforting and reassuring aspects of our friendship.   As soon as I ask them for their prayers for any situation, big or small, I feel an immediate sense of peace and resolution.  It's almost as though I know that as soon as God hears their prayers, He will see fit to lift the burden.
In Rockport, MA helping us celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary - 2008
Ann Marie, John and Chuck relaxing on the porch of the B & B
As we enter the 58th year of our friendship, we have seen 3 of our daughters marry.  We have traveled through life from doll babies to grandbabies....
- perhaps the most precious stage of life yet.  Our road, our friendship has spanned nearly our whole lives and has brought us from our toddler years into our 60's.  Not many are as blessed as we are to have a friend that is such a lasting and influential person in their life.   I am so thankful for this blessing.
This is a big year for Chuck and Ann Marie.  It is the year they both retired.  It is the year Ann Marie turned 60 and it is the year they celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.  Realizing the blessing of these milestones, they are celebrating with a huge party, a band, and all their closest friends and relatives.  They know quite well the importance of appreciating God's blessings, the importance of recognizing life's achievements, and the miracle of beating the odds of cancer.    We will be honored and blessed to be a part of their, "Life is Good" celebration as we look forward to this next chapter in our lives when we can embrace and enjoy what the future holds for the four of us in our retirement years.  This weekend as we help Ann Marie and Chuck celebrate, think of the important people in your lives.  Whether they've been around for 5 years or 50, tell them what they mean to you and what a difference they have made in your life.  Ann & Chuck.......we love you, we appreciate you and we can't wait to walk together in this new chapter in your life!

1 comment

  1. What a Wonderful Friendship.!Congratulations to Ann and Chuck ,As your Daughter said "It's.Time To Party" .God Bless You All !! NancyJ Glodich


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