About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Not long ago, I put up a post entitled "Eight is Enough." You may remember that one of the "8s" was 8 qualities I look for in a best friend. I wrote that a friend should:

1. have a sense of humour

2. be trustworthy

3. be intelligent enough to have a decent conversation and not just gossipy stuff

4. be kind enough to offer to bring chicken soup when I’m all alone and sick with a cold or flu

5. be able to view things from various perspectives but honour my perspective even if he/she doesn’t understand or approve of it

6. be interested in ME and my life

7. be inquisitive and have a desire to learn something new every day

8. be willing to share a room with me on a trip and bring your own earplugs

Well, I've been thinking about all the friends I've been fortunate enough to make over the past half century plus. Not all have remained in my life but as one leaves, another makes an appearance and sticks around for the long haul. Where have they come from?

When I think back to my childhood, I think that my younger sister was my best friend because we were so close in age. We played together, ate together, slept together and told each other secrets. We played with three girls who lived across the street. However, as we became teenagers, each of us spread our wings and found others with whom to share our time. My best friend through high school was a girl named Margaret, who went to a Christian Reformed church. Because of that, my parents never hesitated to allow me to go on outings with her and her church friends. Little did Mom and Dad know that they were a pretty wild and crazy bunch. Once, we piled 9 of us into a huge car and sped down the highway at 120 mph to Cultus Lake and back. On the way back to my house, the passenger door flew open as we made a turn. There were no seatbelts in those days so you can imagine the screaming from Margaret and me as the driver struggled to reach across us to get the door! We ended up going separate paths when she decided to begin her teaching career after 2 years of university and I continued on to get my degree. Years later, I found out that one of the teachers at my last school had taught with her at another small Christian school. I never found out her married name, so haven't been able to contact her.

I only have one friend from high school who has stayed the course with me. Di started at our high school in Grade 12 and we went on to university together, having lots of fun and a few dangerous adventures. I was maid of honour at her wedding in 1972 and we're still friends, albeit living across the continent from each other. We only get to see each other every 3 to 5 years, but it's like picking up from yesterday. Thankfully, these days we're able to keep in touch via email. Lots of other friends have come and gone over the years. Some I made when I was a new mother. Some were from church and others from reading or theatre groups to which I belonged. Some were business colleagues who made it into the "friend" department.

A friend is there for you at a time in your life when you need each other the most. You experience things together and learn from each other. For example, when I had my first child, I could turn to others who were going through the same sorts of things like rashes, screaming, not sleeping at night, etc. When I was married, I had friends with whom we'd go camping, out for dinner, over to each other's house for games nights or Christmas and New Year's Eve. After my husband died, I found out who were the true friends - not many. Suddenly, as a single woman, I found out that I was considered to be a threat to the other wives. I had to start all over to make friends with women who were also single. I knew none at first.

Now I'm happy to say that I consider many women my friends. Each of them brings something different to our friendship. Cathy and I enjoyed teaching together and we've traveled several times with each other, both to Europe and on small trips locally. She's the one that brings her own earplugs when we've shared a hotel room or cruise cabin. Johanna and I share a love of art, literature, music, lunching, walking and showing each other areas of our neighbourhoods. She's a city girl and I'm a suburban girl. Colleen and I share a history of loss, we both have daughters who've tried our patience and love many times, and over 10 years as she does my hair we've shared many a secret with each other. She's from South Africa. Wendy is a great friend who didn't care that I was single and she was happily married. Because her husband plays drums in a band, we even laughingly "date" each other occasionally - one time she's the "guy" and the next time, I am. We've attended the same church for many years and done the season tickets to theatre thing, too. I met Suzanne a couple of years ago through blogging. She lives in Arizona and when we had an opportunity to meet up in LA over the Labour Day weekend in 2005, we found that we're soul sisters. She had me to her place in February 2006 and took me to the Grand Canyon. Then we had a week together in California in February 2007 and she's planning to come up to Vancouver next summer - to get out of the hot desert. Overseas, I consider Marion in England and Jane in Wales to be my good friends. I met Marion through Cathy in 1997 and we've become great friends separate from Cathy, even though they're also friends. I met Jane through a blogging experience and met her a little over a year ago when I was visiting with Marion and her husband. I took the train to Wales and it was instant friendship. She took me to see the Welsh Living History Museum, an amazing place that I'd like to revisit in the spring or summer.

Every one of these women I consider to be a "best" friend, each in her own unique way and each one has some or all of the attributes that I listed above. Some of us got together to celebrate my birthday in October and some had never met each other before. But we all had things in common. We all love to travel. We all have some creative talent - painting, writing, drama, wood carving, crafts, flower arranging, etc. We're all grandmothers now and love to share photos and stories of our new babies. And did I mention that we all love to travel - both nationally and internationally?

Why did I start thinking about friends and friendship? I think it's because of the Christmas season being upon us and the fact that I'm feeling so grateful for the positive impact they've all had on my life. In some small way, I just wanted to acknowledge them and thank them for being there for me when I need them and for allowing me to be there for them when they need me.

I did this silly little quiz to see what kind of friend I am and I was pleasantly surprised. What kind of friend are you? Do you have a friend that deserves your acknowledgement?
You Are a Good Friend Because You're Loyal
You stick with your friends no matter what, even if you feel like they're doing the wrong thing.You believe in letting people figure out their own path in life. It's not your place to interfere.
And part of your loyalty means that you'll do a lot for your friends. You definitely go the extra mile.You'll even do great things for friends without them asking. After all, that's what friendship is all about.
You are truly a friend for life. And you have friends you've known since you were a kid.Your friends can count on you to do a favor, remember a birthday, or just be there to listen.
Your friends need you most when: They can't turn to anyone else
You really can't be friends with: Fickle people who change friends quickly
Your friendship quote: "Friendship doubles your joys, and divides your sorrows."


Russell said...

Wonderful thoughts and observations about friendship.

One of my favorite sayings is the best way to have a friend is to BE a friend!

The best friends are the ones who are good listeners.

You can never have enough friends AND you measure the wealth of a person by the number of friends she or he has!!

Ruth L.~ said...

Yes, I can see that you are a FRIEND in deed. Great thoughts on friendship, nice reminiscence.

Jo said...

Hi, Leslie, I finally have time to come over and visit your blog. What a nice post! When I met your friends at your birthday dinner (which was wonderful by the way!) I thought what a great bunch of people they were. They were all funny, and well-educated and bright and attractive. I liked all of them.

And it's true, the best way to have a friend is to be a friend. so true.

Now, Saturday, we're going to "do" Fourth Avenue, right???

Leslie: said...

4th Ave here we come!

jmb said...

Lovely post Leslie. It's funny though how you can have a very intense friendship for a while and then things change. Not a falling out but other things happen. Usually you can feel comfortable again in a very short time when you meet again but for whatever reason you are not so close as you once were.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Great post , Leslie and I think it is Xmas that makes us reflect on these matters. I loved the part about the Church group being quite a wild bunch and feel for you about being regarded as a threat to other women once you are on your own. I have a "friend" here who regards me as a threat to her marriage - I would never dream of being such a thing - and I am sad about it but have realised there is little I can do about it. I am so glad to read about the new friends you have found and was also interested to read about your visit to the Welsh Folk Museum [St Fagans - I presume that's the one?] It's a lovely place and I miss it. Through "Friends Reunited" I refound my best friend at high school. OK, we are not going to be bosom buddies again - our lives have been too different - but we are in touch and do care about each other. Through that site, I've also refound a couple of old flames! One thing I do find, though, is that often, as a single woman, you are left to make all the effort in a friendship- but friendship by definition cannot be one-sided, so sadly I've had to let some "friendships" go. But like you, I am amazed at all the friends I have made online and I hope to meet some of them one day, including you.

Leslie: said...

Yes, WL, some friendships do seem to be one-sided. I had two different friends who always had me over to their place for coffee/tea/whatever but would never come to mine. Now, I did have a lovely home so it wasn't that. I eventually moved on but if/when I ever see them, we're still very friendly.

Yes, it WAS St Fagan's we went to and I absolutely adored it - even though it was an overcast and drizzly November day. The gardens at the "castle" were beautiful and that's why I'm so looking forward to going back some day but in the spring or summer.

I hope to some day return to Sicily, too, as the whole week I was there I was suffering from a bacterial infection which reduced my energy a lot! So I missed seeing some things as I had to rest in the hotel room while the others went out and about.

Nancy said...

This is a great "friends" post and what would we do without our friends. I think friends are one of my biggest blessings in life. I feel fortunate to have you for a blogging friend.

Casdok said...

Lovely post

Leslie: said...

Thanks for popping in, Casdok. I looked over on your blog and find it fascinating. It's now favourited and I'll be over often.

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