“It’s amazing, after not connecting, in some cases for 20+ years, how much has changed. But in some ways, it’s stayed the same. I guess that’s friendship.”

That was a statement in an email from one of my “old college buds” after we had a reunion via Zoom a few nights ago. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

We were a group of friends who met in college, and stayed close even after graduating within a few years of each other in the  early- to mid-70s. Several of us were from the Chicago area, and some of my fondest post-college memories are of the times the others came to town and we all got together at Wrigley Field or Comiskey Park to watch the Cubs or the White Sox – whichever team had a home game that weekend.

Most of us attended each other’s weddings, and as couples started having children, our baseball afternoons morphed into New Year’s Eve dinners out or special-occasion celebrations while the kids stayed home with babysitters or grandparents. As the kids got older, we shifted to backyard barbecues and other family-friendly activities.

Gradually, though, time and distance separated us as jobs and commitments sent us in every direction, from California to New Hampshire, and Minnesota to Florida. While this “Zoom Reunion” was being arranged, my husband and I tried to recall when the last time was that we saw any of the others. We couldn’t come up with anything more definite than “20+ years.”

First order of business on our call was to update each other on where we’re all living now, as well as where our kids are and what they’re doing. Some of them are living and working in places more far-flung than the ones we, their parents, traveled to. And some of our kids now have kids of their own, so “grandchildren reports” were also in order.

After our family updates came the expected “Remember when…” stories, and lots of laughs as some of the same old jokes were anticipated and repeated – the ones that go all the way back to our college days.

I think that’s what my friend meant in his comment about friendship. Yes, much has changed in the 20+ years since we’ve all seen each other. Our families. The ways we can communicate with each other. Certainly, some gray hair and a few more pounds than we carried around in our 20s and 30s.

But many things have stayed the same. The care and concern we have for each other. The camaraderie we all feel. The stories and memories we have in common. And the pure joy of seeing each other and being together – sort of – again.

We’re having another Zoom meeting in a few weeks, and I’m already looking forward to it. I can’t wait to laugh again. To reminisce. To remember and celebrate the people we once were, and to admire and cherish the people we’ve become.

I guess that’s friendship.

May 22, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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