There’s a little room downstairs that’s supposed to be my office. In reality, it’s a combination exercise room, game room, guest room, and random junk dump for all the stuff that has no home elsewhere. But it does hold many of my precious things, like my favorite books and souvenirs.
It also has photos of me and my best friends.
That’s what I’m going to share with you today.
Twenty-nine years ago this month, I went off to college. In the first week before classes started, I visited a high school friend, Vinny, in his dorm and met the guy who would become my husband. Also that week, at one of the activities that the college offered to incoming freshmen, I met my college best friends, Chris and Shelly. The journeys of our lives have taken us lots of places, but Chris is still with me, living here in my town of Louisville, Colorado, and being “Aunt Chris” to my kids. While we were in our twenties, we lived within driving distance of the New York Renaissance Festival in Tuxedo, New York, and we went every year — in costume. Here is my favorite picture of us. Forget wedding pictures, forget us as students, parents, anything else. This is how I remember us.
This, and sitting on the floor by candlelight, eating Ben & Jerry’s and reading Tarot cards.
Risa is one of those friends where it feels like I’ve always known her. All of us who went to college together assume she was there with us. She wasn’t. She came into the group through Vinny. By now, she’s used to the fact that we’re going to say “Remember when…” and she just says, “Nope, really that wasn’t me.” Risa is smart and wickedly funny and has been through some really hard sh*t in her life. Frodo and Sam, Butch and Sundance, peanut butter and chocolate: that’s me and Risa.
Mindunn’s family moved into the house behind ours in Short Hills, NJ, not longer after 9/11. They were escaping Manhattan with their kids, who just happened to be the exact same ages as ours but the opposite genders. Within weeks of their moving in, their son and our daughter (age 3 at the time) were engaged and we were well on the way to a tight, lasting friendship (the 15 year old children aren’t formally engaged anymore, thankfully). We spent nearly every Friday night together for five years, ordering pizza and drinking Diet Coke with vanilla vodka to celebrate/cope with the end of another week being moms, laughing and talking and letting the kids stay up waaaaay past bedtime. Mindunn is the thing I miss most about New Jersey. Even more than pizza.
I met Becky through my son, who became good friends with her son Kellan in first grade. We have since informed the boys that they are now stuck with each other, because no matter what happens between them, Becky and I are friends for life. We are constantly discovering new ways in which we are alike and we always have fun together. We are sisters by choice, which are the best kind (or so I’ve heard, since I have only brothers). Plus, she brought me Ghiardelli Cabernet Matinee chocolate from San Fransisco, so I will love her forever.
This project has shown me how few pictures I have of myself with my friends. That is something I need to change!