Life-Long Friends

Recently it occurred to me that it’s too late for me to make any life-long friends. I’m not sure why that seems significant, but it does. I was reading an article about George Clooney (of all people) and Cindy Crawford (ditto) who are, apparently, life-long friends. I thought how nice that was and how I didn’t have any of those and well, it’s too late now.

Part of this can be laid at the door of my parents (like so much, poor things). We moved often, and I went to a bunch of different schools, not because bill collectors were after us or anything, but because mum and dad genuinely seemed to like being in new places. And when I say “moved” I mean serious mileage, not just to the next town.

Max was my very first friend. He had white-blonde hair and for some reason we spent a lot of time pouring water from one container to another and getting soaked and loving it. We moved away from the small village where my family and Max’s family lived when I was about five years old.

My second friend was Linda Evans and, like us, she lived in London. We left London when I was about nine, leaving Linda behind. And even in this day of searching the net for old friends, a name like that is going to bring up hundreds of thousands of people, and of course she could be using a completely different name by now.

One sort of life-long friend I still keep in touch with is Miriam Squires. We met when I was about nine years old and went to the same school for a couple of years. We both enjoyed writing and receiving letters and our friendship was maintained very long distance. She sort of counts as a life-long friend even though we haven’t been in each other’s lives in any direct or significant way. We’re Face Book friends now.

Other friends from that same time were David Marner, Colin Reevie and Michael Dove. (I had a ten-year-old girl crush on Michael.) They might have been life-long friends if we’d kept in touch.

Kathy, my best friend in high school, you’d expect to be a candidate for almost-life-long friend, but somehow we didn’t stay in touch after graduation, possibly because I went away to college and then my family moved (I kidded them about moving away in the dead of night to avoid me) and when I finished college I went to live with them rather than near our last home where Kathy still lived, 1,000 miles away.

Is there anything arbitrary about the life-long friend designation, do you think? Is a life-long friend like a car, which officially becomes a classic after twenty years?  Or is it based on an important milestone: is a life-long friend someone who knew you when you learned to read, finished eighth grade, graduated from college, had your first job or got married?

I have to admit, although I’m not sure what I mean by it, a life-long friend seems a lovely and desirable thing.