Sunday, April 14: I have been struggling for three days now to come up with something for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Change. I first thought I would post a picture of my children and how they have changed, but I realized that would take hundreds of pictures. Then I thought of posting about how my life has changed since I decided to live and work abroad, and still, that would have taken too many pictures. I thought of posting one photo of me in my graduation gown accepting my Master of Arts degree. Or at my first wedding. Or my second. Or, I could have posted pictures of the change of seasons, flowers growing, leaves dying, snow falling. The possibilities were endless.
The problem, of course, is that EVERYTHING CHANGES. Every minute of every day, change happens.
Finally, after spending hours looking through my archives for something that would inspire me, I decided to show something that is ALWAYS changing but NEVER changing. This is my friendship with four women, Louise, Martha, Rosie and Charlene, that has spanned decades. Four of us met in 6th grade, in 1966, when my family moved to Yorktown, Virginia and I attended Yorktown Elementary School for the first time. I moved from the “big city” of Newport News to the rural Yorktown, and it was a rude awakening. I arrived on the scene wearing a plaid dress with layers of crinoline, delicate lace-bordered ankle socks and patent leather shoes. The girls I met at Yorktown Elementary wore A-line skirts, button-down shirts, athletic socks and tennis shoes. My friend Louise always tells me she can never get that picture out of her mind of me arriving in that dress with those black shiny shoes.
Louise & Martha have been my friends since that time. I was elected to be Vice-President of the SCA (Student Cooperative Association) in 6th grade, and Rosie was elected President.
I’m on the left as Vice-President of the SCA, and Rosie, second from the left, was President.
When we merged with another elementary school in 7th grade, at Yorktown Intermediate School, we met Charlene. Though I had known Rosie ever since I arrived in 6th grade, our friendship didn’t solidify until we were in 10th grade, at York High School. Since then, the five of us have been good friends.
Yearbook staff at York High School: bottom row: Louise, Rosie, me, Martha, and Charlene standing back, second from the right.
Rosie, Josh, and Charlene in 1973
Rosie, Martha, me and Louise at a party in 1973
me, Rosie, Louise and Charlene at Lake Gaston, 1973
partying in 1974. I’m the one with my mouth open. Rosie’s sitting beside me
Building pyramids at York High School, 1974. Me top tier on right, Charlene and Louise middle tier on left.
Charlene, Mickey Mouse and Rosie at Disney World, Spring 1974
me, Donald Duck and Louise at Disney World in Florida on our senior class trip
Louise and Gary, me and Paul in 1974
We have each constantly changed: married, divorced, had children, had grandchildren (except me), and moved to different parts of the country and the world.
At Charlene’s bachelorette party: Rosie, Louise, Charlene and me
me and Louise (and our mothers) at Charlene’s wedding
Our bodies have gotten older and chubbier. Yet. Despite all the changes we have gone through, one thing has remained constant: our friendship. Despite 40 years, we are still best of friends. Whenever we get together, it as if nothing has changed, even though, in reality, EVERYTHING has changed.
Louise, me and Charlene in New York City
Rosie and Charlene in New York City
me, Rosie, Charlene and Louise in Yorktown, September 2007
Louise, Charlene, me and Rosie in Yorktown in February 2009
Rosie, Louise, Martha and me in Yorktown in April 2009
Charlene, Rosie and me in Yorktown in June 2009
Rosie, me and Martha at Rosie’s brother’s house in August 2009
Charlene, me, Rosie and Martha in May 2011
Louise, Rosie, me, Martha and Charlene in May 2011
Martha, me and Rosie in front, May 2011 at a York High School reunion. (Standing in front of a port-a-potty, not the best choice for a photo!)
I know without a doubt that our friendship will be something we’ll have for the rest of our lives.