It's true! Opposites don't always attract. But sometimes they are a blend. The Oxford Language Dictionary's definition of the noun form of blend is "a mixture of different things or qualities."
She was tall, dark hair and eyes, and olive complexion. I was petite in stature and size, blond, blue-eyed and a fair complexion when I hadn't spent the summer in the sun.
The year is 1966. There's a war far, far away but we are 14 years old and it might as well be happening on another planet. It didn't have anything to do with us, at least that's what we assumed.
My favorite 9th grade class was Home Economics, for many reasons that had nothing to do with learning how to cook, sew, take care of a baby or balance a check book. But everything to do with the 'new girl' seated next to me.
We sat at tables, rather than desks. Eight girls at each of the three tables in the small house that was built in the 1940's just for Home Economics. The house consisted of a large room filled with said tables. In sight of this room was a kitchen area. The three other rooms, a living room, a baby nursery and a bathroom were located just around the corner from the classroom/kitchen area.
I already knew all of the other girls at the table and most of the whole class, but this was a new girl. But she didn't act like a 'new' girl. Not like I did when I was a new girl to the school in the middle of 4th grade. I was shy, to the point of red-faced, when the teacher introduced me to the class. And I was too embarrassed to correct her when she used my formal name instead of my nickname. It was several weeks before I told a girl in the class what I really went by. After a jump rope contest win on the playground soon after that, everyone in the class knew my name. The one I wanted them to know!
But this new girl was outgoing and talkative and best of all, I thought she was the funniest person I had ever met. We hit it off immediately, exchanged phone numbers and haven't stopped calling each other since.
I don't recall any of the girls in our class questioning, or even wondering out loud, why our teacher would leave the little house so often. We were much too invested in taking advantage of our unsupervised opportunities. I suspect that she probably took smoking breaks but her why made no difference to us.
We lived life on the edge during those breaks. Once, while making chocolate chip pancakes, we decided to flip them in the air. We were exceptional flippers, evidenced by the ones that stuck to ceiling for a few seconds and then crashed to floor. On another such unsupervised session, we had a baby powder fight throughout the whole house. That baby powder could be found everywhere except on the baby dolls' bottoms. Strangely enough, we never once got into any trouble. Best teacher EVER!
For the next three years of high school, my bestie and I shared only one other class together. That was gym, so another really fun class. Even though we weren't in classes together, we were all but attached at the hip between classes, after school and weekends.
We celebrated together when we both made the cheerleading team for our Junior year and cried together when she did not make it again the next.
She came with our family to the beach several years in a row. One summer we met two cute boys. We hit it off great and they seemed to be crazy about us. When we found out that they lived about 3 hours from us we actually after took a bus there to surprise them. My older brother happened to live there too so we stayed with him and drove his car to one of the boy's homes. Well, that totally back-fired. They wanted nothing to do with us. That bus ride home seemed to take a week!
When we were home, I was probably at her house more than my own. I lived out in the country, isolated from my friends. She lived in a great neighborhood with a pool and tons of our friends. Mostly, I loved being there to see and flirt with the boys.
We did have our arguments of course. And I wasn't always the best friend. Once, I convinced her to ride a horse even though she was scared to death to do so. The truth was, I was just as scared, but I was too proud to show it. And then I even made fun of her for being so scared. Like I said, I wasn't always the best friend a girl could have.
After high school we still hung out a lot, even though I had a steady boyfriend that I planned to marry one day. My friend never did have a steady guy but she was really good friends with all of them, including my boyfriend. It was just as fun for the three of us to hang out as it was to be with a big group of friends.
Neither of us went on to college. We both started working right out of high school. She moved away and back again a few times. Just a few months after breaking up with my boyfriend, I met and married a guy that I met on a blind date. That really threw her for a loop. Me too, actually. That guy was a Viet Nam vet so I would later figure out that while I was partying and having the time of my life in high school, he was dodging bullets! I am still married to that fella, 50 years later!
In the first five years of marriage, our family of two grew to five. My friend still had not married at this point. While our paths were crossing less and less, we did still stay in touch.
When I became a Christian in 1973, she distanced herself a bit from me. In our Junior year of high school, there had been a spiritual movement taking place in some of our friends. My friend was drawn to this and had asked me to come with her to a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting.
At that time I was adamantly opposed to any of it! I talked her out of going and convinced her that she would be ruining her life and would never have any fun again if she got caught up in that. She was convinced and that was the end of that. Remember, I wasn't always the best friend!
Understandably, she was not interested in me changing my tune about God now. We spoke very little for a while except that once in while she would call me, crying about a certain guy. He was not good for her and I would tell her so. I would also always direct her to the only place she would find true happiness and love. She rejected this many times. In short time, she did reach out to God and was born-again.
My children were 7, 5 and 4 when she got married. She married a man who had two children, about the same ages of my oldest two. But I had moved away from our hometown when my husband re-entered the military. We lived about 3 hours away.
My friend and I saw each other from time to time but the years of raising children, she and her husband had three more together, and my husband's military career, made it difficult to get together regularly.
Fast forward, now 56 years since we became best friends, we have been reconnected for years now. We see each other often, speak every week and do a weekly Bible study on What's Ap with a few other ladies that we both know.
My nine grandchildren range in ages from 20 to 13. She has sixteen grands, most of which are still quite young. Our seasons of life have rarely blended but that hasn't kept us from doing so.
Now that we are 71 years old, we wonder what lies ahead for each of us. Whatever it is, we both know that our friendship will remain as it has been--lifelong!