This past week has been filled with anticipation and excitement. My dearest friend of 65 years is coming to Florida for a couple of weeks. This will be the first time since the loss of her husband that we will be spending time together as we did when we were children. We are going to have a blast!
Where have the years gone! Seems like yesterday I was invited to a friend’s birthday party, who turned out to be Ruthie’s cousin. That was the first time we met; we were six years old.
As a child I had severe eczema covering about 70% of my body. My hands were particularly affected and none of the girls at the party wanted to touch me, or include me in the party games. This blond-haired beautiful wee girl came over to me, someone she never knew. She toook my hand, led me over to the group to join in the activities. And she never left my side for the rest of the party. From that day to this, we have been best friends.
How we managed it I’m not sure. Although Glasgow is not a large city, we didn’t live close to each other. We didn’t even go to the same school. In fact our parents didn’t even know each other.
Growing up in Glasgow was very different from life in the USA. The majority of families did not own a car, so getting from A to B, one had to rely on public transport or “shanks’s pony” which for those of you who don’t know means using your own two feet and walking everywhere. But we were too young to travel on our own. Cell phones and computers were non-existent so our main mode of communication was the telephone.
Another obstacle we overcame much to our parents’ indignation and that of other families, was that in those days we had a party line. It was a shared telephone line. We were never off the phone from each other. There were always people coming on the telephone angrily telling us to hang up and free the line. Luckily my father did have a car, so as well as the phone calls, we had lots of sleepovers growing up
As we got older and became more independent we shared many adventures, even traveling to the USA on our own at the age of sixteen to visit family. It took us a year of working on Saturdays and lots of babysitting jobs to save enough money, but it was the only way our parents would allow us to go on this trip.
Finally we made it and were on our way to the “Big Apple”. I’ll never forget driving to my aunt’s house after arriving in New York and asking if we were nearly there, and she said, “Honey of course not, we’re still in Kennedy airport”. Everything was so big. We had never seen a sky scraper before, or a shopping mall and what about the Statue of Liberty to name but a few wondrous sights! That trip was quite an eye-opener for us; two young naive teenage girls from the small town of Glasgow. Everything so new and so exciting and we shared it together.
Over the decades we have continued to have many adventures. Our friendship has grown stronger, we have laughed together, experienced sorrow, and cried together. She was another daughter to my late mother and is a soul sister to me. As when we were little and couldn’t see each other regularly, now the Atlantic Ocean separates us, but not our hearts and our spirit. We will be best friends forever…