Sometimes I wonder what makes friendships last. Is it a common history? Shared interests? Intellect? Points of view that mesh beautifully? When I was a little girl, I had all sorts of friends: Betty, my best-friend-from-the-bus; Connie, my blood-sister-best-friend; Debbie, my best-friend-cousin; Bonita, my best-friend-sister. I suppose Mom had friends, too. She had Extension Club and Church, and of course family.
I never thought about Mom having friends, when I was a little girl. That’s ’cause mothers are not real people. Well, not real like kids are real. Moms never get sick, or need anything, or want to do anything except take care of kids and maybe have more kids. Oh, and talk about kids.
Mom visited all the time with Mrs. R, from across the street. Mrs R was Nancy’s and Doug’s and Noreen’s mother. Us kids played cowboys and Indians or piggy-in-my-pen, while those two moms talked all afternoon. Moms never played. They just watched kids playing. Most of the time, they didn’t even watch. Play kinda bores Moms.
Mom went to Extension Club, same as my friend Betty’s mom. At Extension Club, moms got together to talk more about kids and make stuff, like purses made out of some sort of black stretchy thread. My mom was the best maker of stuff in the whole wide world. She could make anything she set her mind too. I guessed making stuff is the way grown-up girls play. I never did know why it was called Extension Club. Maybe ’cause Extension is one of those three-syllable words, that sound mysterious and smart. Maybe women felt connected, like they had an extension cord hooking them all together.
Sometimes Mom visited with ladies from the Alter Society at St. Joseph’s. Those ladies got together make up a schedule to clean the church and tidy up the cemetery and to pray the rosary. Maybe cleaning stuff up is another thing that seems like play, especially if other people are helping. I never liked cleaning, but then again, I was still a kid, so I knew better than to think something like cleaning was fun.
Besides talking about kids, moms sometimes talked about other moms. My mom said, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Not everybody knows that rule. Alter Society ladies prayed for people, which is sometimes a sneaky way of talking about them. Once I gave up gossip for Lent. Any time somebody started talking mean, I said, “I gave that up for Lent.” I really burned a lot of people, saying that out loud.
Mom and all my aunts liked to talk about their kids, and who was expecting another one, and about good jello recipes, and what food made them burp, and about the crazy lame-brained stuff my dad and uncles did lately. I liked to listen to Aunt Phyllis the best, ’cause her big blue eyes bugged out of her head and her wiry hair curled up in every direction so everything she said sounded like an adventure. She could make gathering eggs sound like fun. Plus she said funny things like ‘tawlet’ instead of toilet and ‘wull,’ instead of well. I never listened that much, ’cause mom talk is sort of boring. Playing is much more fun.
Except for Betty’s mom, Mom is still friends with most of the people she got together with way back when. They must have had more in common than just the kids and husbands because kids are grown and husbands are passing away, and it’s the women’s friendships that hold them together. Some of the women still do community work, but most of them started exercising their play muscles and just have fun together.
Come to think of it, I’m still friends with Connie and Bonita and Debbie. All are women with different talents and temperaments. Women who nurture me in different ways. Along the way, I’ve gained some virtual friends, like Kim and Nikki and Sharni. Kim, I met in person this month; Nikki is in India, her eyes still not quite recovered from a home fire; Sharni is in Australia, expecting her second baby. I think I love these women as much as any friend I can see and touch.
I lost track of Betty. I wonder where she is. Maybe I can find her with a virtual search.
- Friends and Work and Work Friends (oncealittlegirl.com)
- Why God Made Moms (As Told by 2nd Grade Kids) (pragmaticmom.com)
- Moms and Women and Girlfriends… (stubbornandvile.com)
- Talkers and Story-tellers (oncealittlegirl.com)
- Grown and Ready (oncealittlegirl.com)
To meet my virtual Friends:
- Journey toward Epiphany ( my best-blogger friend, Kim)
- Sharnanigans (my first blogger friend, Sharni)
- Snippits of Me (Nikki, the friend who calls me Auntie)