Sunday, July 25, 2021

Sisters of Another Mother

The other day I finally was able to meet up with one of my friends from the old days…   I mean the really old days. Because of Covid and work and just plain busyness it had been almost 2 years since seeing each other. We were going out to celebrate her retirement.
We grew up together in the MIdway area of St Paul. The neighborhood was right smack between Minneapolis and St. Paul, just up the road a little from the neighborhood known as Frogtown. It was pretty much right at the middle class level of neighborhoods, and mostly Catholic with large families. It was a  great and safe place to grow up. There was even a candy store a few blocks away and lots of pop bottles around to collect and return for 3 cents to buy Banana Flips, candy, and baseball cards with the stick of powdered gum in the pack.
There were many kids in the neighborhood, most families had 5 or more and there were always kids out in their yards or in the alley playing, or riding bikes up and down the street. And true to any neighborhood at that time, we all played outside all day except to go eat. And we all were inside when the street lights came on. No texts, no cell phones, just the neighbor moms watching over our antics and keeping us safe without intervening much.
There were many boys in the neighborhood and along with my 2 big brothers, I got my fill of being a tomboy and playing sports and doing daredevil things along with them. The boys seemed to outnumber the girls at least 5 to1. But there were a few girls close in age to me and from the time we could go out and play we were friends. Our moms would get together for coffee sometimes when we were really little. And being that my mom was a beautician, every major Christian holiday the girls in the neighborhood would come to my house to get their hair permed and curled by my mom. My mom enjoyed doing it for my girl friends that had stick straight hair. She could never do my hair because I had massive curls and pretty unmanageable hair.
There were 4 of us girls that were pretty close to each other. We were all within a year or two in age. And the fascinating thing was, we all were the only girls in our families. None of us had any sisters, only brothers. And because of that it seems we became closer than just friends. We became more like sisters as the years went by. We could get along, do stuff together and fight like only sisters could fight. At least from what I had seen real sisters do. Once out of high school we all went our own ways and started our own lives. There would be years between seeing each other or hearing from one another. Word would come what was going on if you saw one of the parents or siblings. The 3 others had left the neighborhood and state for that matter and life went on for me still living in Midway. I had gotten married and we then bought the house from my parents who wanted to downsize. All 4 of our kids were born and spent their early years living in the house I grew up in. My friends' moms would stop by at times to visit. By this time my own mom had passed away, so it was always nice to see my friends’ moms. It occurred to me when they stopped by and I was watching my own kids playing with the neighbor kids that I had reached adulthood. I was doing what they had done years before.
Time passed quickly and I would get word of my friends’ lives and updates on what was going on. There were marriages, a child for one of them and divorces over the years for all of them. There were moves back to St Paul from California and Iowa and other places, and life went on without really having much contact at all. They were busy with their careers and I was busy being married, raising my kids and going back to school to become an RN. There was barely enough time to carry on with the daily tasks, much less find time to get together. We had grown apart in our lives and mostly it was due to changes in our lifestyles. Facebook kept us in touch to a point, but as we all know, Facebook can sometimes make life crazy with friends’ posts. Especially when it gets into the political realm of memes and pictures. 
While loving these 3 women as sisters, a few of us really have different points of view from one another when it comes to politics, and sometimes just life in general. It has been a journey and a challenge for all of us to look beyond our differences at times and just accept each person for who they are and the person that they’ve become. Afterall, we have a huge history together growing up in the ‘hood. While our lives have all taken a different path in this journey called life, we still have a 60 year history together that can’t be changed or unwritten in the book of Life.
My friend and I sat for over 4 hours catching up the other day at a local Thai restaurant in the neighborhood. We talked, we laughed, we even cried some together. When we went to stand up and leave, we both caught our balance and gimped the first few steps as we walked. We just laughed and realized that 60+ years of a friendship does have its kinks, but mostly it has been a good journey.
I was reminded of that old KT Oslin song called “80’s Ladies” it goes…

“We were the girls of the ‘50’s
Stoned rock and rollers of the ‘60’s
And more than our names got changed as the ‘70’s slipped on by
We were ‘80’s ladies and there ain’t too much these ladies ain’t tried”
Here’s to my 3 sisters from a different mister, those sisters from another mother...I love you all. 

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