Friday, March 20, 2009

Lasting Impressions 7

(Today's Lasting Impressions post is brought to you by the lovely Nora from Walking Through the Rain, who graciously agreed to do this post with only a few days notice. Thank you Nora! If you would like to contribute to the Lasting Impressions series, please leave a comment or send me an email.)

A Ray of Sunshine

I’ve lived in many places: New York, New Jersey, California, North Carolina, Florida, and finally where I’ve been since 1993, Missouri. (Contrary to popular belief we do not pronounce it Misery, unless we are really tired of living here.)

We moved a lot because my dad continually pursued a better life for my family, so the first four states I lived in all before the age of six or seven. I don’t remember much about the houses, apartments, people or moves that took place each time my dad found another job.

That all changed when we moved to Orlando, Florida, which quite frankly is every kid’s dream. Disney World year round? Yes, please. A pool in the backyard? Heck, yes. Not to mention that my dance studio was just down the street from me, I could walk to school every day, I hardly ever had to wear sweaters or turtlenecks since the weather is just that awesome and we happened to move into a house that had really friendly neighbors just next door.

One of those neighbors was a girl, just a year older than me with Florida-blond hair, a permanent tan and a super happy personality.

We became fast friends. We walked to school together each day. We would hit up the 7-Eleven a few times a week for slurpees and other candies that our bodies would gladly consume without the slightest hint of body fat. On the weekends we were glued at the hip. Dance class. Swim parties. Sleep-overs.

She became my best friend.

Only once in our entire friendship did we get in a fight, involving water hoses and a screaming match in between our front yards. I’m fuzzy on the details but I believe she yelled at my younger brother and my normally even-keeled temper turned into full-blown Italian/Sicilian temper. We didn’t talk for a few days and we both felt bad. Our moms knew it wasn’t a big deal, we apologized, and moved on.

After two years of our friendship, my family informed me that we were moving again. The destination was unknown (we had our choice of Paris, London or St. Louis) and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, not even my best friend.

The day the for sale sign went up in our front yard, both she and her mom came over crying. Crappy way to find out but they weren’t home when I knew I was allowed to tell them. I remember the day we left our Florida home for good… it was a little clich├ęd like many Disney movies are, with me staring out the rearview window, waving, and crying and telling my parents I hated them.

We stayed in touch for a few years after that with the occasional letter and she even sent me a sand dollar Christmas ornament that had both our names written on it and played a Christmas Song when you touched the back of it.

I still have the Sand Dollar to this day.


About four years ago I searched her name on a whim on MySpace. I found her. She was on there and she hadn’t change a bit. We started emailing every other day, catching up on everything that had happened in the 11 years that had past. One day she asked if I wanted to visit her in Florida and without a moment’s hesitation I said yes.

Super nervous to see her and her family, I arrived in sunny Florida, to the airport that has palm trees in it only to be greeted by the biggest hug ever.

Five days later we had bonded, partied, shared secrets, took over 250 pictures and told our story to nearly everyone and anyone we met out at the bars. Apart from the grown-up bodies, photo ID that says we can drink and a few other changes, we were the exact same and still just as close as ever.

A month later she called and asked me to a bridesmaid in her wedding. (A trip to St. Thomas and a chance to see a childhood friend get married? No way would I turn that down.)

Last year I met up with her and her lovely friends in Vegas for a four-day stint.

And this Memorial Day she’s coming to visit me.

As much as I complain about social media and networking sites at times, I believe they were truly meant to be for reunions and discoveries of the best kind.


kc mom said...

What a great friendship story. I have had similar experiences. Thanks for sharing!!!!

Maria said...

that is an awesome story! i really feel agree, networking sites can feel invasive but they do bring people back together and that is something i wouldn't change!

Lys said...

definitely an inspiring story! I wish i had had a childhood friend like that. i didn't meet any of my good friends til my last year in high school.

you're so lucky nora :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for your kind comments and of course to Mandy for the Lasting Impressions idea. =)

Kylie said...

THAT is an awesome story!

amanda said...

I'm a nerd...and totally teared up while reading this. I'm such a girl. I dig everything about this!

And I'm really jealous of the many places you've lived, Nora. (Perhaps your family is in the witness protection

Anonymous said...

Aw what a great story!