Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I came to know my best friend Linda through our involvement in Job's Daughters. That group is a social service group of girls who have at least one male relative who belongs to a Masonic Organization. Linda's older sister had been the Honored Queen of our local chapter. We joined about the same time. I was one year ahead of her in school. Over time, we became fast friends. We came from very different backgrounds. Linda's family was solidly middle class. Her mom was a stay at home mom and her dad was a supervisor at our town's factory. Linda was the youngest child with older brother and sister. They were a good Christian family. My family was chaos. My parents had divorced when I was two. It was my dad's second marriage. My dad then married a divorcee with two daughters. My mom married my first step-dad who was a supervisor at Caterpillar. My mom worked as a waitress in a supper club. She made more money in tips than he did at Caterpillar. They fought constantly. They divorced and then remarried. I thought I'd go crazy. What do you think of a seven year old who plots ways to kill her step-dad? I went to live with my maternal grandparents till he and my mom finally divorced the second time. Then, I just stayed with my grandparents while my mom lived like a single woman. Finally, when I was eleven, she married my second step-father and moved me away from the grandparents to Canton where I met Linda. My second step-dad ran a tavern. I think he fooled my mom into believing that he owned it and had some money. Anyhow, they ended up borrowing money from my grandparents to keep the tavern open and finally were able to buy it. The first five years they were married were very rocky. My mom would leave him and take me back to the grandparents. Then, they would make up and back we'd go. So, you can see that Linda and I had very different childhoods. Linda always had hand-me-down clothes and I always had the latest fashions. In high school, Linda worked at a local clothing store and used her own money to buy herself nice things. I shopped there. Linda was talented in music and was a drum major for our high school band. She also played the piano beautifully. She won the talent competition in our local Fall Festival her Senior year. I went to the local community college while Linda was a Senior and then we both went to nearby state college. At first, I had a single room and Linda lived in same complex, but, she had a roommate. We still hung out. The next year, we decided to room together. Just before that term started, I'd met a boy through another friend. Our romance only lasted part of the summer. When school started, we went our separate ways. That Christmas break, he called me. I told him I was seeing someone else. He asked if I knew of anyone he might call and ask out. I thought of Linda. She agreed for me to give him her phone number. Well, they went out and then they got married the next summer. I was her bridesmaid. Later, that fall, I met the man I married and Linda returned the favor by being my bridesmaid. We've known each other now since 1961. That's 52 years. We been there for each other all those years. Sadly, I was the one who had to break the news to her that her husband had another woman. It broke my heart to do it. But, she was so distraught trying to figure out why he wanted a divorce, wracking her brain to see if she could determine what she had done or failed to do that would make him want to leave her after 40 years of marriage. When I learned from many sources that he was seeing someone I worked with, I knew I had to tell her. I just put myself in her shoes and asked myself what I'd want her to do if it were me. Now, it's been three years and she is healing. She has a boyfriend. And her ex is getting married. Our children are growing up and we are growing older together. I am so glad that Linda's been in my life all these years.