Monday, September 16, 2013

Seems Like Old Times

This weekend I met up with Stephanie, a childhood friend from our hometown of Whakatane in New Zealand. We started playing together when we were four years old, but I hadn't seen her since a brief sighting on the street when we were 20. This photo was taken in 1972, at the tenth birthday party of our mutual friend, Helena. It was of course one of those "slice of cake and fizzy drink in the backyard and you were good as gold" birthdays.

Helena's 10th birthday, Whakatane, NZ, 1972: Me top right with Helena, birthday girl, at my left with Christine and Yvonna. Next Row from left: Nicola, Zofia (Helena's sister) and my sister Sharon. Bottom row from left: Stephanie, Clare, Susan. Photo courtesy of Helena Wisniewska Brow

41 years later: Me and Steph (both at the back) at the Waterbar in San Francisco

Those were the years when our lawns seemed so huge that not even a gathering of all the neighbourhood kids could fill them, when everything was pee-in-your pants funny and we drove our mothers crazy with our giggling. Those were the years when the summers were brighter and longer and the dirty old town pool was a wonderland of concrete and water and Fru-Ju ice-blocks in the afternoon.

On Saturday night I was a bit worried Steph and I would have nothing to talk about, but we laughed for hours, and as the sun went down and the wines went down, our wrinkles faded completely away and our skinny little legs ran across Helena's backyard and there we were: those same little girls squinting into the sun for the birthday photo.

Have you had one of those evenings lately?


40 comments:

  1. This post (and pictures) is so very sweet...it made me smile just to read it.

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  2. this is why I love seeing old friends, it's so easy to pick up,where you left off.

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  3. Happy memories for you, and some new ones now too!

    I haven't seen that sort of old friend for ages now, but last time I did, we just carried on from where we'd left off.

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  4. This is so precious, love when we can meet with old friends and it seems like no years have passed. You both look precious as children :)) x

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  5. Beautiful post! I get to do this fairly regularly as I still live in the province I was born in, but not nearly as much as I would like. I think that those relationships are so intense and true that they are always out there, ready to start again at a moment's notice. When my dad died last fall, a lady came whom I had never met before. She used to play with my mother when they were 4 years old. She cried about how cute and friendly my mother was and so she felt she needed to come to my dad's visitation. Isn't that lovely?

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  6. You whakatane girls still cute all these years later. Grrr to you!!!

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    1. Grrr Lou-Star! (From a fellow Growler and that's a story for another day...)

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  7. i couldn't love this post more...you nailed nostalgia...

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    1. Love your "Shut The Fridge" today - what a great series on what people have in their fridge, really revealing

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  8. Whaaaat? There was no colour coordinated dessert table at your childhood parties, and everyone still had a good time??? I hope the fizzy drink at least had a personalised label on it.

    I think even with a long break between seeing someone from your past, you will always just pick up where you left off, and have a great time reminiscing about the fun things you did as kids. I love evenings heavy on the nostalgia like the one you've described. Love that first picture too - epitomises the 70's xx

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  9. I'm glad you and Stephanie had a good time. It's always nice getting together with lifelong friends isn't it? I haven't had one of these rendevous for along time - I think you've inspired me to do so!

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  10. Lovely. I went to a school reunion on Saturday, saw people I haven't seen for 22 years. It was extraordinary how well everyone got on.

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  11. How GORGEOUS!
    No,have not had one of those times lately!But I can relate to your image of summer when we were all that age.I wonder how our kids will remember summer?Not the same is it?

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    1. Until this year when they were actually at home all the time (watching TV) their memories of summer must be inside a carpool...

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  12. Everything does seem that way
    When young at ones bay
    Glad it returned too
    And fun was had between the two

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  13. From Rina in London: "Simply lovely . Can just see those back lawns we had back in nz . When landscaping was just a bit of strategically placed pine . And water features were bird baths ! I also remember setting our gargage on fire with my brother when using a magnifying glass and and an old mattress we found in there ! Had a fab catch up with old pals in australia recently 2 !"

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  14. What a lovely post, and what a blessing to have experienced that evening. You put a smile on my face just thinking about moments like this one.

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  15. The only friends from childhood still in my life are my first cousins and siblings. We get together (in random groups) a few times a year. When we visit the hometown, Thanksgiving, or a BIG birthday celebration.

    The "girls", cousins, married-ins and my Mom (no kids of cousins are included, yet) have spent a weekend together for the past 3 years and have an absolute blast!

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    1. I meant to ask.... what's a Fru-Ju ice block? Like a popsicle? A pool game with ice blocks? :D

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    2. Linda- yes it's a fruit popsicle or iced lolly as they call them in Britain - glad you asked - that was a tricky one

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  16. I LOVE those friendships that don't require a ton of maintenance. I have friends in Canada that I can call after a year, and it is like we spoke yesterday!

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    1. Yes I met two school friends recently who lived beside each other and their children played together and I was worried that they would have so much more in common and that I would feel left out. But after 5 minutes it was like we were back in school and many hours later after much gossip laughter and fun we parted. It was a great tonic.

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  17. I just love that you were able to reconnect with Steph! I always feel nervous when I haven't seen an old friend in years but it's always the same--time melts away and we go back to acting silly exactly like the last time we were together.

    xo Mary Jo

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  18. Jody- What a lovely post - Whakatane must be a fantastic place - and the coolest name for a place, too!

    Loretta

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  19. I have two friends - Jean and Elsie who I have known since I was two. It's been years since I met them but happily they both met Alastair.
    We talk regularly on the phone and it doesn't matter whatever I have done in a long life to them I am always 'that little bugger Pat.'

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  20. Such a gorgeous photo - I have similar memories of the early 70s, wearing the same outfits you are all wearing, and sporting the same grins! You've taken me back, thanks Jody x

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  21. Cool pictures!

    http://lefragmentmode.blogspot.fr/

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  22. Oh I absolutely have had one of those evenings, this week in fact! I met up with 4 ex work colleagues and that's the most laughing I've done in a long time - so much news to tell each other too. That's a lovely photo, both the old one and the new one.

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  23. What? You kids were all allowed to clamber over a vehicle without falling off and killing yourselves, or at the very least get ill from a mild form of lead poisoning...don't know how you survived. (Tallulah looks just like you).

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  24. Oh that brought back so many memories of childhood! I've recently hooked up with some old friends I haven't seen for ages and have more reunions planned - wonderful stuff!

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  25. How wonderful to meet up again and I can certainly relate to your description of childhood summers which always seemed sunnier and longer! I was at a school reunion last year and it was non stop chatting and laughter.

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  26. Lovely post! It must have been so good to talk and reminisce:) Have a good weekend!
    ~Anne

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  27. There is something about long time girlfriends. Somehow we just end up picking up right where we left off. Love how wine and fading wrinkles take you back to the cute little girls running around in the back yard. Fun post!!
    xx, Heather

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  28. Such a special experience when it happens like this! I love that birthday party photo, all of you barefoot--brings back memories. That was a great childhood. And you were always a beauty!

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