Without hesitation I would say that my friendships are the most important aspect of my life.
I grew up with a group of girls (The Great Girls Gang). Our friendship began for some of us, in kindergarten. We were carpooled to Temple Shalom. The others from the Gang we met in Grade 1. We remained friends from then on. There was a core group of us - we would meet at school, and play in each others' homes after school and on weekends. We formed the Great Girls Gang and we met in the shed in Sandy's garden. We painted the shed and made curtains, and gave each other exotic names like Njanga. We took minutes of our meetings. What exactly we met about I forget now. We remained together throughout our school years. When we began having boyfriends we always had a cardinal rule - never to go out with another's boyfriend after a break up. Our friendship was always paramount, and so we remained friends ... forever.
After Matric we went our separate ways, to University, traveling. We married, had children, went to live in far away countries, but always kept in touch. The moment I heard my husband was killed my friends were there for me, they reached over continents sending telegrams, and phoning. They were always my backbone, my support. We meet over the years, and as soon as we are together the years we have been apart slip away and immediately we carry on just like we did all our lives.
And of course over the years and the countries, new friendships and bonds were formed, but the old ties are forever there. We meet ... in South Africa, in London, in Israel, and now ... on Skype.
Why this entry? Because this weekend I am going to meet one of these friends, and her husband and son, in New Orleans. And I am so excited. She is a professor of English literature at Wits University in Johannesburg and will be presenting at a conference in New Orleans. Her husband survived a horrendous accident in South Africa last year, and he will accompany her. Their son lives in LA and he will be meeting us all. The last time I saw them was five years ago, in South Africa.
So ---- here is to friends, and to reunions, to love that abides and sustains.