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Love/hate: Keeping in Touch
March 28th, 2003 by suzy in Uncategorized

Love/hate for Friday, March 28, 2003:
Keeping in Touch

I have noticed that I have stopped apologizing when we don’t do a love/hate, for example, last Friday. Am I getting as rude as the rest of the world? Perish the thought. Usually it just means that life has gotten even weirder than it normally is around here, not that I am willfully holding back on you. I trust that I am forgiven, both in the past and in the future (how’s that for a great deal? Blanket forgiveness)!

Even for me, it’s unusual to start with a digression.

OK, back to our more or less regularly scheduled program.

One of the many things I inherited from my father, along with a talent for cooking, a love of art and beauty, and a really short fuse, is the ability to stay in touch with family and friends. I will never match up to his standard: he remained life-long friends with two men, John and Brian, with whom he literally grew up. Their parents lived in the same street and the three boys all knew each other since they were, as my father put it, “in their prams”. Both attended his thanksgiving service, where John presented me with this photo of himself (on the left) and my father at the age of 10 in 1941, holding guns they had salvaged from downed planes, and which John assured me weren’t loaded!

While I don’t have any friends whom I have known since I was a baby, I do have four friends from high school with whom I am still close. Given my age and antiquity, this means that we have been friends for more than 20 years, or more than half my life: Alice, the former model turned math PhD who lives in Amsterdam; Mary-Lou, author and journalist and my bridesmaid, who lives in Toronto; Peter, my long, long ago ex-boyfriend who also lives in Toronto; and Richard, who lives in San Francisco and approaches my Dad’s standard by having been friends with Peter since they were 5 years old (their birthdays being one day apart).

I guess you could say that I was brought up to feel that friends were important. My father used to say that it’s easy for people to slip out of your life, so you have to make the effort. Call, email (he had email before I did), send birthday and Christmas cards, whatever it takes to keep in touch. Make time to see them. Notifying his literally hundreds of friends all over the world of his death was a huge task, and letters, cards, emails, etc. kept coming in for more than 6 months after his death.

I have “inherited” several of Dad’s friends and added them to my Christmas card list so they know what’s happening with Dad’s children, and it makes me feel like I’m keeping up the tradition. When I’m in Ottawa in June, one of Dad’s friends is giving a reception in Dad’s honor so his many friends who live there – including some who got on the next plane in order to attend his service – can all get together with me at once.

Not surprisingly, I’m the one who buys all the cards and presents for John’s family as well as my own, and remembers the birthdays and anniversaries, too. One of my few actually useful talents. Now, if I was only better at wrapping those presents!

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One Response

I have 4 friends that I went to grade school with. I won’t tell you how many years that is!
We generally get together once or twice a year when we go to Ottawa.
I have to admit that it is the husband that has the memory for dates, but I’m the one in charge of getting the cards/presents/wrapping/mailing done.

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