What a lot of happiness my friendships have given me! I would like to tell you about two longtime friends who continue to be a major part of my life. When I was ten years old and had only been living in the suburbs less than a year, a young girl came up our driveway with a kitty she was offering to give us. Mary lived across the street and was eager to make my acquaintance so she chose a school holiday to come over to look me up – October 12, Columbus Day. We consider it our anniversary. Mary and I quickly became fast friends, spending great quantities of time at each other’s homes. We laughed endlessly, sang our hearts out, played innumerable games of badminton, and attended weekly movies. I can’t say what the magic was to our friendship; it was just there. Over time, my sister joined us, and we became very much a threesome. Mary was smart, hardworking, kind, and just a lot of fun. My sister fit right in with our common love of music and constant readiness to go for long walks or enjoy a good movie. I see Mary at least once a year when I visit friends and family in Maryland. Mary, thanks for being such a special person in my life.
The other dear friend I would like to tell you about was my first year roommate in the Peace Corps. Marcia was in her second year of service and so she was both an experienced teacher and knowledgeable about the town. What wonderful memories I have of the time I shared with Marcia! Our first encounter was in the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown. We made plans to ride up with the two Peace Corps guys to our assigned school in Kenema. It was an unforgettable trip as the guys took turns driving full tilt down the center of the dirt roads. We managed to arrive in one piece but I stepped out of the Jeep badly shaken and not quite believing we’d made it safely. Marcia was unfazed, introducing me to my new home with warm hospitality. Our days settled into a comfortable pattern, teaching every day, then having dinner together, followed by delightful conversations in which Marcia regaled me with great stories about her many fellow volunteers. We were invited next door to our Canadian neighbors’ for pink ladies, a popular, tasty cocktail of that time, on a regular basis. At our house the welcome mat was always out, and we enjoyed frequent dinners with friends, played lots of bridge, and often attended the local cinema. Through the years we have stayed in regular contact and have visited numerous times. She remains a treasured friend.