old friends

29732668866_c470dbcae2_oLife is sometimes this windy path that takes you away from people, and then leads you back to them.

From the time we are little children, people are in and out of our lives for any multitude of reasons. Life takes us in different directions, quite literally.  People move, start families in other places, and get busy with the every day of their lives.

All of a sudden, years have past, and you still think of those people, but then you are busy too, so you don’t reconnect even if you think of these people.

And then, just like that, something happens, and you are back in each other’s lives and that is such a neat thing when it happens.

It happened to me today.  A four hour conversation with one of my oldest friends from high school.  Yes, those Shipley connections and friends I have written about before. That school gave me a wonderful foundation and the best relationships in my life, truly. This woman and I were thick as proverbial thieves for years, and then life just took us in diffferent directions, on different paths.

I will tell you how it came to be, this phone call today….

Recently the younger brother of a friend died of leukemia.  I have now lost several people I knew, admired, and cared about to virulent forms of leukemia.  This man was the brother of my friend I spoke with today.  He fought this disease so valiantly and was so positive.

He passed away and the first thing I thought of was my friend, one of his siblings.  So I looked up her address and sent her a note. We had not spoken in a few years, but how could I not? She was the one who introduced me to all her siblings, and well I have these memories of her brother as a little kid because of her.  He was this funny, very bright burning ball of energy with a very funny sense of humor.  And a very messy bedroom. Truthfully, all of her siblings were truly nice and interesting, even as kids.

When he got older he went to boarding school and then off to college, so I did not really know him for many years, and was just getting to know him as an adult with his own family when he got sick. In the intervening years, his one sister who was my friend and I grew apart. And it was for no other reason than time and distance.  She was in another state far enough away starting a family that we just lost touch, and became disconnected.

Yesterday in the mail, was a note for me.  Handwriting I had not seen in so many, many years. It was from my friend.  I opened it, read it, and wept, It was so good to hear from her and she is so sad about her brother.

So today she called.  And it was like high school again. It was such a marathon phone call that in the back of my mind I was waiting for one of our parents to pick up another phone in the respective houses and yell at us to get off the phone and do our homework.

Speaking with her, the years melted away like no time had past even if so many years actually had.  But that in and of itself is the value of real friendship – it is O.K. the time has passed, and now it is time to catch up.

This is my friend who introduced me to Chester County more than any other person had when I was a young adult.  She went to West Chester University and for a few years she lived in Malvern Borough too.   So speaking with her today after all this time, made me so happy, because when I moved out here I started to think about her a lot.  Every time I drive by Raintree in Malvern Borough I remember when she and another friend shared a condo there.  Or when I drive way down King until it almost meets Lancaster Ave and remember the places she was a hostess and waitress while in school.

Back in the day we would go to the restaurant festival in West Chester, the “Gobble Off” that used to be at what was the Bar and Restaurant the night before Thanksgiving with other friends, hanging out at WCU’s the Rat before she graduated, hanging out with people at the Marshalton Triathalon, dancing at Lionshare and Main Lion and more.

We were also roommates at the beach in the summer for a while.  We had a lot of fun together.

And then she moved and the years passed and we lived kind of separate lives, connecting here or there with a random phone call or letter.

When you meet people who are so disappointing, you remember the friends like this. I am a fortunate women to have so many of my old friends still in my life.  Thanks to her brothers we are reconnected.  That makes me happy. I wish her one brother was still with us to know, but somehow I  would like to think he does.

Life is short. Don’t waste it.

Thanks for stopping by.

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that crazy circle of life

  

Life is funny in the way it brings great people back into your life. Some say it is the universe rewarding you, but I think it just fate and dumb luck and a case of you just never know.

So yesterday I found out that a childhood friend and his brothers were making a quick pit stop in Pennsylvania for their little sister’s wedding. Ok first thought is don’t I feel old, I was one of her and her sister’s first babysitters. Yes, I first met her as not much more than a toddler. Then I promptly got all misty eyed.

Then last evening after dinner company had gone home I was cruising through timelines to check out the wedding photos. They were terrific photos and it obviously was such a beautiful day! But then I caught a name I had not heard in over 20 years.

“It couldn’t be”, I thought. But it was. A woman my much younger self had been friends with and known through a roommate long ago. Just one of those people who was so much fun to be around and I always remembered her.   She was one of the first people from Chester County I met as an adult and became friends with as well. We go back so far that we used to meet up at Lion’s Share on 100 when it wasn’t a diner!

Life ended up taking us in different directions, she moved for a few years, and we lost touch. But I always remembered her, and her grandmother used to live not far from where I used to live on the Main Line.

So anyway, this woman I used to know was the Godmother and Aunt of the young man marrying my friend’s baby sister! The world doesn’t get much smaller than that!

Through the blessing in the curse of the social media I was able to contact my old friend, and this morning we sat on the phone for a long time like the 20 somethings we used to be. The years melted away and we played Cliff Notes version of catch-up and it was pretty cool.

As it ends up we have been living not so far away from each other for a few years now.  And we’re going to get together soon and continue the game of catch up as well as getting to know each other in the stage of our lives.

Anyway, it was a cool life comes full circle moment that I thought I would share. 

Have a great Sunday!

fall garden gifts and old friends

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Yes a bowl full of quince.

The quince arrived in a beautiful basket on the arm of a friend from high school. She and her husband recently moved out here to Chester County a few minutes away from us. Her house came with a crazy cool old garden which includes quince trees.

This is a woman who I have enjoyed knowing since I was a teenager. Today it was so nice to see her. She is as an adult as lovely as she was when we were growing up. It’s so nice to see that consistency in people.

The quince will become quince apple butter.

I look forward to seeing more of my friend now that she is in the “neighborhood”.

Life truly has so many amazing yet simple moments.

Thanks for stopping by.

redefining “shabby chic”

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Today my friend Abbi came down from North Jersey and we went antiquing and junking through Chester County. We’ve known each other since we were either 14 or 15, so we always have a good time. Today we had a fun kind of Junk Gypsies kind of day.

We started out at the Smithfield Barn in Downingtown (of course !) where I scored a totally amazing (and old) clear glass hobnail cake plate – I needed a taller one and pretty ones are hard to find. I use the cake plates for many foods not just cakes. Cheeses and cookies look fab on old cake plates too, and when I’m setting a holiday table I like having them in different heights. And I’m doing a buffet for family on Christmas day, so this new cake plate will round out my others perfectly.

Of course I also couldn’t resist just a few more vintage Christmas ornaments. My friend Abbi got some amazing depression glass candlesticks and a couple of other cool things.

Then after other stops and a beautiful drive on back roads, we went to the open farm day at Yellow Springs Farm on Yellow Springs Road in Chester Springs. It was fun catching up with Catherine and Al Renzi and buying some fabulous goat cheeses. Check their website, because they have open farm days in December as well. They are producing their own goat milk yogurt now, and I suggest especially try the cinnamon flavored.

After that we made one last stop at Resellers Consignment on Route 30 in Frazer. I have been looking for a small Persian or Oriental rug to put in the kitchen to accompany a larger old Turkish rug I have. This rug is not fancy, it is warm and welcoming. Is definitely shabby chic, and almost threadbare in places. But I love it just the same.

You see that is just a shabby chic thing I love: old and almost threadbare Turkish, Oriental, and Persian rugs in places like kitchens and bathrooms, or scattered about instead of other kinds of interior door mats.

I’m not talking priceless carpets here, I am talking about shabby chic ones with character left that aren’t so filthy you can’t clean them up. I think they make a kitchen especially feel more warm and homey.

So while I looked from one end of Reseller’s to the other I was amused by some of today’s crowd. There were a few Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch younger power couples.

One Tory Burch ballet flat wearing, Hermès Birkin bag toting gal was the most amusing. She had a look of total disgust on her face wandering through. It was totally amusing because you could tell she had a very limited idea of any of what she was looking at , but if an interior designer or antiques dealer bought half of what she was looking at askance and cleaned it up a little she would have been happy to pay the cost mark-up and tell all her friends about how she found whatever at a “darling little store.”

However I am completely fine with that. She can shop at her “darling little stores” and I’ll go digging for treasure where I find it!

And today I finally found my little Persian rug! It has been on the sales floor at Resellers for over a year which meant it was half off. So for $25 I have a very cool rug. And all it was a little vacuuming!

To clarify, when I talk about redefining shabby chic, I don’t mean all pink cabbage roses and floral patterns on wrinkled cottony canvas. I am talking about cool vintage things that might have a comfortable lived in look.

Now some people love the look of things that only scream new. I do not. I think older and vintage items truly have a comfort to them. Don’t know if I’m articulating the charm properly, but maybe that’s a better word for it: charm.

I like mixing old with new. I like a lot of more vintage pieces when it comes to furniture because as much as anything else, the dimensions and quality are often better. The problem I have with a lot of the sofas and chairs manufactured today is they are just so big they are oversized for a lot of rooms. And as I learned with a family room sofa we bought at The Dump, if you can find good dimensions it doesn’t mean the quality is there.

I saw all sorts of cool pieces at Resellers today, including amazing Edwardian sofa that was still in its original horse hair and not too sprung on the bottom.

Even if I’m not buying, I like looking. It’s fun to always have a few new ideas in the back of your head for “someday”.

There are so many possibilities out there to achieve looks literally like you see in magazines. And you can do these things on a budget. And that’s whether you were looking for a country living look or something a little more mid-century modern or even classic meets funky.

And I’m not trying to put interior designers or antique dealers out of business, but face it , this is still a tough economy out there and if you can get a great deal you appreciate your home even more in my opinion.

Besides, there is the whole thing about decorating your own home and achieving your own look. Sure you can pay someone to do it, but if you really want to make your home your own you have to do at least parts of it yourself.

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call it hello again

DSC_1003It is quiet outside this evening and the air is cool, but has that end of summer richness to it.  As I write, my house sleeps and I am alone with my thoughts. Not unpleasant ones, don’t worry.

The thing about social media that is cool and uncool at the same time is it reconnects you to people you wonder about.  Mind you sometimes the wondering ends up being “What was I thinking?”, but this evening it ends up “Wow, kind of cool”.

Yes one can say I committed a random act of childhood past.

So recently I wrote about junior high age experiences in a post called now we learn our ABCs.  After I wrote that post it got me thinking and wondering where a couple of people had ended up.  One of those people was a girl who I was friends with back then named Aleen.

I used to think of her once in a while in my old neighborhood in Haverford because her mother lived in this crazy house sized “pre-war” (as in pre World War II) apartment on the Lancaster Avenue side of my old neighborhood when her parents split.

I thought of her again today when I saw an article in Main Line Times about a burglary on a road called Centennial Road in Penn Valley. That was her street before her parents divorced.

So today I thought what the heck and plugged her name into Facebook and Google….and there she was….after all these years. 35 to be exact.

I sent her a Facebook friend request and a message.  And like I expected, she was as cool as the girl I remembered.  “What sparked a memory?” she asked. So I told her.

She laughed when she read the post and the description of some of these girls we went to Welsh Valley with. And she shared similar memories.  She mentioned our lunch table. I remembered she was the person who taught me how to drink loose tea – she was making her own blends in 8th grade if I recall correctly.

Life took her to Arizona with her dad the summer before 10th grade.  That I do remember because I remember running into her somewhere before she left.  I also think we tried the pen pal thing too when she first moved.  But then life took over and she became for me the occasional memory of a friend I really enjoyed as a young teen.  As she said to me this evening, those years, that age, is so hard sometimes. And it is.  It is fun, but it is hard. (Which of course if I told my almost 14-year-old stepson he probably wouldn’t believe me.)

I have been fortunate, no blessed in my life to know some really cool people. Aleen was one of them.  And now thanks to a few clicks on a keyboard, I have the opportunity to get to know the adult who once was the girl.

She sent me a link to her blog.  Called Journey to Badwater . She is an unltramarathoner and an oncology nurse…and an artist. That is one of her paintings below. I swiped it from her painting blog. I hope she doesn’t mind.

Yes I know, I am just one of those people. I keep connected to my favorite teachers who have become dear friends as an adult, and I occasionally look up childhood friends when enough signs point me at them.  But I figure, life is short.  Why have regrets?

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