I recently volunteered at a local non-profit where the average annual income of the families is at or below the poverty level. I feel right at home.
In fact, when I was a child, very few people seemed to notice the poor kids at church or school. We just all blended together in one way or another We were just ordinary kids with ordinary thigns. I just had less of what was ordinary.
I worked in the food serving line at school to earn the free lunch. It was easier than going without.
A local church paid for my rental of a school instrument so that I could play in the school band. I can’t recall why I picked out the accordion, but I think it was because there was a wonderful glass button that glittered like a diamond. Every time my finger glided over that button, I felt special.
I used the school library every week as there weren’t any public libraries near our home. My mother used to buy old Readers Digest books at .25 a piece, cutting out the blank pages to make a writing journal for me. I wrote poems. I diaried. I wrote stories and jotted down funny incidents to use in our local school newspaper. I wrote notes to my girl friends. I wrote and wrote and wrote.
I thought I was surely going to die an early death of low dignity, but today; I relish in the hard times because I came of out poverty to pearls and a few other glittering stones.
Money didn’t buy me out of the neighborhood, words did. I learned how to enunciate beautifully, spell impeccably and draw others into conversation through the magic of my words. Yes, I was and still am a girl Einstein of words. Words are my best friends.
I string words together more delicately than when my sister spelled out my name in an alphabet bracelet… all glittery with small blue and silver stones.
I am a new blogger, but I am not new to the magic of words. I have written and published two books. A third is in the wings and will be ready for publication soon. Soon doesn’t really seem to do the book justice. After all, the journey took almost five years. While I was good at writing the words, I needed to watch my story form so that I others could embrace my message. Writing the book was a journey of discovery.
Soon, I will share my book with you and of course, I hope you will be as drawn to the story as I am. But that’s enough for now. Let’s just focus on getting to know one another as writers, mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, wives and friends. That will be amazing enough.
Over two years ago I lost one of my best friends to cancer. I had already lost both my parents and a husband to cancer so I should have been in the groove with the disease, but the loss of my friend had little to do with the big C, it was much more. It was a loss of her and a little of me at the same time.
My friendship with this amazing woman came at the middle of my adult years. I had already experienced many other friendships before her but they were less deep, satisfying or real.
Getting to know and appreciate her was like a new beginning – like the first string of yarn you double to stitch a sweater, so much like the first bite of a green apple when you only favored red apples your whole life.
I pondered why this overwhelming feeling of loss came about and my only moderately good answer was because she truly was a best friend, not a pretend friend who only showed up when times were good, not just a friend when it was convenient, not just there for me when my life was glamorous (It was a very short period of time, but yes I was glamorous!), but rather a woman with real feelings; compassion, honesty, genuineness and grace.
Since that time, I have cherished family more, tolerated complacency in others a little easier, enjoyed ice cream in many different flavors and realized that my own life is as short as a chapter in a slender bound novel.
When I was a child, friendships just didn’t matter like they do now. They were like playdoh: I could always make a new imaginary friend. I had heartache from lost friendships, fractured friendships and incomplete friendships, but I never truly felt a deep and long loss.
To make her life matter more and to take this lesson to heart: I am enjoying a newly emerging friendship with three local women. We are opposites; yet so much alike. When we laugh, there is one hearty roar, a soft giggle, a hiccup like sound and mouth wide-open belly roaring laugh. We span two generations and three cultures. Some of us are light haired, others boast rich auburn hair. Make up is a friend to three, and unknown to the fourth.
Yet our life stories play out like a perfect musical score. We are just women. We have had babies, marriages, divorces, death, different jobs, bad luck, good luck and no luck. We are just women. Women friends.
My objective is to be the best friend possible to them. Someday when I die, they will feel loss; but it won’t tear them down – it will carry them on. They will remember me as in the middle of the beginning of their own lives. What a perfect ending to my own life story.
Gezil (Kristin) Andrews is new to blogging, but not new to writing. She first wrote a poem for her mother at age 12 and is still working hard to get the dangling participles, pronouns and adjectives in all the right places. Welcome.