A little help from my friends
April in Glenwood
From the moment I entered the world covered in vernix, I began to forge relationships. If memory serves me right, my mother was my very first friend.
She always thought I was cute, no matter how I looked.
Then I recall befriending my sweet grandmother Betty. She was everything I wanted to be when I grew up. Followed by Captain Kangaroo.
Mr. Green Jeans was a close fourth.
Throughout our lives, friendships can form at any time. Sometimes they are happenstance. Say, during childhood when two little 6-year-old girls’ parents buy houses next to each other. Or they can be planned out by moms who need play dates for their kids like they need a foot soak and shoulder massage.
I imagine that would be all the time.
Around kindergarten age, I had a best friend named Dawn. We were next-door neighbors. In class, she and I would constantly be separated or scolded for talking.
Like nonstop talking.
We were bicycle riders, mud pie makers, and church campers. She was tall. I was short. We were like the 1977 girl version of the Odd Couple. We never missed an episode of “The Dukes of Hazzard” on TV sets that didn’t even have remote controls yet. She had it bad for the blonde bombshell Bo Duke.
I was more of a Luke Duke-type.
Ultimately, we went our separate ways. Our parents moved from that little street on the eastside of Indianapolis to what we called “the country.” Translation: A couple of small towns set in cornfields.
I was possibly considered city at one time.
After we waved goodbye to each other from the back windows of our dads’ cars, Dawn and I had some separation anxiety. We were BFFs before BFF was cool. We no longer sat next to each other in class.
Or landed in trouble for talking.
We had to make new friends who could sing the entire “Grease” album, as impossible as it sounded. We had to find girls who still played Barbies after it probably wasn’t cool anymore. We still would hang out when we had the chance, up until about middle school. Then Dawn and her family moved to Oklahoma, where I once visited and saw my first-ever oil rig. I remember wanting to be a lawyer back then.
Comic came in a close second.
Dawn and I have reunited on Facebook, and I’m often blown away that more than 30 years have passed since we first met as little girls talking too much in kindergarten. I have memories of us both kicking the black metal Talk to the Tucker sign in my front yard because we both hated that I was moving away to the country.
As young as we were, we definitely knew friendship.
Whether as kids or adults, building healthy and longtime relationships are keys to our well-being. Wikipedia reports that a World Happiness Database study found people with close friendships are happier.
I can understand that.
I don’t know how many times a belly-shaking laugh, a twirl on the dance floor or a quick bite to eat with a friend has made me feel better when I needed it most.
If they are true and sincere, friends can be there throughout our lives, in various capacities, sometimes when we least expect them to be.
Or when we most need them.
When we lose our loved ones, especially when it’s least expected, a friend may the only one who truly understands the pain and heartbreak of it all. When life seems unbearable or hard to make sense of, friends can pull together in ways that seem right out of the ending to a movie, saving the day and looking good while doing it.
We all need friends like that.
— April E. Clark would like to thank all the friends who have been there for her in the last week. Your love and support is immeasurable. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
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