Monday, July 11, 2016

Sweet Vickie

This past weekend marked five years since a most-precious reunion.  In July 2011, Vickie of the Red Hair and Sweet Smile traveled from New York to attend my younger brother's wedding, and her visit marked the first time we had seen each other since I was a baby. 
I'd heard about sweet Vickie all my life because she is Mom's best friend from high school, and she and Aunt Laurie have long been dear friends, as well.  Vickie's husband Mark was best friends with my uncle Warren, Aunt Laurie's husband, and my aunt and uncle would eventually name their son after him.  These are bonds that began in the 1960s for them all, and I grew up hearing stories of their friendships.  Mom and Vickie used to ice skate behind Vickie's parents' house, and "Ohhhh, of course, Vickie had this gorgeous ice skating outfit," Mom would remember, laughing.  "She was just darling, a little snow bunny!  And there I was, probably in one of my dad's old sweatshirts. . . !"  Mom always loved Vickie's name too.  "Victoria!  Victoria!!  And I was just 'Chris.'  She always seemed so glamorous!"    I would look through Mom's old pictures and yearbooks and think they were all glamorous, these classic beauties with their sweet smiles and 1960s hairdos. 
"If we can't at least live near each other, we'll keep in touch by writing," Vickie had signed Mom's high school yearbook, knowing my parents were soon getting married.  And it was a promise they kept.  Mom and Vickie have been exchanging letters and cards since 1970.  One winter while I was in college, Mom mentioned to me that Vickie's mom had died, and I asked her for Vickie's address.  My friend Sommer had died the year before, and I had a newly-formed, and already permanent, soft spot for people feeling the particular hell of fresh grief.  I mailed a letter to Vickie, a card back from her soon appeared in my dorm's mailbox, and so began our own correspondence.  Until 2011, though, we all hadn't seen each other since I was a newborn, and Aunt Laurie and Vickie hadn't seen each other since sometime in the 1980s.  Summer 2011, then, what a sweet moment to see, finally, these three high school friends together. 
And I finally got to meet this kind and funny person I'd been keeping in touch with since 1996!  We all spent a wonderful afternoon together the day after the wedding too, visiting some more back at my parents' house.  So much laughter between everyone, and as Vickie, Mom, and Aunt Laurie all noted, it was as if no time had passed.  They just picked up where they'd left off in-person all those years ago♥ 
A few months later, I framed my favorite photo from that weekend's visit and sent it to Vickie with a card.  Could Mom have possibly guessed as she passed her newborn daughter into her best friend's eager arms in 1977 that they, too, would become friends?  But life is sweet, and such things do happen.  And that is the Vickie story, one of promises kept and of love expanded.  
To friendship! 


La Table De Nana said...

How sweet..Val..your mom is so beautiful:) Love her in the middle in her floral frock:)
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree:)
I think you are one of the most thoughtful young women on the net..SPREADING joy everywhere you pass.
Don't ever stop.

Val said...

Thank you, Monique, and yes, Mom's a beauty. ♥

racheld said...

And Love Expanded!! What a wonderful way to phrase that particular feeling and gift.

You DO have a way with words. And what a marvelous weekend for gathering and reminiscing and fun---those make lifetime memories as well, though their time frame comes later, with less time to reflect on such happies.

Hope you're having a wonderful Summer---we have guests---our Best Man and his own lifetime Dearie---a surprise yesterday, thirty years and one day after we all stood on the beautiful new deck amongst my Mother's vast lawn of calladiums and the big old shade trees where I hid to read Austen and Tarzan and Nancy Drew, high out of sight and call of Mother and all those peas to shell.

Everyone should be waking and gathering soon, so I'd better get the table set, and heed the call of this immense Decker Melon, chilled and sweet, that's calling me to get it sliced and set out. I hope you get to taste one someday---they're the Goblin Market of fruit.

Lifetimes and letters and friends old and new,


Val said...

Thank you, Rachel. Enjoy your guests. This summer's flying.