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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Even with all that distance between us, we have remained the closest of friends

Back in 1982, my family moved from Chicago to Tennessee and I was having a difficult time adjusting to my new 3rd grade class. One morning as I was getting on the school bus, which should have been a simple act but instead brought me great anxiety, I saw a girl holding something that caught my eye and before I knew what was happening, I stopped on my way down the aisle to say something.

Me: "That's the coolest parrot puppet I've EVER seen!" (Because, you know, I had seen lots of parrot puppets by then.)

Girl: "Thanks, I brought it for show & tell! You wanna sit here?"

That was the last day I ever felt anxious about getting on the bus.

1984; Three years into our friendship, in 6th grade, we finally get into the same homeroom... and it was glorious.

Today is her 35th birthday, one quarter of a century after we met; and we owe the longest-lasting and best friendship ever known to a parrot puppet. A puppet that had been safely tucked away for years when she surprised me by sending it for my 25th birthday gift, and the very same puppet that I gifted back at her baby shower in 2004, with the hopes that one day her baby-to-be would decide to take it to school and along the way make a lifelong friend.

1986; By 8th grade we were cool enough to score the highly coveted back seat on the bus. I think her "Members Only" jacket had something to do with that, though.

For part of her birthday gift this year, I've spent days (literally, days!) going through old photos and even my old negatives so that I could create an online album that spanned the years and covered some of our travels. I should have started this project sooner, really; but in the end I think what I put together is a decent enough representation.

1999, her wedding day. As tradition dictates, we needed a self-portrait to mark the occasion.

We've traveled all over the globe together and it's truly remarkable how many of our photos are self-timer or self-portrait shots. Also just as remarkable: how bad our hair was. I could write a bunch of stories about things we've done or places we've been but I think the photos speak for themselves. Looking at how I captioned some of them, I think there's something everybody will enjoy:

*The first and last time your mom let us decorate for a party
*Chippendale: Not just a type of antique furniture
*Because we put the "tramp" in trampoline
*Horn E. Coyote
*We're no Corey Hart
*Not the first or last time you'd lick a drummer in a darkened van
*Hold the sugar and just pour some pants on us. No, really.
*It's amazing we didn't turn into Skid Hos
*God save the Queen, and this dance
*Check Out This Mothertrucker, Parts 1 & 2
*That settles it, I'm NEVER leaving Venice.
*Caught making out with a stranger again, but in my defense, he totally started it
*The puppet responsible (for the friendship, not the pregnancy)
*If this isn't an advertisement for reproduction, I don't know what is.

We haven't actually lived in the same state since we were in 9th grade, but have always made it a point to call and write regularly; and get together at least once a year. We either visit each other's city or meet up someplace else, but no matter where we are in the world, it's always like being home again.

Happy 35th birthday, St-End; with love from your Be-Fri.
Here's your online album for all to enjoy: BFFs since 1982! (click here)

By the way, I totally recommend going through old photos, just apologize to your neighbors in advance. You will be laughing very loudly if your photos look anything like ours.


Melisa said...

Happy birthday Cha! Thanks for being such a great friend to my sista!

Those photos were awesome: great work, Julie! Only one thing though: I'm disappointed. None of Cha's feet made it into the album...

The ones with the underwear are priceless! :)

Melisa said...

Almost of my faves was the one in front of the Re Bi Ba.

Cha said...

BTW, I remember at my baby shower when you gave me the puppet AND a copy of our contract (how and when we'd write and stay in touch) and I read it out loud. There wasn't a dry eye in the place, including ours. I love you!

Kat said...

Happy Birthday to your friend. Your idea with the photos is awesome.

stacey said...

Happy Birthday Cha!! I don't even know where to start with all of the hair, bright pink lipstick, electric blue eyeliner, firemen, food, underwear, really bad clothes, and your always impeccably layered bangs. It's just vintage you guys. Hope you had a great birthday!

Melissa said...

Happy Birthday! What a great tribute to a great friend. Can I tell you guys how jealous I am of all the traveling you have done. I would give my eye teeth to go to Italy!!

Great job, Jules!!

Jules said...

@MelisaMySista: I specifically did not put any of her infamous foot pix in because I am not sure the world at large is ready for that. REBIGBA forever!

@Cha: I remember your mom yelling out, "HEY! I remember that puppet!" when you pulled it out of the bag. So funny. With all our contracts as kids you should have been a lawyer. We've stuck to all of them! Love you back!

@Kat: Thanks!

@Stacey: I KNEW you'd love all that electric blue eyeliner; and I think you summed it up perfectly. It really is "vintage us"! I cracked up at your comment on her impeccably layered bangs. So true.

@Melissa: Trust me when I tell you that your eye teeth in exchange for a trip to Italy would be TOTALLY worth it. That entire country just felt like home to me.

Melek said...

what a great post. makes me want to go out and find all my lost childhood friends.

Angela WD said...

Oh, those Members Only jackets. Wish I still had mine - and some addresses of old friends. What a beautiful post - no wonder you're still friends.

Jules said...

Angela wd: Lucky! I never had one at all!

Melek: You'd be surprised how easy it is to find people with this crazy thing called the internet. Eventually everyone googles themselves, right? Well, all you have to do is put their first & last name on your blog with how they can reach you. I highly recommend it because I did that (though it wasn't specifically to get back in touch with certain people, it was in a post on another subject) and within two months I heard from both people I mentioned... and after more than 20 years apart it's so much fun to reconnect... Read THIS POST (that has gotten more hits on my blog than any of the others!) for more on the subject!

Andie said...

so so sweet! I have 3 friends that I have similar relationships with... we all live in different states, but when we're together, it's like no time has passed!