Part of today I’ve spent putting away Christmas decorations, and I came upon this photo that my friend Robin sent in her Christmas card. These are my high school girlfriends—the ones I still get together with when I go back to my hometown each year. 2006 was the year we all turned 40. From left to right are Karen, Debbie, Robin, Michelle, and Lisa.
I didn’t know Karen very well. She appeared on the scene the year I lived in Germany (junior year), and I never got a chance to know her very well. Debbie, I met in seventh grade. She was the only farm girl I knew. She was quiet and reserved and very sweet. We were best of friends in middle school and then drifted apart during our junior and senior years.
Robin was my best friend. She was smart and funny and was a gifted writer. We were the brains of the group, surviving (and usually enjoying) the AP classes together and trying hard not to let our braininess get in the way of having a bustling social life.
Michelle and Lisa, on the other hand, were struggling to keep their heads above water. Michelle was by far the most gorgeous girl in our class. I met Michelle in seventh grade. I remember sitting next to her in choir, singing Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out” and “She’s Always a Woman to Me.” (Did we have a hip choir director or what?) I received my first “C” that year because Michelle and I laughed too much in choir. When I think of Michelle, I think of her beautiful smile and her contagious and very loud laugh. She was also a great athlete. And she and her boyfriend had some killer fights every day in the cafeteria.
And last is Lisa, who I have known since I was three years old. Our brothers met and became best friends in kindergarten, and naturally we became playmates and friends as well. I’ve been through so much with Lisa that I can’t even begin to tell. In the last three years of high school, when I began dating a lot, Lisa and I had an on-again/off-again friendship (i.e., she was sometimes really mean and nasty to me), but there is just something about a friend who has known you literally all of your waking life that is irreplaceable.
Missing from this group is Ros, who left for college and never came back. She’s the one I miss most of all. So Happy 40th Birthday, Ros, wherever you are.