Friendship in Unlikely Places

This week I have been reflecting on some moments in my childhood. I have always loved people. But especially older people. No matter where we moved when I was little, each neighborhood brought the gift of new friendships. People who I loved deeply as though they were an extra set of grandparents.

Ray and Helga were the sweetest elderly couple who lived across the street when I was in 3rd to 5th grade. Helga made the most incredible cookies. My favorite were giant sugar cookies with a maraschino Cherry in the center and her snickerdoodles set the bar impossibly high. Ray worked in his garden. They most were in their 70s when we met and my parents knew if we weren’t home we were most likely at the home of our adopted grandparents. Listening to stories and filling up with cookies and hot tea. When we moved we would write letters and come visit for years to come.

When I was in 6th grade we got lucky again with amazing neighbors. This time a couple in their sixties Muriel and Norm. Muriel had a ceramics studio in the garage and we would use all of our allowance on ceramic painting. Once again sitting and listening to stories and learning the art of delicately painting the tiny sculptures do that we could give them as gifts.

Mickey and Dave lived around the corner, she was a mom of two little boys who always wanted a daughter. She loved to crochet. I loved to learn new skills. I helped her by playing with the boys and she taught me how to crochet.

Mrs. Peterson, my second grade teacher lived about a mile away. She had been my favorite teacher. Every time we went in walks and passed her house we begged to stop and see her just to visit.

My grandma Charlotte, her best friend Fran, my aunts, my mom, Bob and Helen, Renia,the sweet ladies in the office of my high school, the list goes on and on and on with more wonderful people than I can even mention.

They set the stage for my friendship with Mrs Cynthia (yes even though I’m an adult she’s is still Mrs. Cynthia to me) who to this day is one of my favorite people to talk to. Full of sage advice, encouragement and honesty she inspires me every time we speak.

The list of people older and wiser than I that was a part of my life is long, They each made such an impact on me. They all taught me that everyone has a story. They showed me that a 9 year old and an 80 year old can be great friends. They helped me appreciate people at every age and stage and prepared me for my adult friendships. I am forever thankful to these beautiful souls and hope as I get older I can impact the kids who come into my life as much as these adults did for me.

This holiday season. Stop again, find someone in your neighborhood who might need a friend and learn their story. You might just find friendship in an unlikely place.


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