Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Friday, January 21, 2011

Best friends for life

The book Real Live Boyfriends, featured in this blog earlier this week, spends a lot of time considering issues like love, popularity and friendships. The protagonist of this book and the three that preceded it is Ruby Oliver, nicknamed Roo. When author Emily Lockhart stopped by Robin's Roundup on her blog tour, I asked about the derivation of Roo's name, wondering if it came from Winnie the Pooh's little friend. Emily's reply exposed the fact that I had not read the prior books in the series (which was a little embarrassing though I am now sufficiently intrigued and entertained to go back and remedy that situation). She explained that
Kim is Kanga and Roo is Roo -- in the early days of their friendship, back when they were young enough to read Winnie the Pooh.  This was true of me and my best friend in elementary school.  We never had a falling out, though -- I just used the names to show the close connection the girls had, so that when their friendship collapses, readers can retain a sense of what Ruby is losing.
The Kim character referenced above is Roo's former best friend with whom she reunites in Real Live Boyfriends. The Winnie the Pooh reference resonated with me and got me thinking about and appreciating  some of my oldest and closest friends. Then some eerie parallel universe strangeness occurred. You may recall my mentioning in an earlier post that we will soon be celebrating a milestone in the lives of our twin 12-year old daughters. We will celebrate their becoming B'not Mitzvah (the female, plural equivalent of Bat Mitzvah, which is the female quasi-equivalent of the Bar Mitzvah). As I was considering Emily's response, one of my closest friends since I was 12 years old emailed to check in, ask about the B'not Mitzvah celebration, and let me know she and her husband would be coming from Montreal to New York City to celebrate with us. While she always has and always will mean the world to me and we have remained very close, I didn't realize how much having her here would mean to me. It means so much and I'm very excited!

As our children go through different stages: preschool to kindergarten, elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school and the many transitions yet to come, I explain that they will make new friends at each stage, that the bonds of old friendships will sometimes strengthen and that they will find that, though they don't always see it coming, some friendships will end along the way. I hope they are fortunate enough to maintain just a few of those lifelong friendships - those people who know things about you you've long forgotten and who can revive a latent memory with a single word or gesture.You make new friends at every stage but you don't get to go back and make old friends. I am exceedingly grateful to have the old, newer and new friends that I have. My wish for my children is that they will have the same good fortune.

With so many books about friends it's not difficult to find a book to recommend that works with this post. I am tempted to focus on new books yet I've discussed old friends and, to me, that means I've got to stick with my all-time, tried and true faves. Nothing speaks of friendship to me like Winnie-the-Pooh and Charlotte's Web - like old friends themselves - cherished and true!

Just a note before I close about a little scheduling change for this blog. Since the inception of the blog, I have posted nearly every day. Going forward, I will not be posting over the weekend. I will not post Friday and Saturday nights but will be back at my computer every Sunday night to provide you with a thought or two when you check back in on Monday morning. With that - have a great weekend!

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