Dee

Unlike my mother, whose best friend is someone she has known since kindergarten, I don’t have any friends from childhood.  We moved many times before I was in high school, never in one place long enough to make any relationships last.  I had friends in high school but going away to college in Minnesota and basically never coming back stretched and broke those ties.  

I left college after two years and started my life (as I used to say) in Northfield, so I could be near my boyfriend.  My second job in Northfield was at the brand new Ole Piper Inn and that’s where I met Dee (names changed to protect the innocent).  Although the job only lasted about 10 months before the Inn closed down, it was long enough to cement our friendship.  When Dee moved to the Ole Store, I went with her: she was the manager and short-order cook, I was the baker and occasional waitress. 

Dee is originally from the southern part of the country and hates the cold weather.  Most mornings I would pick her up on the way to the store (I had a car by then) and even with a short ride, she would come out of her house bundled up as if she was expecting to trek across Antarctica.  She always said she was waiting for her youngest two kids (she has five) to graduate so she could flee the frozen tundra.  Of course she is still here 45 years later.

We had a great time at the Ole Store.  The Ole Store was part of a grocery store/butcher shop and sometimes we’d come in to find various chunks of meat in the restaurant fridge that needed to be used up.  Once the owner left moose meat.  We were joking around, trying to figure out what to do with it and I said (without thinking), “what about spaghetti and moose balls?”  Dee laughed so hard that her side hurt and she had to sit down.  Do this day, I can reduce her to a puddle just by saying “moose balls”.

When I married my wasband and moved to Milwaukee, Dee used to be startled into silence whenever he answered the phone, since he had never picked up the phone in my Northfield apartment.  Once he answered the phone, said nothing for a minute and then handed me the phone…. “It’s Dee.”   It was indeed, although she hadn’t identified herself.  He told me later than whenever there was silence, he knew it was her.  When we were first friends, she referred to wasband as the Greg-Person.  Later she shortened that to GP.

For many years Dee and her youngest son worked at the Renaissance Festival every fall and it was always fun to see them.  She did a wonderful costume for Child with lots of petticoats and ribbons.  And or course, she knew everybody so we always got good food at a great discount.  I made the wedding cake for this son when he got married.

Her family has a timeshare in Florida that they visit every summer and Dee’s favorite way to travel is to fill up the van with kids and grandkids and drive straight through.  When YA was younger, she was included a couple of times. 

Dee reminds me a lot of my mother.  She is extraordinarily caring and she “collects” people.  Once you fall into her orbit, her gravity holds you there.  For example, one of her daughters was married for a few years and had a step-daughter.  When the daughter split up with the husband, the step-daughter came to live with Dee.  Now that step-daughter has kids of her own and they all happily refer to Dee as Grandma.  Dee’s life is filled with stories like this.  I am one of her collect-tees and she has always been there for me.

She’s going through a very rough time right now with a diagnosis that will most likely shorten her life so I’ve been thinking about our long friendship and how much I treasure her.

Who is the friend you’ve had the longest?

19 thoughts on “Dee”

  1. My best friend since Grade 1. She is the godmother to our children, she was my Maid of Honor at my wedding, and we plan to live together after retirement.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My one friend left from childhood, Sandee, died a couple of years ago from a rare form of leukemia. Although we hadn’t seen each other in decades, we always exchanged Christmas letters/photos, and were in touch briefly after Joel died. It was her dad who got my dad out to Greeley CO and the Trailer Court for grad school, so we got to experience that rare experience together for one summer. (For the newer baboons: https://trailbaboon.com/2015/07/29/the-trailer-court/ )

    I have one high school friend Janey that I remain in touch with – we call maybe 3x a year to catch up, and visit each other whenever possible – she lives in Santa Fe, so I can reach her by rail…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    At my 50th HS reunion 5 weeks ago, I saw my entire group of friends from High School. One I have known since third grade, one since 6th grade, and the rest since 7th grade. Five of them I also attended two years of college with, as well. One of them has died after having a quadruple bypass, and two episodes of breast cancer. Summer, 2020, COVID nearly took another one. She said she had two days in which she did not care if she died, then she did recover, but she remains shaky.

    I will come back later today and describe them more. I need to get out the door to the dog park, then tend to some friends staying here this week. For now, I appreciate having long friendships. I became aware while with them that that many of us had families who threatened them or their siblings with being disowned—two over the roles of women. What a cruel, cruel thing to do to a family member

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Denise and I were best friends, as well as lockermates, from 8th grade through our junior year. That year her older sister graduated from college decided to get married, but keep her name, and to go seminary to be a minister. Her parents objected to this because it was outside of a woman’s role, and they disowned her. This was devastating to Denise who loved her sister. She went into a tailspin and at the beginning of our senior year I expressed my concern. She was dating much older guys, and changed friends. She moved out of our shared locker without telling me, which I found devestating in turn. By the end of our senior year she was pregnant and got married. She never spoke to me again until 8 years ago when many of us got together. I was so, so glad. I started emailing her after that on her birthday, and a few years ago I told her how much I had missed her, and that I now understood how hard all of that was for her.

      This year we sat down and talked for a long time. She sent me a recipe for my sour cherries soon after the reunion. Her birthday is next week and I will send her my thoughts again. I am so pleased to have regained the friendship.

      She now is a worldwide consultant on sewing traditional Dutch costumes and has travelled to the Netherlands to learn this craft.

      Liked by 6 people

  4. Dennis has been a great friend, tennis competitor, and healthy balanced life (work/play) inspiration to me since 1984. We used to pound each other mercilessly on the tennis court until he moved away. We only get together about once a year (going up to see him near Crookston in a few weeks) but he’s the kind of friend where you feel like you haven’t missed a beat with each other even though it’s been months since we last talked or saw each other.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Daughter’s best friend is flying out to see her today. They have been besties since daughter was in Kindergarten. Friend is like a second daughter to us.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My experience has been that girls going through school usually change their best friend every year or so. My sister, daughter, and many students I was close to did that. Boys built longer term relationships for the most part. Women were first to answer the question, maybe accidental. Sandy’s school friends were from HS, who have now abandoned her.
    My longest friend? Not sure if I had one but I am not very social. Had a good friend for 30 years of teaching. With each other through a lot of ups and downs. Taught across hall from each other for 10 years. Not really friends any more since move. We did connect every year or so but COVID stopped that. We were , maybe are friends as couples.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think that friendship patterns of only children tend to be different, as they have fewer but closer friends. I am an only, and daughter functions as an only since there are 9 years between her and her brother.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve always said that my oldest and best friend is my brother Neil. But my two sisters, Jane and Chris, are different but equal (a year or two less in actual time). Yes I have a wife called Jane and a sister called Jane. And I do sometimes send Jane a message that was meant for Jane. Causes a bit of bother occasionally. It’s rare to get us all together, but we had a meal, with other family members, at Neil’s house last time I went over, two years ago. It was nice, and we put aside various tensions between the other three for an evening. There’s also Angus, firstborn, who’s always been the odd one out. We’d maintain it wasn’t our doing. He’s only interested in talking to Jane, and we let him get on with it. He’s come out, in his seventies, as a cross dresser, and is on Facebook as Angelina now apparently. I’m sorry now, to realise why he tried so hard to be masculine, and like his picture of dad, homophobic in fact. But who was to know?
    As a matter of interest, any or all of us very like suffer from Aspergers. Jane and I realise clearly(now), that Dad did. And that Angelina does. I could well have it, but don’t suffer from it. All of us are different and strange, all in different ways. The Aspergers theory could really account for it.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. In elementary school, my best friends kept moving away.
    I feel like I have several ‘acquaintances’ from HS, FB friends I guess. And one of them that I feel particularly close too.
    Some other friends that were so important for a time, just don’t respond to emails. But their spouse does so we sort of stay in touch.
    My best honest to goodness friend, I’ve known since the late ’80’s. But it probably only been in the 2000’s we started emailing and talking so much.
    And Kelly and I have been married 31 years and known each other since 1986. Does family count as best friends?

    Great story of Dee! Thanks VS!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. While I have friends of a sort whom I’ve known since childhood, they are not close. The one who was close, Mike B, died years ago. Three of my best friends roomed with me in college, starting in 1960. My closest friends today are two people—a man and a woman—that I met in August of 1967.

    Bill has been my best outdoor buddy and personal friend ever since that summer. Bill and I have discussed all the major decisions of our lives: the decision to bring dogs into our lives; the decision to become married; the decision to have children; and others. I used to yearn for the ideal male friend, and then I made the stunning and embarrassing discovery that Bill already was that friend. I was thrilled to realize that my perfect friend was the man who had shared so much with me for many decades.

    The woman I met in 1967 became, a year later, the only woman I’ve married. After 31 years, that marriage ended, although we parted amicably. In the past year I’ve come to realize that the woman who long ago became my wife and the mother of my only child has become my best female friend. I expect a phone call from her today to share the fun she is having touring Venice.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. friend justin was on my 6th grade baseball team then we met up in jr high
    each other’s best men and so the friendship goes. but he’s getting old

    Like

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