From Mary K~
One of the chapters in our book is about our mothers and their experience with female friendship. Since my mother died in 2010, I couldn’t ask her questions so I had to rely on my own memories and impressions. I do remember her talking about childhood and high school friends, particularly one named Beverly. I knew her to have a close friend later in life, but for the most part I could not recall her having any female friends during the years I lived at home. Did she ever yearn for one outside of Dad? (because it was obvious he was her best friend) I will never know.
Mary is able to ask her mother those kinds of questions, and for the purpose of the chapter she did just that, recording a conversation with her mother about the friendships she has experienced in her life. As I read parts of that conversation, I was struck by how much our mothers had in common, raising large families and struggling just to put food on the table.
Today Mary shared a guest essay with me that will be included in the book, one written by three generations of women; a woman who saved the letters her daughter-in-law had written as a young mother and gifted them to her granddaughter years later, when she gave birth to her own child. As I read it, something occurred to me. While I can’t ask my mother questions anymore, she can still speak to me. How? Through a box of letters she’d given me years ago, ones she’d written to her mother. My mother was an avid letter-writer. I also have my mother’s “Memory Book.” I’ve spent several hours this afternoon delving back in time.
In one letter, my mother mentions possibly being able to visit her old friend Beverly. Did she ever make it to see her? They must have kept in touch for Mom to know she lived in Cedar Rapids at the time.
Within minutes of reading the friend’s last name, I discovered her obituary online. Beverly outlived her best buddy from 8th Grade, dying last January at the age of 84.
According to her answers to the questions in the Memory Book, my mother enjoyed school, had many friends, and despite some encounters with “mean girls,” she was popular and enjoyed dating and socializing. Beverly is mentioned several times. The love and devotion my mother felt toward my father is also very evident. One page in particular, however, answers the question I would have asked if Mom were still alive: As an adult, did you enjoy a long-standing friendship like mine and Mary’s? Were I answering this question, the page would have been filled. Besides Mary and my sisters, I am blessed to have some wonderful women in my life. My mother underlined the words closest personal life-long friend. Then she wrote a single sentence.
My invisible friend, my Guardian Angel…