What do you do when after 50 years you have a whole weekend to spend with your best friend from childhood? The natural place for us to start was to get in the car and drive to and through the places where our memories were created.
We were able to map out a circular route that included our childhood churches, family grave sites, our one room schoolhouse, our favorite river. As we rode along together our conversation flowed as fast as the river. Our words flowed over each other like the water on the rocks. Memories were quilted together as we each remembered scraps of stories, working to piece them together and stitch them into place.
“Who was that old couple that had the parrot? We stopped at their house when we were trick or treating.” “Where is the farm of those two brothers?” (The one was big, noisy and played the violin. The other was small, quiet and timid.) “Drive slow here so you can see what has happened to this house.” Sometimes a place that had once been “picture perfect” was now trashed. But other places that once were dilapidated had been renovated to stunning beauty.
Scanning the landscapes of former farms everything looked overgrown and untended. Fields that once were proud of their freshly plowed razor straight furrows were invaded with random brush. Rows of regal pine trees that pointed to the skies once supported strong branches laden with needles hugging the ground. In their place now stood long bare tree trunks with irregular shapes and only a few drooping branches. “They are old now,” my friend explained.
“This road has changed! It is one big curve instead of a left turn. Where is the river? They can change the road but they can’t possibly have moved the river!!”
My friend interrupted my rambling by asking, “What are you feeling?”
“Emotions are crashing in,” I said. “A part of me wonders why I ever left this place. Another part of me is needing to recognize that the place I left is not here anymore.”
Now, as I write this with the benefit of reflection, I am filled with gratitude for the relationship that provides the backing for this quilt. It is strong, easy, mutually encouraging and fun. Fifty years is not long enough to weaken the fabric woven on the loom of childhood friendship.
Do you have a childhood friend with whom you could quilt memories? Share your stories with us we would love to hear them.