Thursday, August 14, 2008

Renewing old friendships

I'm just back from several days in Ohio with two old college friends and their family and it's reminded me, yet again, of how important it is to keep these old friendships alive and well.

Way back at Ohio State, George and I worked for the Lantern, the student newspaper there. Later, when he and Carol were first married, we lived in the same apartment complex, where they had their first child, Kim. Kristi was born during a couple of years later, when we all lived in another complex. Kim and Kristi were as much a part of my life as if they'd been my own kids. I can tell many embarrassing tales about both of them, much to their regret, I'm sure.

Then George and Carol moved on to Cleveland and eventually I settled in Florida. They had two more children, another daughter, Keri, and a son, Kevin. Over the years, I've continued to see all of them off and on. I've taken the girls on trips --Kim and Kristi to San Francisco for their respective graduations from college and high school, all three of them to New York for one memorable Christmas outing just a few years ago. But in recent years, I've rarely seen all of them at the same time.

This trip, for the baptism of Kristi's daughter Morgan (after three boys!), fulfilled all of my fantasies about the joys of a large and rambunctious family. You see, I have only-child syndrome. Or maybe it comes from watching too many episodes of Little House on the Prairie. I idealize the whole concept of huge family gatherings. This past weekend, not only were there 40 or so of us at Kristi's house
-- her family and her husband's -- but many of us were back together at George and Carol's on Sunday. In addition there were excursions by boat on Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River, a trip to Chagrin Falls and a memorable evening at a minor league baseball game during which Carol and I ducked a foul ball, only to watch as it slammed into a man standing -- and then not standing -- behind us.

George and I caught up on news of old friends from journalism school. We ate too much, slept not enough. It was great.

So, whatever you're doing, no matter how busy your lives, I recommend you find the time to spend with old friends. It's rejuvenating. And it reminds me of how rich my life is for having friendships that have lasted this long, friendships that run this deep. I hope you have the same.


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