Friends of My Youth

I just spent several days in NYC visiting family and friends. One of the events of the trip was a gathering of some grade school friends at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, one of the favorite places of our youth.

Many of us had lost touch for many years and we reconnected after a reunion of the Sts. Simon and Jude Class of 1971 about 7 or 8 years ago. Since that time, we’ve keep in touch via group e-mail, following what is going on in each other’s lives and offering what support we can to each other during times of difficulty. Episodically we try to gather a group for some square pizza at L&B. When I knew I’d be making this trip to attend the opening of a gallery show of my cousin’s, we arranged this latest gathering.

No matter how long it has been since we’ve seen each other, we gather with love and with joy and we manage to pick up where we left off. As someone observed during the evening, there is something special about being with a group of people who have known you all of your life. There is no artifice or gamesmanship or, as one person observed, no “putting on airs.” There is a sense of, we all know who we are (and were) so there is no reason or temptation to try to impress each other or puff ourselves up in any way. We all know that there is nothing we can say or do that will make any of the others love us any more or any less or think any more or less of us. And we all know we have each other’s backs no matter what. It is refreshing, as well as secure and comfortable. When we end our times together, there are always a lot of hugs and “I love you”s and we part with the knowledge that we carry something of each other with us wherever we go.

I have made many friends since my grade school days at Sts. Simon and Jude and I cherish and have great love for all of them. But today I give thanks in a special way for these friends of my youth.