Saturday, September 25, 2010

Blogging by Hand Started Long Ago With My Childhood Friend

I think blogging was started by my childhood friend. When she passed away, her daughters were left a shelf full of bulging three-ring binders of her life. She had kept every memory alive by journaling -- ribbons, invitations, pictures, and commentary, were all preserved for them, as they occurred. At leisure, her daughters could watch her become a woman -- and then their mother and their own lives -- through the pages...

We were both eleven when my best friend moved clear across the country. Little did we know that we would be best friends until her death at age 58. We were heartbroken at being separated and promised to write each other every day! And we did write, not every day but weekly, from that moment on. We literally sent the same Christmas card back and forth to each other for more than 20 years, until it became too worn to survive the journeys.
In the first few years, we wrote at least three times a week and then, as we became more involved with... well, boys!... the writing was reduced to just once a week, but the letters were thick and full of girl talk. We shared dreams, thoughts, activities, love interests, family life, disappointments, joys -- as I said, we knew each other and were best friends. It was a safe way to share because we lived so far apart from each other. There was little chance of running into the people in each other's lives, so secrets were safe. As we grew up, we began to truly treasure the other being there for venting or helping to work through problems and important decisions.
We could count on each other because we shared the truth, although we weren't as brutal as today's young people. We didn't sugar-coat but we found supportive ways of helping each other through our problems.  It would never have occurred to either one of us to share that privileged privacy with the world. That would be a true betrayal and not something you would do to a real friend. And hand writing everything down helped clarify problems. Sometimes, the mountains really were only molehills. It's said but I think the Internet has just about done away with young people being able to trust a friend. How sad. Everyone needs someone they can confide in without fear of being exposed to ridicule. We stumble. It happens. A friend gets you through it. The Internet has taken that freedom away from our children, it seems.

Our families met only once during that lifetime and our children couldn't understand that our bond was still so strong -- stronger than anything I have shared with my own sisters. She was a dancer instructor who spent ten years trying to figure out why she was eating so much but not putting on weight. One day, when she asked her doctor if he had ever given her a blood-sugar test, he said no and promptly administered one. She was a Class III Diabetic. Diabetes lead to other problems. She lost her battle to Lupus in '93 and her letters were put away with all the memories.

I can only imagine what my beautiful lifelong friend would have done as a blogger! Upon her death, her daughters inherited their mother's history and journaling. Every special event had its own page with mementos and their story written by her hand. When not attending something special, she would simply share her days and life with her daughters, along with any pictures taken on that day. The beauty of it all is that there were no computer crashes or lost files because it was all done by hand on hard copy.

There were 33 binders filled with this remarkable woman's life. A beautiful legacy from a woman who worked tirelessly for her family, church and community, and never complained -- not once. I know she was in pain but she only saw the beauty in her world. She humbled me. She was happily married and adored her family -- especially, the grandchildren -- and it hurts that she was taken from them -- from me -- so early. I hate that. This was a lady who would be the reigning queen of Bloggerville, Facebook, and Skype. It's hard to believe she never got the chance. Today is simply the anniversary of her passing but I've never stopped thinking of my very special childhood friend.

Do you have one, too?

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