There is something very comforting about spending time with friends that we’ve had for a long time. They know much of our history, and we know theirs. And, even though we’ve… um… matured over the years, they still have our younger selves planted firmly in their memory banks. Additionally, a simple “remember when…?” can bring back a flood of shared experiences that often generates a laugh, a grimace, or the retelling of a beloved story.
In the 1980s I worked as a graphic designer for a subsidiary of a large publishing company. This was one of my first “real” jobs and I loved it. Most of the employees (except, of course, management) were woman – very talented and vastly underpaid women. Many of us felt that we were doing something important, whether it was designing a textbook, writing and editing copy, or providing support for the creation and distribution of our products. The culture of the company, and probably our shared youthful naiveté and enthusiasm, helped to create the sense that we were all in it together.
Over thirty years later, several of the friendships we formed back then are ongoing. Some are of the “Facebook” variety, but others are permanent and active. I count a couple of my dearest friends among this group of women – one of them was even the officiant of my wedding.
Seven years ago, several of us decided to put together a reunion of small group of these former work friends. Some of those we invited had maintained contact over the years, and others – lost in the passage of years – had to be found using social media. We weren’t sure how it would turn out, but we were excited to see everyone and reestablish a few connections. That reunion was such a success we decided to make it an annual event.
This past Saturday, we had our latest reunion/lunch/get-together/gab-fest and it was as enjoyable as ever. After catching up on the latest news in each of our lives (travels, family, work – yes, a few still work at least part-time), we spent the rest of the afternoon telling stories, laughing, and sharing information about others we knew way back when. As always, the time together passed way too quickly and, when we parted, we were already looking forward to next year’s event.
I am so grateful to have this marvelous group of women in my life. They are smart, interesting, funny, well-informed, and actively engaged in life. Even though I see several of them only once a year, all of them added richness to my life 30 years ago, and their friendship adds depth to who I am today.
46 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: A Reunion of Friends”
That is great. A few years ago I was able to meet up with our old Police Officer group that worked together and it was so special. All of you look so very happy and I imagine you were!
I hope you get to have many more. I don’t like that women get paid less. At least it that hardship has a good outcome in helping build the bond you all have.
There must be a special bond that develops in certain working situations that transcends time.
I appreciate your comments regarding unequal pay. I think we were young and idealistic and didn’t know that we could/should ask for more. Fortunately, most of us recovered from those early years of being being underpaid and are doing well now. The experience had a value beyond money.
The group I valued most during my younger years was a group of graduate students, with whom I spent 18 months in intensive study. There were eight of us, 5 women and 3 men, and we became very close, meeting regularly for years. After I read your post, I experienced a profound sense of loss that we let that precious association go.
It’s easy to let those relationships fade away as we move through life. Maybe you can reconnect with some of your fellow students through Facebook and plan a reunion – even a virtual one if you’ve all moved away. I imagine that most/all of them would be thrilled to hear from you.
Friends from then and now are so important! You all look like you are having the best time! Congrats on staying together and making the time to reconnect!
Fortunately, Facebook makes it easy. I created a special “group” so we can all communicate with each other.
Thank you for this very inspiring and timely post, Janis. I just returned from a gathering of ‘old friends.’ We all met for the first time over 23 years ago when we worked together at a Middle School. I agree with you that it is amazing how some bonds form, strengthen and continue on to survive distance and other potential hurdles. I love your special ‘Facebook Group’…that’s a great idea!
I love how the passage of time may change our physical selves but it doesn’t diminish the affection we feel for each other. We have all taken very different paths through the years yet our past connection is the glue of our friendship.
Thank you for the warm fuzzy that just reading this gave me! One thing we can never get more of, as the years pass, are People Who Knew Us When…
A treasure, always, to gather with old friends. ❤
I’m lucky that I still live in the city I grew up in and have worked in most of my adult life. So many of my friends are ones that I’ve had since childhood. They really are treasures.
What a special opportunity to stay in touch with female friends. 🙂
This is a really special group of friends. I love the free-wheeling conversations we have – you never know what will come up.
I retired in 2008 along with a lot of other folks where I worked. We get together every year for a reunion. It is always great. They do have a Facebook page but I am not a Facebook user.
I think it is so important to maintain contact with those who have (positively) touched your life. A couple of the women aren’t on FB either… we just communicate with them the old fashion way 🙂
I’m glad that your past is a place of support for you. My experiences are different enough that I actively avoid my past, whether it be work or family. I’m better off keeping my feet firmly planted in the present, with my eyes looking to the future, letting the past stay where it is behind me. I sound quite the contrarian, don’t I? 😉
There are definitely some people and experiences in my past that I just as soon leave there too. You don’t sound like a contrarian at all – just someone who knows how best to live your life.
Thank you. The thing is that if it weren’t for all the stress and negativity back then, I wouldn’t be as positive and happy as I am now. Go figure!
Lots of smiles all around. The informal gatherings of friends is as good as it gets. Nicely done.
I hope we can keep these reunions up for a long time, they mean a lot to all of us.
I wish you well in that mission.
What a great reunion! Seeing each other once a year is still a great and fun fea(s)t. Each time I go to Belgium after a year or more, it is wonderful to catch up with friends, and often, it feels as if I last saw them yesterday.
I love when the passage of time doesn’t impact the conversation at all. We are also lucky that social media can help us stay connected even if we can’t see them in person.
The friendships that survive the passage of time are precious! Congratulations to all of you! 🙂
It’s interesting that during the ‘middle years’ we often didn’t have the time or energy to maintain these friendships, but it’s so much easier and satisfying to rekindle them now. I think it makes them that much sweeter to discover that there is still so much to pull the friendship together.
You are so right! I had completely lost touch with one of the women for many years, but she reemerged after going through a divorce and raising her daughter. We all have more time now for important things, like maintaining dear friendships.
… and maintaining friendships is a very important thing!
This is something, like Ally, I will never experience. I was never part of a larger group of friends – one or maybe two at the most. And since I moved so often, some friendships survived, but I have lost connection with those that didn’t have deep enough roots.
I’m not sure if that makes me sad? I’m certainly happy on your behalf to be able to claim a rich and engaged history with your friends.
Except for brief periods of time, I have never moved away from my hometown, so it has been easier for me to maintain connections. Only one of the women has to travel to attend, so that makes it easier to organize too.
I’m with Maggie in that my moving so often has made it all but impossible to really see former co-workers in the flesh. Sometimes I’m saddened by the loss of the physical connection because lunches like the kind you’re experiencing would be really nice to attend. But I do try balance that with how enriching my life has been with so many different experiences and places.
It sounds like you had a great time with them as evidenced by your picture. Pleased for you! – Marty
It certainly makes it easier when most everyone is in the same city! You are right about the trade-off, though. I’ve lived in a few other places (school and briefly for work, but I’ve mostly been in the same area. The thing is, I’ve never found anywhere else I’d rather be… so, here I am!
It must be in the air. I’m posting about friends tomorrow. Love this! (and love the pic)
Friendships are in the air – I love it! I am looking forward to reading about your special connections too.
What fun! “Old” friendships are so special, and I love that you are still in touch with so many of your friends from that first job.
I’m not sure what made that job so special, but it really is amazing how many long-term friendships came out of it.
I envy you your sustained friendships, Janis. It’s wonderful that you have done the work to maintain them.
I’m usually the one who waits for someone else to do the planning – then I jump in enthusiastically. For this group, though, I felt that it was well worth it to take the role of chief organizer. Fortunately, they all jump in enthusiastically and make it happen.
What fun! I recently united with three different friends. Two I had not seen since we were 10 years old tge other since 17. All 3 reunions were spectacular!! Lovely post.
Wow, that’s a long time between visits! It must have been fun to see how they have changed and get updated on their lives. I hope you can manage to see them all again before another several decades have passed.
Good friends are good for your health. You all look like you had a great time, lovely photo and post.
I hadn’t thought about the health aspect, but I imagine that you are right. Better than a doctor visit, that’s for sure!
Friends are priceless…whether old or more recent. I had the pleasure of catching up with a relatively new friend this week and it lifted my soul. We only see each other a few times a year, but I love her life optimism! You are truly blessed to have these women in your life.
I’m not an extrovert by nature so I often feel uncomfortable around a group of people. It is so nice to feel completely at ease with these women – no hidden agendas or expectations.
Oh you are a lucky girl. Nothing is better than good friends…the kind that you can see after a gap of years and feel like you just saw them yesterday. The kind that can make you laugh until you cry. 😭. Your confidants. Your memory keepers. Definitely something to be grateful for. They don’t come along often, but when they do, they are something to be treasured. You’re reminicace of friendship has put a smile on my face today. To friendships old and new 🙏
Oops – that should have read ‘Your reminiscence of friendship has put a smile on my face today’
“Memory keepers” – yes, that is exactly what they are. I just had a walk this morning with my very oldest (in length of time) friend who is visiting briefly. Even though we talk now-and-then and connect via Facebook and through texting, spending time face-to-face is really special. We know just about everything about each other and no subject is too personal or off-limits. New friends are wonderful, but friends with history are irreplaceable.
I just visited an old friend that I had worked with decades ago here in Germany. It was bittersweet because we lost an old friend to a tragic accident. It’s good to connect with old friends.
Seeing friends decline – and certainly losing them – is so devastating. Even more reason to connect when you can, and tell them – often – how much they mean to you. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for your loss.
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