Best Friends …

                           Forever? … Or Just ‘For Now’?
                                             
By Jeff Salter

            This week’s ‘best buddies’ topic brought back lots of fond memories.
            But let me start with a clarification:  I never had a BF-F.  It may have been generational … or perhaps a gender difference.  Yeah, I had several good buddies, ‘best’ buddies in a particular year or two, and a group of friends who – in lower grades – played together at recess and sometimes got together at other times.  But I don’t believe I ever thought of them as BF’s-Forever.  Maybe it was because ‘forever’ was a concept I didn’t grasp … or perhaps I somehow knew our relationships would transition into something different.  So I focused on the present and simply enjoyed being with my friends then and there.

Early years
            At recess in 2nd or 3rd grade, I would often play with K. in a game featuring a toy cowboy and horse.  K. wasn’t my BF, but I brought an extra horse and cowboy every day (during that stretch) … so he could better enjoy our game.  That’s what buddies did.
            In 4th and 5th grades, I had two buddies I considered my BFs — D.1 and D.2.  I would go over to D.1’s house after school sometimes … and he’d occasionally come to mine.  Same for D.2. — his house or mine after school (occasionally).  Sometimes D.1 and I would also get together on Saturdays because, only 14 blocks away, we could reach each other on bikes.  In those two years, D.1 and D.2 were my BF’s.
            In Jr. H.S., however, D.1 went a different direction.  We never stopped being friends, but we developed dissimilar interests … and moved in different circles.  D.2 continued to be a close friend but we didn’t do the ‘after school’ stuff anymore.  By then, the circle (which included D.2 and I) was larger — both for recess games and (occasionally) weekend stuff.

‘D’ # 3
            The friend responsible for attracting this larger group was D.3[I’m not lying that all these friends had names beginning with ‘D’.]  At recess every day, D.3 brought the Whiffle ball and bat – in the spring – or the football (during fall).  And D.3 lived on a virtual ‘wonderland’ which fronted a river and was nearly surrounded by woods.  He had two tree-houses, a barn, a zip line, a little motor-skiff with a knee-board, and later a ‘real’ boat with skis.  D.3 was often the primary host – at his estate and elsewhere – for what we loosely called ‘camp-outs’ –– but were usually just adventures with a campfire, sleeping bags, lousy food, and staying awake most of the night.  Later on, some of us – though not D.3 – smoked contraband cigarettes at these events.
            D.3 had everything … and he was genuinely a great guy:  smart, hard-working, athletic, and generous to a fault.  [I don’t remember a single soul who didn’t like D.3.]  But was he my BF?  No.  We were in the same circle and he was at its center.  D.3 always made me feel accepted and welcome.  He was the best friend you could have … who wasn’t actually your BF.  If that makes any sense.

High school buddies
            All the dynamics changed in H.S. because we were much more keenly aware of girls.  Ha.  D.3 continued to be the center of my ‘guy’ circle through 9th grade.  There was no ‘activity’ during H.S. recess – except for what was known as ‘B.S.-ing’ – but D.3 continued to host ‘camp-outs’ and they were among the most enjoyable experiences of my young life.

The missing year
            In 10th grade, I moved from Louisiana to Iowa.  New to that region … and new to that school.
            On the first day of class, I knew only two people on the entire campus:  one neighbor (who had many established friends and was merely ‘civil’ to me) … and a boy who was born and raised in Chile (but recently lived in Florida).  L. and I had only briefly met prior to that school term, but – as two very obvious outsiders – we became fast friends.  Yeah, we were BF’s … but not forever.  After that year, I returned to Louisiana and L. went back to Florida.  In these 45 years since Iowa, I’ve only seen L. twice!  First at the wedding of my brother to L.’s sister … and then when a nephew (to both of us) got married.
            L. and I had a wonderful friendship that entire year we were outsiders together … but even with him being an ‘in-law’ of sorts, we never kept up a relationship.

Junior & senior
            This column is already too long, but I can’t leave out these two years because most of the friendships I cultivated after returning to my hometown were those which I’ve (joyfully) rekindled on FB recently.
            Some of these boys and girls were people I’d known for many of my earlier school years (though we’d never been ‘friends’ per se).  Some were ‘new’ kids in our school because their parents transferred to jobs in the New Orleans area.  [Having just spent a year as a ‘new kid’, I ‘reached out’ to many of these newcomers.]
            Other kids ‘new’ (to me) were those who’d been in smaller schools in outlying communities of our parish [county].  Those ‘feeder’ schools only went to 9th grade and then the kids transferred to our H.S.  I made friends with many of them, too.

Forever is a long time
            I had many wonderful relationships with LOTS of girls and boys in those final two years.
            Were any of these boys or girls … my BF’s FOREVER?  I never thought of them that way.  But I do still think of them … often.  Fondly.  Gratefully.  It’s been 43 years since H.S. ended.  Sometimes that seems like ‘forever’.

 Questions
            Did you have one or more BF’s-Forever?  Did ‘forever’ turn out to be as long as you envisioned?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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35 Responses to Best Friends …

  1. Tonya says:

    I had a lot of FRIENDS all my life, but I have one best friend since I was fifteen. Oue twenty-five year friendship has been the best thing in my life. I can count on her for everything. I know she will always have my back and I do for her! I’d rather have ONE great friend, than a handful of semis.
    I have a lot of go-to writers I consider really good friends and trustworthy, but it’s different than a best friend who knows everything about you and not just your writer side.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I’ve missed that experience somehow.
      In the Air Force, at one of my duty stations I had a really close buddy and we had a terrific relationship. But when I was transferred away to another corner of the world (and later him to an opposite corner), we lost touch.
      In a small LA town, in my first library job, we became very close friends with a couple in our church and G. was that kind of ‘go-to’ friend you describe. But, alas, that too was only for a few years… then I transferred to Shreveport and we lost touch.

      Like

  2. jbrayweber says:

    I am fortunate. I have some high school girlfriends that are still my BFF’s, even after, ahem, twent…muffle,mrff,something-er-other, years. We affectionately call ourselves the six-pack. We all have different lives, doing different things, have families and jobs that keep us busy, but we always have time for each other. So, yeah, I guess it is forever. It’s a beautiful thing.

    Jenn!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I’m envious, Jenn. As I posted above on Tonya’s comment, I’ve missed that somehow. I’ve had a couple of friends who did their part to keep the relationship going, but somehow I lacked the energy to reciprocate. Stress and pain can sap one’s energy for lots of things. Reading about other people who DID invest the energy and time in continuing those friendships … has made me rather sad that I couldn’t do the same. Or didn’t.

      Like

      • jbrayweber says:

        The beauty is, Jeff, that it is never to late to reach out, reach back. If anything to let those people know what they meant to you. And now you have new friends! Come here, a big lug. 🙂

        Jenn!

        Like

      • jeff7salter says:

        Absolutely right, Jenn. And I’ve had some wonderful times re-connecting with some of my buddies (girls and guys) on FB.
        In at least two cases, I also had the opportunity, finally, to apologize for some immature behavior all those decades ago. I’m pleased and grateful that they forgave me.
        I’ve also had occasion to remind some of those friends of particular scenes I recalled which involved them. Some seemed genuinely touched that I had remembered … but some didn’t seem to recall those circumstances themselves. LOL

        Like

  3. Lois Grant says:

    Having grown up in and around a small town where I lived from birth through 19 years of age, I have to answer a definite YES to the BFF question. The first person who comes to mind is Janie. We are six months apart in age and met at the age of five. We both lived our younger lives at Dean Lee Ag School and even though we would sometimes hang with different people at school, she was my best friend and almost a sister to me. She moved to Zachary after our freshman year, but we would visit each other during the summer. Our friendship is still going very strong to this day. We can go months or a year, but when we talk, we just pick up the conversation from where we left off. We are each others OLDEST FRIEND! I was in her wedding and she was suppose to be in mine, but got sick and missed it entirely. She treats my daughter like her niece and celebrates each joy and grieves with us when death happens. We have grieved with each other through the deaths of our siblings and our parents.

    I have several other girls who were my best friends during school years also and they are also still friends to this day. When we went home to sign the papers to sell our house. One of these friends (Sally) had a luncheon for me and invited other classmates who were our good friends. One of these friends lives in Port Neches, TX and she came for the luncheon. That touched me deeply! It was also not an easy thing for Sally to entertain as she had a crippling stroke about 10 years ago which severely limits what she can do. We were all so proud of her for doing the luncheon. Her aide did most of the cooking.

    As I have aged, I have reached out to other people who graduated or went to school with me and others have reached out to me. Several years ago, one of my male classmates reached out to me by email and we started corresponding, talking about our lives with our spouses, children and grand children. I was surprised when he told me things about himself, health issues and past addiction problems, but I “listened” and tried to comfort him by email. There was never anything but friendship and mutual respect between us. He later told another classmate that I helped him through a very bad time in his life. It is strange as i did nothing, but listen, tried to console him and didn’t share his story with others..

    I am a person who cherishes my friendships and when I make a friend, most are made for life. Many of my friends are from my childhood, some are from my years at the Library or my years of living in Alexandria. Many of these very close friends from Alexandria were parents of Autumns best friends. I like to think that I make friends easily and keep them. I also think that I have taught my daughter that this is important because I see her doing the same thing with the people that she has met through her life. Ronny on the other hand meets people easily, but doesn’t get close to many people. I think that he considers that he only has had a few close friends and several of them have already passed away. He prefers to socialize and stay close to immediate family.

    Facebook is a wonderful invention that allows for these friendships to continue to blossom and to carry on through the years. I have re-met many of my old acquaintances from this time period and am having a wonderful time getting to know them again. Thanks Jeff for letting me explain how much these people mean to me.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Sug, it’s very touching to learn how you reached out to — and evidently truly helped — that former classmate. It’s a rare personality / temperment which can be that type of friend to others.
      Your description of Ronny seems to also fit me, I believe. It may be difficult for me to get ‘close’ to others.
      I, too, have really enjoyed re-connecting with some of my H.S. buddies by FB. Plus, I’ve met many other people from my school (though at diff. years) or my home town at diff. times … or went to the ‘other’ (i.e., Catholic) school during the time I was in public sch.

      Like

  4. Elaine says:

    Wow, this post is perfect timing! I’ve been thinking about old friends, current friends, etc. To answer your question, I had people I hung out with but didn’t consider anyone a BFF until high school, where I met my twin from another mother 🙂 We had so much in common and yet had different interests.

    Strange thing is, while we are now on different coasts and at completely different stages of our lives, we can still get together/visit like no time has passed. There are only a handful of people I’ve found this to true with. Most times people just change and grow further apart. I think it depends on the people and the depth of connection that existed in the first place.

    Can’t say I have what I consider a BFF today, but the term always reminds me of the gal from HS.

    Elaine

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Elaine, I love the expression, “twin from another mother.” I’m sure there’s a book in there somewhere.
      Yes, the original depth and connection is surely a factor. But in my life, I’ve had several of those deep and comprehensive ‘connections’ with friends … but then circumstances took us different directions.
      As you put it, “People change and grow farther apart.” In some of these cases I can clearly see that I’m the one who changed. Sometimes it’s clear the other party did. But, usually, it was each of us.

      Like

  5. Chris Bailey says:

    I have a few BFFs I’ve known since elementary or middle school. We’re not together every day, but when we do see each other, we connect instantly, sorta like that power cord magnet locks in to my computer.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Like a power cord magnet?
      Ha. Great image, Chris.
      Yes, I’ve had friends with whom it seems hardly any time has passed … and when we’ve reconnected, it’s “seemed like old times” (from the movie).
      But I’ve also had (previously very close) friends I’ve bumped into … who now seem like strangers. That mystifies me.
      For anybody reading this comment, be sure to come back next Thursday, when Chris is the Guest Fox … writing about her favorite teacher from H.S.

      Like

  6. Gee, Jeff,I wish I’d saved my comment earlier in the week for here. My BF in 5-6 grades and I were separated for years, but now we are stronger than ever.One who was not a BF way-back-when is one now, and a friend of my sister’s,who people often thought was part of our family , is very close to me now.When I say these people are ‘close’, I mean via calls and mostly FB/email, not geographically. Can I see these remaining my BF …F’s? Yes, now. I could have used them through the missing years, but the fault was not theirs. Like the old Sinatra song,”The Second Time Around”, not only may love be lovlier, but friendship certainly is.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Tonette, now I’ll have to look up the Sinatra song.
      I chuckled at your comment about the girl who people thought was part of your family. We had a neighbor who was at our house anytime we were home. As far as we were concerned, he was in our family.
      I hate to see the term ‘fault’ for the ‘reasons’ a friendship is allowed to wane … but, as I cover in one of my responses above, I have been the party who’s dropped the ball in sev. cases where the other party was making an effort to keep contact. I regret that I didn’t expend the extra investment to keep up my end.

      Like

  7. Whew! Moved from Michigan to Mississippi in the middle of my junior year of high school. But since we spent every summer and holiday down here it wasn’t that traumatic a transition. (Other than none of the classes I wanted!)

    I value friends because they are the people who’ve shared experiences with you. They’ve been witness to your successes — and failures — and stick around any way. And face it, the two, three or five of you are the only people who can relive the joy or sorrow of a shared event important to all of you, or even care about it. The rest of the world could care less, even though it was an epiphany, a heartbreak, life changing or a turning point in your life. I have a few long-time friends in Michigan I stay in touch with, and I’m sure all our husbands consider banning communication between us because we end up snorting, laughing, and disolving into hysterical tears like a bunch of Jr. High twerps when we visit. Most of the time I believe we’re each others’ therapists! But year to year from K to college, I seemed to collect friends who needed patching up for one reason or another. Emotionally; then you beat up the bullies or took them home with you for some home cooking, talks with Mom and Dad, or just a place to crash until their problem sobered up, got over their mad, etc. Physically; I thank my Dad for enlightening me to the fact a handicap usually means far sharper abilities in every other personal aspect, and deeper perception of the world and people around them. Physically again: the times I purchased the bag of ice and ziploc baggies for redneck ice packs after being called to collect brothers, friends or cousins after a high-spirited brawl. Admit to lacking a certain gentleness when slapping them on hard heads, split knuckles, bruised ribs and busted lips, but it was often the only way to express my aggravation over male stupidity. OH! One thing I remember around junior high: a whole lot of long term friendships were ruined when the boys’ hormones peaked. (That was a sorrowful period of loss and my own bruised knuckles.)Then later as careers and interests changed and grew, some friends drifted away, other friends with shared interests were added.

    I can’t name any consistency of personality type, ecconomic level, or social placement with my friends. In Michigan, some lived in homes with indoor swimming pools (cool deal in wintery January!), others missed school at times because they didn’t own a heavy enough coat. In Mississippi, some of us camped on Wolf River for a week to ten days at a time, while others thought roughing it was slow room service at the Hilton. Sometimes we shot off to N.O. or Florida for a weekend to escape work burnout. Most of us manage to find each other at reunions, and the underlying warmth is still there.

    Like you I had friends, but only one I consider a BFF. She’s from Michigan, and joy of joys! she moved to Mississippi! How wonderful is that?!? Life might take us in different directions, but we can meet months apart and the conversation starts as if we’d shared coffee yesterday. I can have a problem and she commiserates, or points out what a dumb ass I’m being. (There aren’t many people in the world that can call you a dumb ass with total love! LOL) She can call, and I do the same for her.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Runere, you sound like one of those people who make friends very easily and sincerely … and probably remember everyone’s name. I had stages of shyness and gawkiness in my younger years which made for many uncomfortable situations. If I had known you then, I may have been one of the kids you helped ‘patch up’. Ha.
      In H.S. — like you — I had friends from all sorts of demographics. As I recall, there were many kids who clustered … only with the other kids in that same area or neighborhood (or country club). But none of that mattered to me … as long as the other party would give me a chance. Of course, if they froze me out because I wasn’t rich enough (or ‘whatever’ enough) then there wasn’t much chance. But that didn’t happen much … thankfully.

      Like

  8. Micki Gibson says:

    Great post, Jeff! Funny that you mention the D’s. For me it’s Cherie, Shari, Sherry, and Sheri. And all of them have come into my life at different points, but hopefully they’re all here to stay…forever.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Micki.
      Actually there is a fourth D. buddy of mine … but I cut out any mention of him because I was already hovering around 1000 words and everybody says you can’t write blogs that long.
      Plus, I had to leave out any mention of my BF “N” and my other BF “L” in my senior year.
      And don’t get me started talking about female friends and dates. Sheesh.

      Like

  9. I’ve always had one or two close friends and a big circle I could contact and feel like no time has passed. One friend I talk with on occasion I’ve known since first or second grade, and while we only speak a couple of times a year, I feel like we pick up as besties no matter how much time has passed. I have a handful of “internet” friends from online mommy groups and have a wide circle of author friends, with about five I speak to on a regular basis. I’d love to think those friendships will continue, but I’ve seen enough of the ebb and flow of things to know that’s not always the way things work. As for BF-*F*s? I’d be lost to go a single day without my husband, and I know my mom will always be there no matter what. Hard to top those two! As my kids grow into adults, I hope our relationship will shift to the same kind of friendship I have with my mom (assuming we all survive their teenage years, a’course. LOL.)

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Ha. Surviving teen years — good luck with that, Sarah.
      Our kids (now 41 & 35) had relatively ‘mild’ teen angst … but we were very fortunate. We have friends whose kids (as teens … & even later) nearly drove them crazy.
      I’m wondering how it will be as our grandkids get to that point … and one (from my daughter-in-law’s first marriage) is already 13. He’s the oldest of our six.

      Like

  10. Laurie Ryan says:

    Yep. I have BFF’s. For the most part, they are the few people that I truly connect with. That’s my definition of BFF. Have we remained in constant contact through the years? No, but when we do connect, we pick up where we left off as if it were yesterday. Yep, BFF’s are great to have. 🙂

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks for visiting, Laurie. I think I ‘connect’ with people pretty well, but still think I’m missing something with the BF-F part.
      It’s been awesome to read, today, how many people DO have BF-F and how easily those friends settled back into the ‘groove’ of that relationship, right about where it was when last experienced.

      Like

  11. Man, I really need to make some calls…
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Jeff.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      You’re welcome, Kimberley. And thanks for visiting today.
      Yep … better make some calls.
      Of course, I’m not a phone person, so if I were ‘checking back in’ with some of my buddies, it would almost certainly be e-mail or FB.

      Like

  12. I hope the Sherry Micki is talking about is ME!! LOL!

    Good post, Jeff. As always, lots of good information!

    Like

  13. Jeff, I didn’t go into detail, but my sister told a lot of people that the girl WAS our half-sister…she even made herself younger than the girl, (who is actually a year younger than my sister),because my sister and I looked so much alike,and our brother in between resembled me, that it wouldn’t have made sense to anyone otherwise. I’ll bet there are still a few people in Northern Va. who think she’s my mother’s daughter! Well, I claim her.I can complain about my real sister to her!

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I think that’s cool. It speaks very highly for your family environment that someone not related ‘by blood’ actually felt that much comfort with you and yours.

      Like

  14. Dianne says:

    Great topic, Jeff, as usual. I have always had a lot of acquaintances, but few friends. We moved a lot when I was very young – 4 times before I started school – so I guess I learned early that my efforts produced temporary results. And, once I got out of school, I continued the moving pattern.

    I do have a friend from 2nd grade that qualifies as my version of BFF. We have stayed in close contact through high school, college, California hippie-dom, motorcycles, hitchhiking, folk-singing and life since. We haven’t seen each other in a very long time, but are still close and stay in touch. I have another BFF from my very first ‘real’ job (post folk-singing) that I remain close with. And then there is my wonderful husband, who is my main BFF and soul mate.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      Thanks, Dianne.
      I still can’t get over the fact that somebody I knew in Covington went to CA and became a folk-singer!
      I think it’s awesome that you — and a few other people I’ve spoken with — think of your spouse as best friend. Surely that’s the way things are supposed to be!
      And while I was sitting here reading your comment, I was trying to remember, is your husband from Cov.? If so, was he at CHS during any of the years I was there?
      I’ve moved a pretty good bit, too. Before I started 1st gr. in Cov., I had lived in MS, IL, & GA. Spent my soph. yr. in Iowa. After HS grad, I lived in GA, then back to LA, then NM, Greenland, and CA. Then back to LA (Cov., Baton Rouge, Jonesville, & Shreveport).
      Now, KY and I’ve lost count.

      Like

  15. Dianne Blaikie says:

    No, my husband is not from Covington. I continued my peripatetic lifestyle after Lafayette…to Greenwich Village, NY, Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, CA, Saratoga, NY, Waynesboro, VA, Birmingham, AL (where I met Dave), Richmond, VA, and, ta-da! Atlanta, GA.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      You also lived in the Village? wow. That’s nearly everybody’s dream … to live in L.A. and (on the other side of the continent) Greenwich Village. Wow.

      Like

  16. While I was growing up we lived in a small town in Louisiana reminiscent of a Polynesian village where you could be at anyone’s house at any time, and their parents would treat you like one of their own children. I had lots of best friends back then. In a sense we were all best friends, Right after high school graduation, though, I left there. No situation ever quite felt real after that. In several different places I’ve worked to establish home and friends, but as soon as the tasks were complete, life picked me up and moved me. Although I’ve made some profoundly supportive friends over the years, I’ve come to terms with the fact I’ll never settle down, and life will keep bringing me to different countries to make different friends of different cultures. I’ve learned to enjoy them as temporary gifts. Fortunately, my husband provides the anchor I need to feel stable as we hop around from country to country. I particularly enjoy Facebook because I’m able keep up with friends all over the world.

    Like

    • jeff7salter says:

      I agree, Susan — FB is a wonderful medium to keep tabs on people who are important to you. It’s been terrific in my 2.5 yrs on FB to be able to re-connect with people from Covington, some from my Air Force days, and many from grad. school and my library years.
      Kinda sad that your travels have you moving so much. But you’re building up a wonderful life ‘album’ of memories!

      Like

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