On the first day of Mrs. Phillips’ private kindergarten in 1965 (there was no public kindergarten at that time) in Oxford, Mass., I watched a big yellow taxi pull up to the curb. I had never seen a taxi before. The driver got out and opened the door for his back-seat passenger. I watched with extreme interest as a young, red-headed, freckle-faced girl got out and headed my way. From that point on, I have shared joy, sorrow, pain, embarrassment, love, hate, and everything in between with my “bff” (best friend forever) Missy.
I remember something funny/interesting/pivotal that happened in our relationship every single year for the last 45-plus years. Of course, there were the standard-life altering events like learning the alphabet, kissing boys, sneaking cigarettes, playing hooky (from church, school, and at times life), first communion/confirmation, learning to drive, high school graduation, college, sex, getting married/divorced/remarried, having (or choosing not to have) kids, losing friends, parents, co-workers, changing jobs – and most recently, turning 50. All of our individual life events have been shared in some way with each other.
We have not lived in the same town for almost 30 years, but we still manage to see each other several times a year. Our daily, after-school walks have turned into a few, very long walking and hiking journeys throughout the year. We make our way along the southern Maine beaches, the Eastern Trail, the Narrow Gauge trail in Carrabassett Valley, and most recently we put down the miles in Key West. For hours at a time, we walk and talk, laugh and cry, reminiscing about the past and dreaming about the future. Still, after all these years, we share our dreams and fantasies for the “next phase” of our lives. Our day-to-day lives are so different now – and we are so different from each other – but we have a full and rich history. Without Missy to fill in the blanks, I’m not sure I could remember all of the details of my life.
“If you have a good friend, hang onto them.” That’s good advice shared by Toni Klima in our cover story on best friends (see page 6). In this issue of Maine Women we are celebrating love – all types of love. The love between women who have been best friends forever; the love that comes with compassion and a life devoted to helping others; and the love of mothers toward their children. I think you will find something you love in these pages. Enjoy, and write us with your thoughts and opinions.
Lee Hews, Publisher