I can’t believe that at one time I didn’t like massages. Luckily, a trip to Canyon Ranch with my daughter, Debra, several years ago cured me of that.
So when my dearest and oldest (not age) friend in the world suggested we go for a spa weekend, just the two of us, it was automatic. Truthfully the draw wasn’t the lavish massage, it was the prospect of hanging out with a friend I love, and rarely see because of geographic distance.
Our mothers have been friends since they were teenagers, and they continue their impressive ways into their eighties. They married, settled about five miles from each other and named their daughters, Ellen.
My earliest memories of playing as a child take place at Ellen’s house. We’d hang out in her parent’s room and make phony phone calls, randomly picking names from a telephone book. We dialed for hours until her mother opened the door and put a stop to our antics.
We grew up going to different school districts but still got together once a month or so. When we left for college, I introduced her to my friends who were going to the same school and to this day she remains close to them.
Among my other favorite memories:
I remember commandeering my sister’s car and driving out to State College to see Ellen and meet her new boyfriend. He had shoulder length, wavy red hair, an equally long beard, and played the guitar.
I remember, a few years later, sitting outside at their patio wedding. Ellen wore a white hat with a brim and looked beautiful. I still use, and love, the china serving pieces she bought me for my wedding.
I remember us being pregnant at the same time and swapping stories, and then we both gave birth to sons.
I remember when I became widowed, all the weekends she and her husband drove out to see my kids and me. And what that meant to all of us, then and now.
I remember sharing all the life cycle events of our children and families. I still cherish the necklace she gave me 22 years ago at my birthday party.
By some divine coincidence, a few months ago my daughter and son-in-law moved to a part of New York not far from Ellen. She has been wonderfully helpful to them in getting settled. And the other night after returning from the spa we all had dinner together.
Childhood friendships are magical. To be with someone who remembers your grandparents, the color of the walls of your childhood bedroom and how you acted when you met the love of your life, is soothing and affirming.
Way better than any old massage.