At the age of 13, my world was turned upside down… never to be the same again. After many months of noticing things were not “normal,” I was informed that my parents were divorcing AND we would be moving from the home I’d been born and raised in. Seventh grade is difficult enough, but then to add two major life changes in was devastating. We packed up our home and moved 5 miles away to a much smaller house on a quiet little street. I was two houses into different school boundaries and would also be starting 8th grade at a new school. More change…
First day at our “new” house (it was much older and smaller than my childhood home), I was forlorn and sad. I sat on the front porch in search of a new beginning. Little did I know, this short little block held many years of memories to come and relationships that would be vital to my teenage years. Out of the house across the street came two girls that would soon become dear, lifelong friends and my refuge during many a stormy times. Their house soon became a place I loved to be. More kids from around the block came around and soon we were an unstoppable group of young teens enjoying friendships and adventures!
Life as a teenager can be confusing and difficult. Add in a mom who was devastated and hurt by betrayal, and you’ve got painful times. I became the peacemaker and tried to keep our now much smaller family together. The first six kids had all moved into their adult lives and it was just my little brother, my mom, and me left to pick up the pieces. My new friends became the salve and grace that my hurting heart needed. We spent the next 5 years or so sharing adventures, junior high and high school craziness, and building friendships that would last, even when years pass in between visits. You see, the relationships you develop with people in different times of your life either come and go, or last for a lifetime … never to be broken. The latter is how I feel about my friends I met that summer on Audubon.
Yesterday, I had the joy of reconnecting with these friends. One special lady was home visiting from Florida and we were all able to gather in the old neighborhood for a visit. The home that I so loved to be at as a teenager, is still inhabited by the wonderful people that became second parents to me that summer. We walked around the old neighborhood, visited several neighbors and friends that still live there, and had banana popsicles! Eldon was our popsicle supplier in our younger days, and he helped us relive a cherished memory together!
This morning as I sit here and contemplate the memories that were stirred yesterday, I’m overwhelmed by the journey I’ve been on. Many years have passed since our days playing Hide-n-Go Seek and Kick the Can… enduring a week inside together due to the fallout of Mt St Helens… conning rides to school from our sweet neighbor, Skip… and the list goes on! Being together yesterday uncovered a time and place in my life that I could consider a true wilderness experience… tumultuous, painful, ever-changing… and the best thing to ever happen to me! My sweet world on our short little block expanded when I started at the new junior high school. I developed another circle of friends that are still friends today. When I take time to look back on my life, it is these amazing people that I met that fateful summer of upheaval in my youth, that were foundational in me becoming the person I am today. I’m so grateful for the door of these precious memories being opened once again. We can get so lost in what is right in front of us and where we hope to go, that we can easily forget where we came from. Yesterday, I was reminded that God has always had His hand on my life and each journey is key to where He has me today. I look forward to more time with these dear friends to spend a bit more time remembering the journey we all took together!