...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanks Giving...Friends

JoAnn's 1st Birthday & Guest
Wow, five posts on Thanks Giving! As I stated in my last post, I count family as one of the greatest possessions I am thankful for. I also count many friends as family and am thankful for every one of my friends.

I guess I had friends very early in life. As you can see in pictures of my 1st birthday, there was a little girl in attendance that lived down the road from me. Believe it or not, I can remember the cake, the candle and my family washing dishes on that day, but I can't remember the little girl in the pictures! Her name was MaryPat Molloy, her brother, Chris, and I became good friends, but MaryPat was quite a bit older than me and we never really became friends.

Kathleen Scanlan, Chris Molloy,
& Melinda Robinson
Chris and I walked to school together and were like buddies. We stood up for each other when the neighborhood bullies attacked. We shared home room together in High School. I still count him as one of my buddies even though he is in Colorado and I am still in NY. We have recently reconnected through FaceBook.

Susan at 6th Grade Graduation
Ann at JoAnn's 16th birthday
Neighborhood friends, Patty Burgher, Ann Roser, and Susan Henderson, and Kathleen Scanlan were also good friends of mine.  Ann and I pretended we were sisters for a few years and she is as dear to me as a younger sister. Ann and I stuck together through all our school years and even beyond. She was the Maid-of-Honor at my wedding. At least two of our kids played together. We will occasionally get together now to share a sushi lunch and catch up! I wish we were closer now, but life changes pull us in different directions. Susan was my friend during the early years and through elementary school. Once in high school we went our separate ways and though we only live about 30 miles from each other we have only gotten together a few times over the past 30 years. Other than a few phone calls we haven't been able to reconnect like we would.

Debbie Dodge
Another elementary school friend that I was very close to was Debra Dodge. Her family was my second family. I was over at her house most of my high school years. Her family went to our church. They treated me as one of the family. Her parents taught me a lot about keeping fun in your marriage, joyful family life, and devotion to each other. Deb was a Bridal Attendant at my wedding. Even though she lives not far from me, it took her mom's funeral to get us reconnected. We struggle to get together for lunch at times, as again, life issues pull us apart.

Clare & Tom McCanna, Rick Muller & JoAnn Muller
& Karen Olsen
In my high school years, I had many friends. Clare and Tom McCanna were in my home room -- brother and sister, they were a "package deal". Artist, smart, fun, calm, I loved their multi-faceted personalities and loved to go to their home and sit with them and their parents. They were so normal in an THE most un-normal place I knew of -- Woodstock, NY. I never understood how they came to live there. Just a few days ago I ran into Mrs. McCanna and we picked up our conversation as if we had seen each other just recently. I think it's been several years since I last ran into her. I think it was the day before my wedding I ran into her long ago and told her I was getting married. She smiled and in her sweet French accent said, "Don't do it!" Not at all the response I was expecting! We hugged, laughed and moved on...Clare and Tom are due back home this Christmas...and I WILL see them. That would be a tremendous Christmas gift for me.

High School Reunion w/Linda Denise,
Robin Wood, & Nancy Smith

JoAnn with her team: Susannah Satten
& Debbie Fury working at
The Healthy Women's Partnership
In my employment years, many coworkers became long time friends like Anna, who I wrote about in a previous blog. Some friends have come and gone, one became my boss. Some are peripheral friends. I see them time to time, but we don't share the same camaraderie that I do with others.

The Jollie Family who we are now related to!

All in all, my friends have been great! With my closest girlfriends I have laughed, cried, and shared many, many secrets. I value each relationship and would love to reconnect with any of the ones from my past and will not hesitate to make new ones in my future. Some I count as family and some even became family!