Forty years ago this fall, I met one of my best friends for life.
I was a freshman at Western Kentucky University, where I planned to major in journalism. Having been assistant editor of my high school newspaper and yearbook, I got a “walk-on” position on the staff of The Talisman, the best college yearbook in America.
That’s where I met Becky, the classes and index editor, who was a sophomore elementary education major from Columbus, Ohio. The editors put me to work writing and gave me the arts editor title.
Becky and I never had a class together, but we spent many hours working in that yearbook office.
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The next October, Becky invited me to travel with her to Louisville one weekend for her birthday party at her grandparents’ house. When she broke her arm at a gymnastics team practice, we regrouped and found a last-minute ride to Louisville with our yearbook adviser.
It was one of our many adventures together.
At the start of spring break in 1976, we had stayed up all night in her dorm room, working on the yearbook index, before her mother drove down on Saturday morning to pick her up.
Later, when her brother Chuck had enrolled at WKU and Becky had started dating a journalism major named Tom, the four of us drove to Columbus one weekend to visit her parents.
Four decades after meeting, I have many happy memories of our friendship.
Me driving Tom from Nashville (I lived in Jackson, Tenn., at the time) to Louisville for their wedding, so they could take Becky’s car on their honeymoon. Me wearing a peach bridesmaid’s dress in their wedding.
I visited them in their Nashville apartment and later in their two houses in Knoxville, where their daughter, Mollie, was born. I was honored when they asked me to be Mollie’s godmother.
I stayed with them multiple times when they lived in Atlanta. One of my fondest memories is helping their second daughter, Shannon, learn to ride her bike in their back yard there.
After living in different cities since 1979, we finally reunited when Becky and the family moved to Lexington (Tom’s hometown) in 1998.
For 17 years now, we’ve celebrated the high school and college graduations of her daughters, the wedding of Mollie and Mike, and the birth of Mollie and Mike’s son, Sam, now 3. The girls and little Sam affectionately call me “Aunt Connie.”
As Becky and I have grown older, we’ve experienced the challenges of aging parents, and sadly I have attended the funerals of her parents. We do some volunteer work together, including ushering at the Lexington Opera House.
Mostly, we are there for each other, no matter what life brings us. I admire her energy and project-management skills; she appreciates my tendency to always think the best of people. We never run out of things to talk about. Ever.
I don’t know why some friendships last a lifetime while others don’t, but I am thankful for those that do. Becky feels the same way.