My friend Nancy White and I close up our homes in October. She is buttoning down her house in Stonington to head south by the end of the month to spend the winter in Fort Pierce, where her deck overlooks the Indian River. Far from the frigid temperatures of New England, Nancy will kayak, probably daily because it is her passion.
Ron and I close up our camp at Cross Lake the first week in October and head back to Connecticut. Nancy and I cross paths before she heads south and that means lunch together at least once, sometimes twice, before reconnecting again in May when she returns from Florida and before I leave for Maine.
Back in the day Nancy and I spent September through early June walking the halls of Newington High School. Funny, though, that I can’t recall how we met. What prompted our friendship? Did we have classes together? The high school years often become a blur much the same as last week does for me these days.
Perhaps our connection was prompted by classmates remarking that the two of us, Barbara Francolino and Nancy O’Connell, looked alike. This was a fine thing for me to hear as I thought Nancy was cute and that our peers would see a resemblance pleased me very much. I never asked Nancy what she thought about what they said. As I think back to all those years ago, perhaps I was afraid Nancy would not be as pleased as I.
Was the similarity due to our medium length dark hair? Our height? Our body shape?
There was the time back in our high school days when Nancy got in trouble with her parents because they saw her walking in the center of town with a group of kids when she was supposed to be at home watching her younger sister. The girl they saw in the center of town, however, was me. So you can see why I found this a compliment that Nancy’s parents would mistake me for their very own daughter. I perhaps should have been more concerned that Nancy was in trouble and would she somehow be able to convince her parents the girl they saw was not her but this other girl that kinda looked like her. Looking back at it all, I think her parents might have been thinking they were getting a line of bull from their Nancy. She was a devilish sort, but then, so was I. Perhaps that trait was what our classmates subconsciously recognized.
So today Nancy and I meet for lunch, no longer Chuck Berry’s sweet little sixteens, our wallets full of pictures, that for more years than we care to acknowledge were replaced with our Medicare and AARP membership cards. Looking at a relationship that started more than a half century ago if anyone is counting, skeptics might think there is no longer that youthful high school link when classmates gave us that distinction of resembling each other.
Some might fall back on the line from the old song and say, well you know, used-to-be’s don’t count anymore, but I’ll take exception to Mr. Diamond’s lyrics.
I treasure the reconnection with a friend from my youth. Time has a way of peeling back the layers and, so what if we’re at the age now when we are eligible for the senior discount by a good many years. Does a birth date subtracted from the current year mean we should not giggle, or God forbid, forget the significance of the song, “Lavender Blue?”
Nancy and I. We should be a Seger tune ‘cause, “We’re still the same, baby, baby, still the same.”