I did not grow up here in these 'Hills of Habersham' although I have called them home for 20 years, and this is the place I have felt most 'at home' in my life...you know the saying, "Home is where the heart is". I grew up in a small, close-knit community in the high desert of California. I was born there and lived there until I married in my mid 20's. It is where childhood and teenage friendships were formed, and where I left them when I moved across the country to start my home and family in my husbands birthplace...Georgia.
At first we friends kept in touch by mail and phone, then gradually the connections faded and all contact was lost. I made new friends in the towns we lived in here in the south and left some of them behind also as the years rolled by. Occasionally I think of those newer friends and wonder where they are, but none so much as the old friends I left behind in the California desert...they were my childhood friends and the bonds we formed were strong. I learned to be who I am with them. Their parents influenced my life almost as much as my own did...with traditions and values and moral judgement. They helped teach me to share, to drive, to cook, to read, to write. They were my teachers and classmates in the school of life.
There was one family in particular that played a huge part in my life. We met at our church when I was about 6 years old. This family had just been through a devastating house fire in which the father was badly burned rescuing the youngest of his 3 daughters. Our church family welcomed them with open arms and hearts and my family became close friends with them almost immediately. The oldest of the girls was my age and we became friends, but the middle sister became one of my closest childhood friends. In those days it was customary in my family (and most of my friends families) to attend both morning and evening Sunday services at church, and many a child's Sunday afternoons were spent with friends...so it was not unusual to find me at her house, or her at mine on any given Sunday afternoon. Even when her family moved to a town about 60 miles away we kept our friendship strong spending entire weeks together at each other's homes during the summer and traveling back and forth on many weekends. I was in her wedding...her daughter was the flower girl in mine. We loved each other like sisters. Our families forever intertwined. And then about 26 years ago we lost touch...
To be continued.
4 years ago