One hand

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about people in my life whom I haven’t been such a good friend to. Tauruses are supposed to have two main traits: stubbornness and loyalty (the latter of which could be a positive side effect of the former — I’m not sure). I can’t say I’m an exemplary Zodiacal specimen.

Elementary school: Kristin Jones was my best friend for the latter grades. When we were in sixth grade, she moved to Auburn, Indiana (if I recall correctly). I visited her once, but our occasional letters petered out.

Middle and high school: Beth Bruner was my bff for much of adolescence, until she and several other girls ostracized me for saying “God damn you to hell” when one of them threw a glass of ice water on me at Pizza Hut after a basketball game. If my site logs are any indication, she’s still reading this website every so often — hi, Beth! — and living in Indianapolis.

College: I still miss Keryn (Chirnside) Stoelting and Fredrik Hedvall, both of whom I’d have lain my life down for when we were in school. After I graduated college and got married, I froze Keryn and my other friends out on the assumption that they’d have no use for a boring married person in their cadre — something I regretted heavily once the crushing depression during those years began to lift. At one point, an ex-boyfriend got sick of my mewling about how much I missed Keryn, and he looked her up — turned out she was living in Somerville. He contacted her and arranged a rendezvous that was scary and utterly great. I attended her wedding, and she moved to Indiana, and we lost touch once again. Fredrik visited my ex-husband and me back when we still lived in married student housing in Princeton, but I have no idea what happened to him once he graduated.

First job out of college, Visual Education Corporation: Emilie McCardell was this completely cool editor chick who dressed great, was tack-sharp and hilarious, who also enjoyed live music, who had an adorable toddler daughter, and who was absolutely fearless. She was friends with Gene and Dean Ween, drove a Mustang like Mario Andretti, and taught me about arcane medical conditions like black hairy tongue.

Christine Osborne was another friend from the same company. She and I emailed now and then after she moved the Bay Area, and we hung out when she visited Boston. I think of her whenever I eat Gorgonzola or chutney, use the pink chopsticks she gave me — the ones with monkeys on them and that say something close to Amy-Chan, or hear someone mention fan fiction. (I wonder if she’d be pleased that someone came to this site by searching for “Firefly slash.”)

I had several other friends at that company — it was a good place, if financially unstable. Stacy Tibbetts was and is a trooper who used to call me “Chief” at Vis Ed and who kept in touch via email and in person when he lived near Boston for a time. I have a feeling he’s a lot happier back in “central P-A.” I also wonder about Max and Anita Crandall, and whether they still play in a band — I still like the Combo Holiday tape they gave me.

I’ve done a little better since I’ve moved to Boston — I’ve stayed close with several friends for the past six, seven, even eight years. I do wonder about Heather Kelly, though — I still read the beautiful letters she sent from her Peace Corps stint in Papua New Guinea, and I wonder what she ended up doing after grad school. I still have the cool fertility carving she gave me (which thankfully has had no effect). I’ve also done a lousy job keeping in touch with Eva Pederson, possibly owing to the ultimate debacle of meeting her cousin, with whom I had a short-lived but fairly intense flirtation. And of course, I’ve done a crap job of keeping in touch with my dear wonder twin Amy since she moved to suburban Atlanta. So yeah, basically, I still suck.

I also worry that I’ll drift even further from Tomoko and Kevin now that they are busy with juggling parenthood and full-time jobs. Tomoko has gone to great trouble to spend time with me and Teresa since becoming a mom — don’t get me wrong. I just wonder what I might have to bring to the friendship in the years to come if I’m not able to start my own family. With luck, she’ll let me be that crazy maiden aunt-type who takes Kiyo to the park and lets him eat too much cotton candy.

6 Responses to “One hand”

  1. 2fs says:

    Visit 2fs

    I’d been thinking a lot recently about old friends, primarily because I was digging through a cardboard box full of old letters and such. Out of curiosity, I googled one of my closer friends from that time (my first couple years of college at U of Mich.) It took a little digging, because her name is relatively common (and fortunately, she’d neither married nor changed her name) but sure enough, I stumbled upon a person with a career/interest description that seemed to fit her…and an e-mail address. So I appeared via e-mail out of the blue after about fifteen years. We’ve struck up a reasonably good correspondence, and reunited with a couple other folks she’d kept in touch with. Naturally, we’re strewn all around the country (she’s in Dutchess Co. NY) - but I’m certainly glad I made the effort. But it’s difficult to maintain friendships, particularly over time and distance. I’m pretty sure I would have kept in closer contact with my college friends had the net existed then (okay, it *existed*…but you know what I mean: only Al Gore used it then).

  2. Terri says:

    Visit Terri

    This is something I think about frequently, too. In particular, I often kick myself for not keeping in touch with Ed Carpenter (where are you, Ed?). He was English and was in State College for a year (9th grade) because his dad was doing something at the university. I kind of liked him… you KNOW… and he could probably tell, but he seemed to resist being too friendly–at least at first, maybe because he knew he’d be leaving. One day in the library we were making too much noise–flirting–and the librarian had to tell us to quiet down. I was horrified when my friends invited him to go see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. For some reason I thought he would find it really stupid, but of course he was low-brow enough at age 13 or whatever to enjoy it. I remember I was dying to sit by him in the theater.

    I begged for his address and promised to write. He told me I wouldn’t and I thought, “I’ll prove him wrong!” Finally, right before he left, he gave me his address. He wrote it on the back of one of my folders. And damn me, I never wrote to him. I don’t know why. Maybe I was afraid he wouldn’t write back. Or I just didn’t know what to say. It’s hard to be suave at 13. I think I still have that address, though he’s probably moved to another country by now! That’s a forever regret.

  3. Stacy Tibbetts says:

    Visit Stacy Tibbetts

    I enjoyed reading your blog re old friends, particularly those at Vis Ed. I also wonder what Max and Anita are up to… and Christine Osborne.

    Yes, I’m generally happy in Central PA — I’m still active as a guitarist and singer/songwriter on the local music scene here, and I composed a musical last year, etc. From time to time, I do have cravings for the talent and culture of cities, particularly NYC, which I visit from time to time. And I miss Boston friends from my two years up there.

    HOWEVER! it’s certainly easier to live here than in cities, in terms of money, getting around, and general peacefulness… I bought a small house in 2003 with a great view. In about two years, I should have as much money in long-term investments as I do in debt (I have a small, very-low-interest mortgage). So that’s an accomplishment, I think…

    I freelanced as a writer/editor for textbook connections for four years recently (2001-2005), but last year went back to work full-time at Penn State as a writer/editor. Bureaucracy, but lots of vacation time and some flextime.

    Hope you’re well! I’ll email sometime if this doesn’t get through. Mike Gee now lives in Franklin, MA, by the way — he and Jan moved back to Boston (from Ohio) right after I left in 2002. He took over the social studies editorial department at Prentice-Hall and now works in downtown Boston… drop me a note for their address.

    Stacy (

  4. Stacy Glen Tibbetts says:

    Visit Stacy Glen Tibbetts

    One more thing — check out!! for an interesting translation of your post…

    Gives new meaning to the word “pirated…”

    BTW, I thought of you recently, as I had the chance to turn on a fellow local literati to Nicholson Baker. (Hmmm, I suppose “turn on” is a poor choice of words there…)

    – S.

  5. Editrix says:

    Visit Editrix

    Hey Stacy . . . how nice that you sauntered by! I’m glad to hear you’re doing so well. Also? Your Nicholson Baker anecdote cracked me the heck up today.

  6. Stacy says:

    Visit Stacy

    “Editrix” — hmmm, exciting. Watch out for paper cuts, whatever you do. Is this Amy again? How do I know?

    Not sure about this whole “public writing” thing — is this page called a “blog?” What’s “pathetic fallacy?”

    Stacy (Not much of a hanger-outer on the web…)

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