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          Jaime and I in kindergarten!

I met my best friend Jaime over thirty years ago on the first day of kindergarten!  I had been worried about making new friends on my first day of school so I had asked my mother how I should make friends.  She told me to simply be a friendly person and go up to other children saying, “Hi my name is Jennifer, do you want to be friends?”

Being five, I took her words very literally, and when I entered school on that first day of kindergarten, I approached a tiny fellow classmate with the longest hair I had ever seen and said those exact words my mother had instructed me to say in hopes she would be my new friend.  It worked! My mom was right! Alli had to do to make friends was to be friendly and smile! Little did I know that introducing myself to this long haired little girl was the best thing I could have done! We became best friends immediately and still are to this very day!

I believe the reason Jaime and I are still best friends today despite living in separate states, is because we have always been there for one another.  As children our relationship stayed strong because we always got along, liked similar things, yet we didn’t have the exact same personality.  We were different just enough, that it allowed us to revel in each other’s uniqueness, bringing out the best in one another.  Jaime is a talented artist, I can’t draw to save my life! I loved reading constantly, which has helped me to become a detailed writer.  We both love animals, rainbows, dragonflies and butterflies, and taking photographs.  As the years passed, our friendship moved beyond the realm of being best friends, and we became like family.  We still refer to each other’s mothers as “mom #2”.  We have never fought over anything, and continue to this day to discover new dynamics in our friendship.

Our friendship has been strengthened over the years due to a mutual respect for one another.  We support each other in all we do, cheering each other on, applauding achievements accomplished, consoling the other when life throws us an unexpected curveball that results in sad outcomes, and even if we have been apart for long periods of time, we are able to pick up right where we last left off!  We stay in touch through texts, use the various social media platforms to stay abreast of what is happening in each other’s lives, and take turns writing handwritten letters that we mail (so rare in this technology driven world) to each other.  The reason we are able to still be best friends, despite living in separate states is we take the time to care about what is happening in each other’s lives!  That is the key to keeping a lasting friendship going.

Some of you may know the rhyme “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the others gold”, well Jaime is my golden friend for life!

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Jaime and I on the last day of high school!

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My first memories I have of my first home conjure up images of well-worn hardwood floors, a cushioned chair in the shade of goldish-yellow with sturdy arm rests made of wood, a small tv set in a deep brown colored tv stand that also held books an either side, and long filmy curtains in the windows.  I was two and we lived in an apartment on the second floor of a two story home.  The building was owned by my grandfather.        
My first home was full of life.  There was me, a noisy two year old running around in shoes that echoed off of the hardwood floors, followed closely by my constant companion, our German Shepherd named Columbo, whose nails clicked and clacked on the hardwood.  I couldn’t say his name correct, being only two so I settled for calling him “Bumbo” instead.  There were cousins, family members, and friends coming and going in that little apartment.  My dad would come home from work to crawl all over the hardwood floors with me riding proudly upon his back.  Meanwhile my mom would be cooking or baking something delicious that would waft enticingly from the kitchen. 

I remember the metal radiators, snake like in their coils, how they emitted such warmth throughout the little apartment.  It was always nice and cozy there!  I also remember the smell of the wood vanish used to clean the hardwood floors.  How it seemed to take forever for it to dry, keeping me and “Bumbo” off the floors and interrupting our games of imagination. 

That apartment is still around and still owned by my family.  A testament to time standing still somewhat.  

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