I had lunch today with three friends. Strangely, none of them knew each other until they found themselves living in the same apartment building in St. Johnsbury. Other than that, the only thing the three of them had in common was that they had been friends with me - all at different periods in our lives. After their husbands died, each one gave up their home in favor of an apartment in town and one by one, they arrived at the same destination. Now the four of us get together occasionally for lunch. I'm the only one that drives - all three have macular degeneration more pronounced than mine, so I'm the designated driver.
We spoke today about the improbability of all of us getting together.
I first met Mary in 1944 when I entered the freshman class at Cabot High School. She lived in the Village, I lived on Cabot Plain. We became best friends. After high school we both went in different directions, married, raised our families. Mary returned to this area after she and her husband had retired.
Lucille worked at Lesnick's on Memorial Drive in St. Johnsbury when I went there to work in about 1950. We were both bookkeepers. We became fast friends - she was my matron of honor when I married in 1953. After I left Lesnicks, we didn't see each other often.
I didn't meet Alice until I went to work for the St. Johnsbury School District, I think about 1967. I had been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, and felt very fortunate that I was hired to work in the administrative office under Superintendent Ted Sargent. Two years later, I was a widow with three young boys, and that job, Alice and the others I worked with were a big part of my support system.
I left the School District in 1974 or 5 for another job, sold my home in St. Johnsbury and moved to Joe's Pond. My association with St. Johnsbury was minimal since I was working in Montpelier.
Over the years, each of my three friends lost their husbands, I married Fred, and I seldom bumped into my friends, even though all three lived within the St. J. / Lyndonville area. I don't remember which one went to live at the Colonial first, but within a matter of a few months, Mary, Lucille and Alice were all living there, and realized they all knew me. So we get together every now and then to catch up on families and friends and exchange memories.
That was what I did today. Or at least, part of what I did. There were other things - I briefly visited another old friend in St. J., chatted with Ray Rouleau and then Jack LaGue on my way home (Joe's Pond business), and got home in time to do a little work here on my computer. Emails tend to pile up if I'm away too long. Now I have Woody on the desk beside me, pestering. He's inclined to pace in front of my computer screen when he needs attention. Fortunately he's careful to avoid the keyboard. Sometimes he'll just sit and stare at me. Tonight he wants to go back outside, but that's not an option with coyotes, fishers, and bobcats roaming out there.
Better to be safe than lunch for one of those guys.