Monday, January 21, 2019

Barbro and Me ~ Friends For Life

I received an email from my friend Barbro in Sweden the other day. She told me that she reads my blog. Barbro, while we still are both alive, I thought it would be a good idea to post this to let you know how much you mean to me and how much I appreciate our friendship. I wrote most of what is below in November 2012, when we had been friends for 66 years. Now it is going on 73. 

Barbro and I outside her childhood home. 

I remember the first time I met Barbro. She lived on a lovely street where most houses were old, made of wood and surrounded by pretty gardens. A forested hill with huge granite boulders and ancient trees separated her street from mine. It wasn't far and you could walk around on a road at the foot of the hill. 

On Barbro's side, there grew a tree with a branch just the right height for me to grab. I could hang from this branch and play at gymnastics. I could swing my legs over the branch and hang upside down with my knees bent around it or I could pull myself up and sit on it. I was only six, but the tree was tempting and I would often wander over there and play. I was a solitary creature even then and enjoyed playing by myself. 

I met Barbro for the first time by this tree. We became really good friends right away and her mom was my best grownup friend for the rest of her life. Barbro and I started first grade together and spent the first four years of school in the same class. Then our lives took different turns, we went to different schools, she married early and had two daughters and I left Sweden. 

Our friendship remains strong and I always see Barbro and her family when I go back to Stockholm. When we see each other, all the years, the distances and our very different life experiences are not important. We connect just like we did when we were six. 

Since I was last back in Sweden in 2005, Barbro lost her very brave and very together sister, Gunilla, to breast cancer. And I lost Errol so we have both gone through grieving for someone we loved. 

Being friends for 73 years is remarkable; to sustain a friendship over a distance of thousands of miles all these years is a wonderful gift. 


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