Friday, March 19, 2010

"I often wonder where she is...

When little first best friends get separated at 8 or 9, as one woman writes on the Facebook fan page for My First Best Friend, I suspect a tiny little hole is left in hearts. At the time, there are probably tears and promises to see each other soon, but new friends probably come to march in those familiar steps.

I am finding that as women respond to the book, there are several themes evolving--and this is certainly one of them. Every time I read such a comment, I want to wave a magic wand and
unite these two best friends and show shared moments no one else can claim. If My First Best Friend has the effect of uniting some of these old friends, it will make me so very happy--and be worth having begun this endeavor which seems to be taking on a life of its own.

Now, there are ways to find old friends, although with women and name changes it can be a challenge. I had considered putting a section in the book outlining ways to try and locate lost friends, but I was sure that as it went to print, there would be other and better search engines. I am no expert on this subject. But I entreat those who long to find that kid in braids you never saw again after one of you moved from "your world" to explore the current options.

Of course, we are always a bit wary. Have we grown so far apart we won't recognize each other? Will we talk about old times and have nothing else to say to each other? Would she like me now? With all these reasons not to pursue a reunion, there are many more that just may be worth the risk, as stories in My First Best Friend reveal. Disappointments may happen. But then, at least, you will no longer wonder. There is a time and a place for things in life, and going back isn't always the path best taken. But one can think of this as moving ahead, perhaps to knowing a grownup who just happens to remember you with braces.

My beloved Emily Dickinson talks about courage this way:

I took my power in my hand and went against the world.

It's a poet's way to summon up courage. Words to inspire?


  1. Oh my... when you said 'find that kind in braids', my thoughts immediately flew to a girl in my Grade 4 class who's name was Heidi. Her family had moved from Switzerland to Canada, and I found it fascinating that I actually knew someone who shared the name of the little girl in the story who lived in the Alps with her grandfather.

    Makes me want to go in search of her. What fun!

    BTW, I went in search of your new book but alas it wasn't out yet in the stores here in Canada. That was just after your book was released, so perhaps it's out now. Mmmmm, best pencil in a stop at the bookstore when I'm out later!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. PS. Oops... I should have proofed that better before I hit send. I meant 'kid in braids' for one.

  3. An old classmate sent me an email out of the blue: "Are you the twin that went to the principle's office to fetch the nurse the day the class bully hit me in the face? If so, I've been looking for you to say thank you". Yes, I was the sister who was outraged when I saw this happen 37 years ago in a crowded hallway. Shy, quiet Gentle Ben, the class nerd who never hurt anyone. The only thing I did to help was run to tell the principle and nures with my naive righteous indignation all over my face. I was sitting there when they brought in him bleeding and I was dismissed. Completely forgot about it until the email came. Now we are good friends in email land and although not my first best friend, a friend nonetheless.

    In today's technological world, anyone from the past can show up at one's doorstep.


  4. @Brenda: You can buy MFBF on Enjoy...

  5. I finished reading "My First Best Friend" this last weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed not only the memories, but how many of their childhoods put them on a path to their creative lives now. How special to learn more about Claire and Suzy and so many others. Now I know why I was always drawn to their work.

    I found an unexpected gem in Eudora Welty's passage, One Writer's Beginnings. I am one of those small town girls who spent the 40's and 50's (I am giving away my age) captivated by the movies. My special love was the musicals. I remember one summer when my real first best friend and I were permitted to slip in to see the last 30 mintues of "The Merry Widow" every afternoon. After paying the first day, a kind man allowed us to sit through Fernando Lamas and Ginger Rogers' romantic dance over and over. We both wanted to be a Ginger Rogers.

    Although I loved the stories, I was most fascinated by the backdrops and beautiful rooms. After reading Eudora's passage, it occurred to me that I have been seeing the same elegant, soft images I love in the movies in my Victoria magazines. Toshi's dreamy art always put me in the same frame of mind that I felt at the movies. It was one of those reflective moments that made me feel warm and fuzzy.

    To each of the women who shared their stories, I wish to thank you. Each one was special and made me appreciate being a woman. Jean

  6. I am anticipating the arrival of My First Best Friend any day now from Amazon, (along with Flora Thompson's Lark Rise to Candleford and F.H. Burnett's The Making of a Marchioness... good company, wouldn't you say?) I am eager to get my package and to read the stories of these very special women about whom you have shared. As for ways of connecting, I have found Facebook to be a wonderful way of finding many with whom I spent my high school and college days.

    I must tell you of the treasure I received in the mail just today. One of the ten issues missing from my collection of original Victorias was the beautiful premier issue. Well, I managed to find a copy online for (comparatively speaking) a song. I have seen them go on Ebay for as much as $150 (doesn't that just make you burst with pride?) Well, mine arrived in this afternoon's mail, and it is in very good condition. I am sure there can't be that many still circulating. I am so excited to finally add that treasure to my collection and to be a little closer to having a complete set. And now I am looking forward to sitting down with it and getting acquainted!


  7. Where might we find artwork by Toshi Otsuki? I've done a web search for him and his work, but no gallery or work comes up. Is he still practicing as a photographer?