Monday, June 9, 2008

Fun Monday: the I remember when edition

Molly of Return of the White Robin is our hostess this week for a trip down memory lane. She wants to know this:

For your assignment tell us about a happy memory from your childhood. If you have pictures, please show us your pictures.
Oh, thank you, Molly. You have given me the chance to tell the story of the other Janet.

I know I previously haiku'd about all the blogging Janets out there. But the first time I ever met anyone with the same name as me was sleep-away camp when I was 10.

She was in my cabin. And she made a big -- ahem -- splash the first day by throwing up in the library on the camp tour. (Sorry, but it made quite an impression at the time!)

Anyway, she was part of the contingent from a different part of my state, and the cliques in the cabins kinda held for the four weeks. But by the end, we had all exchanged addresses and promises to write.

I sent out four letters to four girls, and, in a moment of serendipity that would change our lives, Janet was the only one who wrote back.

And then I wrote her.

And then she wrote me.

And so a penpalship was born.

It took about eight months for one of us to come up with the bright idea to use the telephone.

Please remember, this was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth -- before unlimited long distance, before email and instant messaging and when a long distance phone call was quite an occasion.

We planned it for weeks. Picked a time. She called. I answered. We had three minutes of heaven!

By the time the following summer rolled around, we had progressed to regular (but still short) phone calls and non-stop letter-writing. There was nothing more exciting than coming home from school and finding an envelope in the mail with my name on it.

And it was only logical that we had the equally bright idea to visit each other. To this day, it amazes me that my parents put me on an airplane and sent me to this familiar-only-to-me family and that her parents put us both on a return flight for a visit to my home.

Check out that hot and happ'nin' look of me at 11 (on the left, duh), and harken back, please, to that inner geek I referred to recently.

We actually continued this fly-by behavior all the way through high school. Summer wasn't summer without a visit to and from my penpal Janet. We kept vaguely in touch through college and kinda spiraled in and out of each other's lives during marriage and child-rearing, until we pretty much disappeared from view.

Then, one Passover about five years ago, I knocked on my parents' door for seder dinner.

My mother answered, looking like the cat who swallowed the canary.

"You'll never guess who is here," she grinned.

I had no idea -- and so she opened the door wider.

And there was Janet.

She had come to my town to take her daughter on a tour of the local colleges and had navigated to my parents' house by pure instinct alone.

It was like summer all over again.

This time, though, there is email and instant messaging.

We won't lose touch again.

Now check out Molly's list of other Fun Monday'ers and see what they remember of their happy childhood.

40 comments:

Molly said...

Oh Janet, thank you for telling us about the other Janet. This is indeed a wonderful story especially the part where you rekindled the friendship. You two must creating new memories all the time.

Faye said...

The story of the Janets friendship brought a tear to my eye. And how wonderful to be able to connect again as an adult. I'll be you won't lose track of each otherr again. However, suspect that nothing will be as good as those early letters and 3-minute phone calls.

debi said...

Tonight this made me cry. Very sweet.

karisma said...

Oh how wonderful! I always wanted a penpal when i was a kid, but it somehow never happened! I do however make up for it these days! LOL!

The Laundress~JJ! said...

God I love that story.

Thank you so much for sharing that.

Hootin' Anni said...

This, Janet, left chills down my spine. It was sooooooo good!!!! Thank goodness your 'other' Janet took the time to find you and drop by to see you! Wow, what a great story.


My Fun Monday is shared too, I hope you can stop by and read it, if you haven't already --since I'm just now going through the Mr. Linky's at Mollys before I get to my own comments to read who has visited!! Take care, have a great day. [PS --you have to scroll below my 'walk in the park' photos to reach my F M entry!!]

LceeL said...

Now that was a good story. And a cute picture of you and your friend. Good friends are so hard to come by - I'm so glad for you (and Other Janet) that you've re-connected. And plan to stay that way. A judicious and proper use of technology.

swampy said...

Oh, what a wonderful story. Love the swim suit.

Janet said...

That is so cool! Now you have to get her to start a blog so she can join the whole group (unless of course you prefer not to share her which is perfectly understandable.)

Tink said...

Aw! What a great story! I didn't stay in touch with any of my childhood friends and I deeply regret it.

Pamela said...

this was the best story Janet. It just tickled my spine with pleasure.
You look like a swimmer in your picture, or a future model with your skinny little butt. hee hee.

The Janet who is fond of Snape said...

What a great story! And I happen to love that bathing suit you're wearing :-)

HRH said...

THat is the sweetest story! I can't believe your/her parents flew you back and forth. That is so amazing. I laughed at the dinosaur comment because those phone calls probably cost around $10 a piece! Sometimes progress is good.

nikki said...

Oh, what lovely memories! I'm glad you guys found each other again.

Beckie said...

That is a GREAT story! I remember the days of long distance phone conversations and a timer. It was a huge treat to make a LD call. I'm glad you and Janet are back in touch.

Jenn And The City said...

That is the best story!

ChrisB said...

That is such a wonderful story of friendship and I'm glad for you that the other Janet had good navigational skills!
I had several pen friends when I was in my teens but the correspondence petered out, eventually. I do remember I had an American pen-friend
called Kathy and she lived in Ohio (can't remember where), I still have her photo and a couple of brooches she sent me as a present. I often wonder what happened to her!

Gattina said...

That's really a wonderful story ! such a long friendship !

Catwoman said...

What a fantastic story!

daddy d said...

Great Janet-Janet story. The long term bonding is special to hear about.

suchsimplepleasures said...

my question though...did she see elijah while she was standing at the front door?
what a wonderful story!!
i think about a very close friend i had...we both worked at a camp in northern michigan together...
she was from ireland (probably still is). had there been email and text messaging...i am sure that she and i would have remained close. but...due to having two lazy letter writers...we lost contact about two years after we met!! and...i still think about her!!
xoxo

hulagirlatheart said...

What a fabulous story! I loved hearing it.

anglophilefootballfanatic.com said...

Mazel tov! That's an amazing story. Wow. You both kept up the penpal thing. I'm shocked. Generally girls don't make that kinda thing last. Crazy that you found each other again.

Heather said...

That was an amazing story. The power of a written letter - so much better than e-mail. And I remember those days when I waited to call my boyfriend after 11:00PM to get the lower rates. Our kids will never no that sacrifice!

Alison said...

what a wonderful story Janet...thanks so much for sharing...the power of childhood friendships is definitely strong!!

Jo Beaufoix said...

What a brilliant story, and you were both so cute. It's weird hearing about the camps you have in the US as it's not something kids do here. It sounds amazing.

Burfica said...

That is so cool that you found her again!!!!

I have lost contact with almost all of my childhood friends and or pen pals. but I still have two very special friends who we were friends through school and still are.

Grand Life said...

A couple of years ago I reconnected with a childhood friend and we got reacquainted. It was so nice. I had really good friends in jr & sr. high school and wish I knew where more of them were. Have a great week.
Judy

Melanie said...

That story made me cry- how sweet. I wish I had kept in touch with my penpals from my childhood.

Our Happy Happenings

ellen b said...

Janet! That's an absolutely fabulous story and experience you've lived. Very cool. I'm glad you chose this one to share...

Rose said...

That sounds remarkably similar to my next door neighbor. We wrote, and our "hi-tech" idea was to record cassette tapes (remember those) in lieu of letters sometimes. Wish I still had those! I'm sure they were riveting! And I too got to fly to Connecticut to visit her and believe me, my mom was super protective and we were poor. Don't know how she did it! But it was amazing. Thanks for prompting that memory.

Olive said...

Penpalship - now that sounds like a wonderful word for a relationship from a distance. From your description it sure sounded like you had oodles of fun at camp. Thanks for sharing some of them with us.

IamwhoIam said...

To this day I find there is still something magical about a real letter. I have friends I haven't spoken to in year yet I know in this crazy world if we ran it each other we would pick up the friendship like it was only yesterday.

Bren said...

I love that story, Janet. You're lucky to have such a lifelong friend.

Peter said...

Long may the "Janet and Janet" story live on.

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

Having friends from childhood right through your life is wonderful. I always imagine it must be very grounding!

grace said...

OMG! all those years! I admire your friendship. that was a good story, I loved it. thanks for sharing

Rachael said...

What an awesome story! I'm glad you got back in touch, and I also think it's super awesome that your parents were so supportive of your friendship!

Canadian flake said...

That is a totally amazing story...it almost made me cry!!

Thanks for sharing.

Junebug said...

Sorry I'm late with the comments, Janet. I can't seem to get you into my google reader. But I always read you even if it is late sometimes. What a wonderful story about friends. Congratulations on Roo-girl's back in the cheering mode too. I think it builds a lot of confidence to be a cheer leader. Just as long as it doesn't go to their head. I think that's a matter of character anyway, not just being popular.

 
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