The last time I saw Lisa she was bald and toothless.
And, so was I.
This was our second chance meeting…our first, was as newborns at Wyandotte hospital, where we shared a nursery and our mothers shared a hospital room.
Our mothers never should have been at the hospital on this same day for our births. I was born a month before my due date and Lisa had complicated things during her mother’s trip to the ER where she’d gone to have a broken arm set by deciding that she was going to be born too.
The new mothers struck up a fast friendship during their week long hospital stay and when it was time to go home they each promised to keep in touch.
Sometimes, life has a way of getting in the way and the weeks passed quickly for the busy mothers. And so they never did find time to reconnect.
They were delightfully surprised to see each other again standing in the aisle of St Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, each holding baby girls dressed in white, it was baptism day.
Again the mother’s promised to keep in touch and once again they did not.
Some 40 years after last seeing Lisa at St Elizabeth’s my mom and family were planning a surprise birthday party for me. The theme for my party was, “This is your life”…and so thinking how much fun it would be to invite Lisa and what a mystery guest she would be they worked through the magic of the internet, found Lisa, and invited her to my party.
She was to be billed as “my first friend”.
Lisa was not able to attend the party, but she sent me a card and a letter. She also sent a beautiful little trinket holder, which has a home on the window sill in my kitchen.
I use it to hold my pennies from heaven.
And, to remind me of the kindness of strangers.
It’s been ten years since Lisa sent me the card and the trinket box. I kept her letter in a storage bin with some pictures and other things I wanted to save. Every now and then I would be looking for a picture or something and I would stumble upon her letter.
I have the same reaction each time I stop and think about the woman who sent it…my mystery friend.
I wondered all about her…we started out so much alike, sharing important things like date of birth and a Christening day…. Did we have more parallels along the roads our lives have taken us? Did she crush on Donnie Osmond? Listen to Grand Funk? Did she fall in love in high school? Did she marry, become a mother? Was she dreading old age as much as I?
I was curious about Lisa.
This year for our big “5-0” I decided to look her up and repay the favor.
The favor being a big smile on my face and a warm fuzzy in my heart.
Lisa had sent an article and a picture of herself with the letter. She worked at the post office then, and as luck would have it, she was still working there when I called and spoke with a supervisor about my plan.
On the day of our birthday(s) I shopped and got Lisa a silver plated compact mirror, which I had engraved to say…..
(A good friend of mine had sent me this exact gift and I loved it so much I thought it would be a nice keepsake for Lisa too).
And I brought her a big yellow HAPPY BIRTHDAY balloon too.
The gift and the letter Lisa sent to me years ago told me that she was kind and warm. When I caught up with her again I saw for myself that I was correct in my assumption.
“Happy birthday” I said handing Lisa the balloon when she walked out of the back room at the post office.
“You don’t recognize me do you?” I asked.
“The last time you saw me I looked like this” I continued as I slid a picture of me (and my darling mother) on Lisa and my Christening day.
“You’re THAT girl aren’t you?” she asked, smiling
We talked a while. I told her how much I loved what she did for me on our 40th birthday.
She told me that she often reads the thank you note I sent to her.
She posed with me for a couple of pictures and we exchanged contact information.
And, we both laughed when we promised to meet again 10 years from now…
Sounds fun, but I truly hope it’s sooner than that.
I forgot to tell her how good she looks with hair and teeth.