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Gold Friends

by Judy Henderson Prather ’73, DMin ’02
BAA Communications Coordinator


Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
–Joseph Parry

I just returned from my fifth annual girlfriends’ reunion. Thanks to Janet–our organizer and the heart of our group–and thanks to the connecting power of e-mail, about a dozen women from the Childress High School Class of 1969 come together every June for an extended weekend reunion. And thanks to Deanna, who has a big, rambling house and the gift of hospitality, we all stay together for a three-day slumber party. What took Janet’s insistent pushing to get started has very quickly become a cherished tradition, and we choose the next year’s dates each year before we leave.

I confess I was less than eager that first year. It had been thirty-five years, and I hardly knew these women anymore. To be completely honest, I wasn’t even sure I would like them, but those feelings quickly evaporated. Our first evening together, Lileesa looked around the room and said, “You know, girls, we grew up good.”

She was right. Not that any of our lives have been perfect; each one of us has had her share of losses, pain, and poor choices. But there was so much grace in that room, you could almost reach out and touch it. And while we couldn’t be more different in some ways, we’ve avoided potential conflicts with one simple rule: Only two subjects are off limits–politics and calories.

Starting on Friday, new arrivals are met at their car with hugs and help carrying luggage. And when it’s time to leave, the ritual is performed in reverse. During the days between, we stay up long past our normal bedtimes and wake when we feel like it. We lounge in pajamas without any make-up, share kids’ and grandkids’ pictures and stories, eat and talk and laugh, then eat and talk and laugh some more. We divide up the chores and work in at least one shopping adventure and a good chick-flick. And on Sunday morning, we gather to share concerns and celebrations and offer our prayers for each other.

I spent my childhood with these “girls.” Without them, a big chunk of my story would be missing. It’s a celebration of old friendships, and you just can’t make new old friends.

Part of what we’re about here at the alumni association is keeping old friends connected–to Baylor, but also to each other. To classmates and teachers who influenced us, shared our stories, watched us grow and change, laughed and cried with us, celebrated new babies and new jobs. To those people you can turn to and say, “Do you remember…?” And they do.

Here at the BAA, we love hearing about alumni reunions. Let us know about yours. If you’re like the CHS Class of 1969, you’ll take lots of pictures. (I’m talking LOTS of pictures!) So send us one to include in Family Album or Down the Years. If it helps you get started, call just one old friend and make plans to meet during one of the programs sponsored by the alumni association. After all, these kind of reunions are the main reason we plan Homecoming, Heritage Club, and Fling.

And as you read this, if you’re feeling envious because your old friends don’t ever get together, then do something about it! Toss the idea out there and see what happens. You’ll find that e-mail is a wonderful way to organize.

But you can’t have Janet–she’s ours.

***

To learn more about this year’s very special 100th anniversary of Baylor Homecoming on October 23-25, go to Homecoming.

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