Friendships Across Time

I spent part of my spring break visiting with friends I have known for a long time. During a couple of lengthy walks, I was struck by how easy it was to say very little. It wasn’t that we didn’t have a lot of catching up to do, but there was no hurry. The easy cadence and long history of knowing each other made it comfortable not to feel compelled to fill the air. There is lovely confidence and humility when you are with good friends, and it is pretty powerful when you are with someone who knows your story and the arc of the person you have become. 

As our students, particularly the seniors, are looking ahead, I imagine they are thinking about the friends they have gained and lost during their years at Poly. Adolescence has always been marked by experimenting with or trying on the kinds of people you spend time with inside and outside of school. To be sure, sometimes I sidled up to people I knew would provoke my parents' ire. I could sense that my parents weren’t entirely thrilled with my new friend, Alex, who on the surface appeared to be just a tobacco-chewing, sports-car-driving foil to my earnest and achingly cautious approach to life. He was a lot more than that to me—and his outward confidence didn’t tell the whole story. Alex taught me to laugh at myself and not to worry so much about what others thought.

In March, one of my closest high school friends sent me a Robert Parker book. He and I read the Spencer novels religiously when we were roommates in Cambridge a few years after college. Of course the Boston setting had an appeal, but what we loved most was trying to cook the dishes he described. While our success rate was marginal at best, the experience cooking something that didn’t involve a microwave or boiled water sparked our culinary curiosity. I called him as soon as I received the book, and we talked as if no time had passed, both of us older and wiser but still wrestling with the hopes and the fears that we shared forty-five years ago. 

Be well,