Dear friend,

I miss you

you with your over-loud laughter

laughter that is contagious

contagious epidemic of happiness

happiness spreads all around

around you no one can remain sad

sad tears dry on salty cheeks

cheeks blossom when kissed by joy

joy from you effervescent presence.

~Melanie Blackwell

Friendship – A Journey

In my experience, friendship comes in many forms and different degrees. Some people come into our lives for a season. They are perhaps part of a lesson we have to learn, or a challenge we need to rise up and meet. We also could be part of their lesson.


Some people are acquaintances. We know them and would help them if it were needed but we are comfortable with the amount of the friendship.


There are also close friends. People you trust to be there for you or as it is said, ” they have your back.” And you would always call and suggest lunch knowing that you will have a wonderful time and laughter will fill the afternoon. We all have this type of friends and they are important to our emotional well-being. They may even share stories of embarrassing moments in their lives and in your life. Trouble brings you quickly to each other for help, understanding and acceptance. Sadly, these times also cull out the real friends from the ones who can’t be depended upon. It is good to know these things.


“My friends have made the story of my life. In a thousand ways they have turned my limitations into beautiful privileges, and enabled me to walk serene and happy in the shadow cast by my deprivation. ”   —Helen Keller


” I am treating you as my friend, asking you to share my present minutes in the hope I can ask you to share my future plans.”   —Katherine Mansfield


“Friendship is mutual blackmail elevated to the level of love.”   —Robin  Morgan


” I cannot concentrate all my friendship on any single one of my friends because no one is complete enough in himself.”   —Anais Nin


” We need old friends to help us grow old and new friends to help us stay young.”   —Letty Cottin Pogrebin


Then there are the very lucky who have had the blessing of a best friend. I have been blessed with one. I will tell you a little bit about our story. We have been best friends for thirty-seven years. We have laughed, cried, accepted, warned and loved each other knowing that this friendship will end only when one of us passes on. We also believe it will continue in a different manner in the after-life. Over the years, we have had some funny moments of serendipity between us. We have only lived in the same city together for a short period of time. Yet our communication has never stopped. We have even sent each other the same birthday card. Yes, the exact same card to each other. We have sent each other presents wrapped in the same wrapping paper. We were a thousand miles apart that time and each of us went to the store and purchased the same wrapping paper. This brought about the best of phone conversations. We laughed, cried, and felt our bond strong and healthy. Today, we are crones. We are older when we look into the mirror yet when we see each other we see a flash of speeding images of how the other has looked over the past thirty-seven years. I am going to be finally retiring to her city. I can’t imagine a better way to end this journey of life than by sharing it with her.


The picture you see below is one of us standing on a bridge over a brook at a botanical gardens. I took the shot focusing on the brook and our reflections in the water. It seems to me that this shadowy image will be what we leave here when it is our time to move on. It seemed precious to me.



 The reflection of our thirty-seven years of friendship.

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2012


Valerie’s Autograph


Valerie Hughes was my best friend when I was 10.  We weren’t able to be friends for very long but I never really found a better childhood friend.  I hope by some miracle that she sees this post and remembers me.  Here is what she put in my autograph book:


We were both mad about horses.  I still love them, I wonder if she does too.  Valerie’s family was in a circus and they had to move around a lot.  When Valerie left we wrote to each other a lot.  She sent me drawings, handmade puzzles, and all sorts of little gifts.  I can’t remember what I sent her.  I hope I was as nice to her as she was to me.  When Valerie knew me, everybody called me Sally, not Sarah.  They still do when I go back home. Here is a typical letter:


“mister Endresby [sic]” was our teacher in the final year of primary school.  Everybody was scared of him but, with hindsight, he was the best teacher I ever had.  Here is a photo which shows a portrait (near the centre of the photo) that Valerie drew of him:


Not very flattering!  His nickname was Bugsby, I can’t remember why.  You can also see some of the puzzles and games that she made for me.  I love the fact that she knew me so well that she created puzzles that I wanted to do – you can see the coloured pencil marks where I completed them.  Here are some photos of the little numbered circus caravans that she made for me:

circus numbers  circus caravansAnd here is Valerie’s self-portrait of her doing one of her circus tricks:

circuspicShe tried to teach me how to do the tricks but I wasn’t really bendy enough. 🙂


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50 Things I’ve Learned in 50 Years…#22

  • “Friends do not always reveal themselves.”

    I am still hanging on to the theory that we were put on this earth to share with others. Whether it be our time, our possessions, our abilities, our talents, our compassion, our stories…whatever we have to give, I think we are supposed to give.  When doing so, sometimes we are blessed with interactions that lead to friendships.

    Friendships are gifts. The problem is that sometimes they are hard to identify. If only they came in neat little packages tied up with a bow…with a little tag that says, “Really, I’m your friend..for real.”  Between reading social cues, dealing with your own personal insecurities and the fear of forming assumptions, it can become complicated…at least it has been for me. Maybe I’m just a freak so unique that I have trouble with this. I am a very open person. This could hinder the process of some potential friendships. I probably scare the hell out of people. Would I change this about me? Absolutely not.

    So what have I learned about friendships?

    I’ve learned that often I am afraid to call them that.

    I know what I think a friendship should be.

    My eclectic personality requires a wide variety of friends.

    I’ve learned that the more time someone gives me, the more I feel they are truly my friend.

    Although I do not fear rejection (because I am secure with who I am), I get frustrated when I can’t determine the intentions of others. I am not sure if this is a problem on my part or theirs.

    For the most part, I think I am a good friend.

    I treasure the friendships I have.

    A friend can come in any size, race, age, occupation, social background, education, etc.

    Openness is key to me.

    Your spouse can be your best friend.

    Anything pretentious, materialistic or superficial does not interest me.  My relationships need to be deeper.

    I have learned that even at my age, I still have lots to learn about establishing friendships.

    In my opinion…

    A good friend truly cares about you, would do almost anything in the world for you, listens to you, advises you, confides in you, laughs with you and cries with you.

    A good friend is someone who doesn’t care what you look like, accepts all of your faults, your mistakes and never gives up on you.

    A good friend has no ulterior motives for being your friend.

    A good friend considers the reasons you have become who you are.

    A good friend sees your positive traits and enjoys them in the moment.

    A good friend has time for you.

    A good friend would sincerely miss you if you were gone.