Letter from America
by Ellen Neumann
Sullivan County, New York
31st May 2012.
I spoke of my childhood friendships in the first instalment of this article. How sweet, young, naïve and optimistic I was! The friendships I honed in my formative years tell little of who I am today. In my six decades of life I have known thousands people, befriended many, loved a few and treasured almost all of them. Although my family has always and will forever be the primary force of my existence, it is the ties of friendship that sustain my soul. These ties have also broken my heart a few times along the way and saved my sanity as well.
Friendship is oft-times used, abused and taken for granted. Human nature dictates our need to be a common society of creatures therefore we create alliances or “friendships” to smooth our path along life’s highway. When I was in my 20s I blossomed into a social butterfly of sorts. I took on the world as my comrade. After several years of birthing my children, nurturing and raising them, I was ready to re-enter the workforce. I took a job as a nightclub cocktail waitress in a major resort hotel. Exciting environment with lots of music and dancing, fast-paced night-time hours and excellent money in my apron pockets were the watchwords of the day. The perks were lots of new people to meet, greet and befriend.
Most of the relationships I encountered with my workmates were shallow at best yet intense and interesting. I was a fine friend to have yet many of the people I met had their own very definite agendas which were not always in sync with mine. Many of these fair-weather friendships were just that: sizzling hot in the whirlwind summer season then cooling to a fizzle when the off season came along in the winter months. Yet here in this place full of shallowness and lukewarm alliances, I met the girl who would become my lifelong friend and true soul mate.
Aida Piva Pazos! A Brazilian beauty, Aida was full of life and fun. She had been a Flamenco dancer, a linguist, married (and then not married) several times over. She is bright, loyal and very intense. She is also the one person on the planet Earth who knows my strengths as well as my Achilles heel; my frailties and faults as well as my attributes and fragile heart. Yes, she knows it all and loves me unconditionally, sometimes in spite of it all. She understands my feelings and emotions; standing by me no matter how tough or drastic the times in my life may have been or will be in the future. I never have to guess or wonder for I am secure in the fact that she will hold me up in the rare times I cannot do so for myself. We have stuck together in the good times and the bad. We have cried each other’s tears, fought each other’s battles and never lost faith in this magnificent friendship we share.
Our friendship has withstood the test of time; of distance and of human error. For 37 years we have been faithful to our friendship. We have aged. We have grown in spirit and in years, Aida and I. We have survived drama, sorrow, disappointment, unspeakable secrets and even death. With joy in my heart and pride in our special bond, I tell you we are still tight as a big bass drum. I am blessed to possess what is referred to in today’s world as a BFF. She is surely “all that” and more.
Next time I will talk about longtime friendships I have lost over the years and new ones I have found. How about you? Do you have a BFF? Have you lost a friend who you thought would be a true one forever? Talk to me!
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