The Friends of my Girlhood
Back in the days of film cameras, I was an avid “photographer.” I got my first camera – it was a sturdy little purple thing and used 110 cartridge film – when I was eleven years old. I had well-documented photographic evidence of every friend, every flower and every tree. It is a lucky thing I started babysitting so young because much of it went into paying to develop those blurry pictures!
As I got older, and at some point eventually gained use of digital cameras (though not often, and I didn’t own one until I was married!), I still had this weird urge to print my digital photos. After all, I’d been storing my photos in albums for years and it seemed like the right thing to continue. Just because the camera had changed I didn’t see why my method of saving photos had to as well!
I grew out of that eventually, and thankfully, though in the end, I had a dozen of these photo albums to contend with – all of them taking up valuable space. I decided to remove the photos, ensure everything was available to me on my computer, and then keep some good ones, and toss the rest. I discovered a wonderful photo storage container on Amazon that has helped me shrink a literal shelf of photo albums into a small box to preserve and protect my photos.
As I went through my pictures, I relived a lot of old memories that I hadn’t thought about in a while. Fashions from the early 90s came back to haunt me a little and make me laugh. After an hour or so, I was struck by an observation – many of the girls in these pictures were women that I am friends with to this day. The same smiles appeared in many photos, from the pictures on the playground, through graduation and even beyond into wedding photos.
One picture struck me and I set it aside to look at again later. I am standing between two of my oldest friends on the riverbank. I have known them now for over twenty years, and in that photo I must have been about fifteen years old. We were looking pretty sassy in our cut off jean shorts and me in my prescription sunglasses! It made me reflect on the years since then. The girl on one side of me is now a nurse and a mother of two. The other does social work and has a compassionate and poetic soul. It is a funny thing to look back and see how far we have come, and laughing to know the three of us would never have suspected where we would be in our thirties (or that we’d ever actually grow up)!
It did my heart some good to see that regardless of other mistakes I have made over the years – and there have been many – that I have held on to some of these special women. Women who remind me where I come from and how far we have come and don’t need me to explain who I am. Women who were the girls that remember my parents fondly, who could come in without knocking, who even when we went to different schools passed notes at the bus stop. I am honored that these women grew up as well as they have and still call me a friend!
And I am grateful I took the time to clean out those albums and rediscover how much they all still mean to me!