A half a century ago Lee Harrison, Kathleen Huebner, Irene Nunn, Charlotte Toal, and I arrived at college. Just as millions have been doing the past several days. Like them, we had no idea where life was going to take us. During the past three years on Facebook I caught up with my college chums. There were tales of great joy such as children and grandchildren. Also there were chronicles of tragedy such almost dying around age 40 and losing everything, including the kids' baby pictures, in a fire.
It took a while before we began to confide our current ups and downs. But confide we did. And shock. The support did, as the cliche goes (we writers do permit ourselves a cliche about every 10 years), spiced up the victories and halved the sorrows. Regarding the latter, Harrison missed her neighbors in Ohio after her move to North Carolina. Huebner missed her mother who had died all too recently. Yes, it was in her own bed, in her sleep. But an easy death doesn't do all that much for the suvivors, does it.
When I had to put to sleep the love of my life and buddy for 18 years feline Jason several weeks ago, the Gang of Four was there for me. They listened. They responded. There were my vows never to adopt again. Then the desperate posts that I must adopt immediately because I couldn't enter an empty house. Then the wailing that I went to two shelters and wasn't ready to let Jason go. Not yet.
Today I was ready. I filed an application for a five-year-old dog at the Animal Haven, North Haven, Connecticut. His pet parent had died. If the application goes through I am re-naming him Lee, after Harrison. (Males are called Lee). He still needs to be neutred. So, it will be a while before he comes home. But, I can visit him every day. My heart bursts with a joy I didn't envision I'd be capable at age 68.
Facebook makes possible again the kind of caring and the immediacy of it that we experienced in the dorms when we were girls. Added this time around is the wisdom of women. Doesn't get any better than that.