When you spend most of your adult years running as fast as you can just so you don’t fall behind, it is too easy to lose touch with your childhood and allow your earliest friendships to slip away. I have gone through the usual life changes and even re-invented myself a couple of times, all the while never looking back.
Something made me attend my 30-year high school class reunion. Actually I know what that something was. Blame in on the net. Not long after I finally got internet access and began my first tentative on-line forays I did an uncharacteristic thing. I searched for and found schoolmates and through them discovered the plan to throw a reunion bash.
I had been warned against high school reunions. The prevailing attitude was that if you left certain friends behind then there would be little to no chance that they’d have any place in your current life. Suzanne is my brilliant example of the exception that proves the rule.
We became nearly immediate friends at the beginning of 7th grade in junior high and continued to be mates and co-conspirators through high school graduation. Suzanne “Spidey” Halstead (nee Hausmann) and I shared great times, many involving music. We trod the boards acting and performing in plays, musicals, talent shows, concerts. I dug up these images, not our biggest or best roles, but they are the only pictures I have of us. OK, so it wasn’t High School Musical or Glee, but it was fun.
Suzanne was my designated vocalist for the first and only public performance of a song I wrote, which I couldn’t sing myself while playing the keyboard. That experience taught me that I shouldn’t play piano or write songs either. Really. But she was terrific.
Fast forward to today, where Suzanne and I have reconnected after all this time. As completely different as those intervening 30 years were for each of us, we found much common ground. Happily we live close enough to each other to meet regularly for coffee and decompression at the mall. (Neither of us likes the mall, but the location is convenient.)
Although I count many many crochet confidantes and good friends in my life today, all are unconnected to my life B.C. (Before Crochet)… that is all except for Suzanne, who was there while I trembled on the brink of this new career as a crochet designer. I like to think that we both have artistic souls, me in my yarnish way and Suzanne as a real artist and art educator. Over the past years since the reunion we’ve swapped craft for art; I have gifted her crochet shawls and designs and she has presented me with her artwork, oil pastels, paper, prints and… well… art stuff.
The need to earn a living had constantly trumped her desire to do her art. Only recently has Suzanne the artist blossomed in a beautiful way. Last week I had the pleasure of attending a reception celebrating her first gallery showing, an exhibit of many of the oil pastels published in her inspirational book project, Drawing Nearer.
Why I treasure Suzanne so dearly is not simply because she is a wonderful, talented and true friend but, because she is not of my crochet world, she can put everything I do into a different perspective, specifically into the perspective of an artist. For example, in 2008 she gave me this oil pastel for my birthday and asked me to describe what I saw. My first impulse was to hold it this way:
In my geeky space cadet way I thought alien landscape or deep sea scape, post-apocalyptic city scape, purple mountains majesty. She gently suggested that I turn it around to look like this:
Now I saw the Carina Nebula. Stalactites. Living alien ships.
Suzanne will be the first to assure you that the meaning of art resides solely in the eye/mind/heart of the beholder and that any interpretation is valid. However, when she explained what she was thinking about when she created “Patterned Light”, I had to bust out laughing.
This is an homage inspired by and representational of the way in which the light from a window plays through the fabric of her favorite window valence. Which happens to be one of my crocheted shawls. 🙂
Gotta love her.
However, I will continue to see the Carina Nebula.
That… or a girly Romulan Bird-of-Prey.
I am such a geek.
A heart-warming and hilarious story!
What a great celebration of art and friendship!
This is a wonderful story of a long and old friendship. Thank You 🙂
I was not able to travel to my 30th reunion, but I did order an 8×10 photo of the group of classmates who were there.
Oh how the years go by…
II loved reading this. I also connected with high school friends after our 40th reuntion and find that we have so much in common, much that we never knew back then…it’s just amazing. And I’m glad to see that my initial thoughts on her piece (after turning it over) where light coming through a crochet piece. Makes me inspired to get back to some of my interests…painting and crochet. Thanks for sharing.
What a great story. I’m talking to my high school friends more now -through Facebook – than I did when we were actually in school.
Love the Bird of Prey, but I think it definitely looks like a Leviathan. Long live us geeks!!
I’ve been following your blog and so far this is the best post that I’ve read. (Haven’t read all your old posts yet.) What a heartwarming story! I already guessed it was your shawl she drew before I got to end of the article:) However, I was thinking that it looked like the Aurora Borealis.
What a truly fabulous story of friendship and art…and, I love your geeky nature.