Coming up next is the twenty-first part to Diane Richardson’s “When I Met My Hubby.” Yes, you read right. The twenty-first. I believe Diane skipped part twenty and went straight to part twenty one, but I'll let you know if I do find that lost part twenty. In the meantime, I'd like to start a three part series featuring older bud Ann and her friend Carolyn. The loss, and regaining, of a lifelong friendship.
Ann von Dehsen
The Politics of COVID
Carolyn and I have been friends since kindergarten. Our neighborhoods were not far apart, and we’d meet on the corner to shlepp to elementary school together. She’d often come to my house after school and after socializing with my mother whom she loved, we’d practice “Shuffling off to Buffalo” or singing songs from South Pacific, although we excelled at neither. Later years in Elementary school, we’d meet at the man-made George Street Pond every Sunday in winter to skate for hours before going inside for hot chocolate. Our moment of shared drama at age 12 came when we were shopping at Woolworths, looking for a long time at their 25 cents nail polishes. As we left, a large man approached us and brought us into a small room in the back of the store telling us that he saw us steal nail polishes and had us empty our purses and pockets as we tried not to cry while eventually proving our innocence.
In high school we hardly had any classes together and were involved mostly with different crowds. We did have study hall together and were often threatened with detention for laughing too loudly. We also celebrated each other’s birthday every year.
Carolyn went south for college, and I went north, and we lost temporary contact. We reunited again for weddings, but Carolyn lived in Cape Cod and again our communication was inconsistent. Eventually Carolyn moved to West Chester just a short distance from my Media house and our friendship felt like old times. We celebrated our daughters’ weddings and the birth of our grandchildren. We were there for each other when it really mattered with a mix of tears and laughter.
And then along came COVID. We spoke on the phone, and it became quite obvious that we differed in our approach to the pandemic. While I was mostly staying home alone, my friend was living a pre pandemic lifestyle, socializing with friends and family at Sunday dinners, birthday parties and holidays. Phone calls were less frequent as we both knew we had different views on COVID and tried to resist judging each other. When the vaccine became available, I excitedly called her telling her “I got my vaccine, did you?”
“No, and I don’t plan to” was her response. I told her I was worried about her and didn’t want her to get sick.
“Don’t worry I won’t.” End of phone call. Our last phone call was in September when I called to check about the vaccine once more, thinking she must have gotten it, after all she still teaches 2nd grade. But no, her district did not mandate vaccines for teachers. This time I told her once again that I really worried about her, but couldn’t hold my anger when I said, “Don’t you feel it’s your responsibility to get the vaccine in order to end the restrictions that you despise?” Then she talked about how I must listen to “fake news” and our reciprocal anger grew as we ended the phone call.
And now it is Christmas and I miss her. It’s very hard—do I chose my own convictions over our friendship? For now, I tell myself when this is over perhaps, we can resume our friendship I sent her a Christmas card and hope she is ok. So another friendship gone bad due to the polarization of COVID politics.
We now return to our continuing story, "When I Met My Hubby, Part 21" by Diane Richardson:
When I Met My Hubby Part 21
So, this particular Sunday morning Joe and I were relaxing and talking, and I again asked him if I asked him for something could I have it.
He answered, “I told you before, you can have anything you want. What is it that you want?”
I said, ”I want to be your wife. I want you to buy us a house and propose to me. I don’t want to go on a honeymoon. We’ll honeymoon in our new house. Can I have that?”
He said, “You got it.” So, we went house shopping and picked out a nice house in Overbrook Park. We gave a housewarming and invited all our friends and family.
There were guests all over the place, including the patio, deck, and balcony. Joe called for everyone’s attention and said he had an announcement to make. He stood and took a ring out of his pocket and attempted to get on one knee, and asked me to marry him.