I visited my oldest friend this week. Jan and I started school together in September 1959, in Mrs Braithwaites’ class. We were in the same class all through primary school and then went to the same secondary school. We did some of the same “O” levels, and then were in 2 “A” level classes together. Then we both headed north from London, me to Manchester and Jan to Salford, so it was easy to keep in touch. Jan became a physiotherapist and I became a teacher. I introduced her to Mick, a teacher friend, and they married......must be 32 years ago now. I was one of their bridesmaids, and we have remained friends ever since. ( Jan and Mick’s daughter was one of my bridesmaids).
There have been some periods when we only saw each other once or twice a year but when my daughter was very young, I made a weekly journey across the Pennines, from Yorkshire to Lancashire to see her. It was Jan who helped keep me sane as I learned how to be a mother at the ancient age of 37.
So, you get the picture, we are each others’ oldest friends. It’s one of those relationships where you just pick up where you left off.
When I returned from my visit last week, thinking about all the times we have known each other, I dug out an old school diary. The extract in the photo is from 6th July 1962. Jan and I were 7. Clearly our teacher ( Mrs Childs) wasn’t bothered about calling “Indians” Native Americans at that stage, and she did give me a gold star for my work ( that’s on the next page ). I can't imagine us climbing up onto the sides of the swing now....but I can remember it well. I must send this to her, and see if she remembers it too.
This is a picture that Jan's daughter, Kirsty, drew for me when I was looking to move to Yorkshire, in 1988. Kirsty said this was the house I should buy. Kirsty would have been 7, the same age I was when I made that diary entry back in 1962..... no doubt about it..... her artistic abilities were much better than mine. I dont think I can blame it on only having wax crayons in 1962 and Kirsty having a full set of felt tip pens.