Recent entries on this blog would suggest that I'm a huge proponent of change. Well, that's certainly true at the global level, but on a more personal level, I continue to be astonished by the miracle of things that don't change--or rather, change so gradually and so organically that their growth can easily escape your notice.
It's been at least thirty years since Christina, Kristin, and I first met at Mrs. Wilcox's house, where fifth- and sixth-grade band members from our hometown's three elementary schools practiced during the Carter-era energy crisis. The public schools were operating on what they dubbed the "Viking Schedule," which basically meant that the physical school buildings were closed for weeks at a time during winter, and all extracurricular activities--like the band--were farmed out to willing homeowners, god love them.
Christina and I struck up an acquaintance that blossomed into a full-blown adolescent "frenemy-ship" when we all started attending the same junior high the following year. Specifically, Christina and I became enmeshed in a (mostly!) friendly competition to see who could get the highest grade in Mr. Chappelle's 7th-grade English class. At the end of the year, I learned that Christina was going to London on a family trip, which prompted me to write the following letter:
Wow, was I a bossy 12-year-old, or what? This letter goes on for quite awhile, providing specifics about the charm in question and hypothesizing about several other scenarios that might play out with the $5/London/charm mission. You may recall that Christina has served as the official friendship archivist for these 30 years. On the occasion described in the preceding link, she re-gifted me with the "charming" letter you see here, which I remembered but hadn't seen since I sent it. It ends as it begins:
Though I can't find it, I'm pretty sure I still have the postcard that Christina sent me in reply: a photo of the chopping block in the Tower of London, bloody hatchet and all, with a note reading "Wish you were here so I could chop your head off," or something along those lines. Needless to say, after this epistolary exchange, a life-long friendship was born.
So, Christina, a very happy birthday to you! Here's to at least another three decades of accumulated memories.