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  • Writer's pictureJill Farren

My Best Friend Goldie

Here and now Best friends are those that you choose, stand by, cheer for and love. Best friends are loyal, they are there whe

n you feel afraid, excited, over confident and not confident enough. They are fun and truthful. It isn’t always rainbows and unicorns but that would be too predictable.

Way back then I met Goldie in 1972 when we moved into a new development in North York. I was eight years old in grade 2. Many families were moving in and it was a treasure trove of kids my age. There were six of us Hollyberry Trail kids within a 2 block radius and that’s where it all began. We played together, told secrets, we loved talking about cute boys, planning sleepovers and eating dinner at each other’s houses. We engaged in girl fights here and there but without missing a beat we were best friends again.

Our friendship is 50 years give or take a couple. If I mapped out highlights of peaks and valleys over the years I will say thank you God and Universe that you sent me an excellent best friend. Some days I may not have been as enthusiastic to come to that conclusion. We often went home for lunch and I will never forget the day we both decided to have lunch at school. I was just about to bite down on my cheese sandwich that was made with love and care from my Mom when she ruined cheese slices for me forever. “Jill, did you know what cheese slices are made of?” she said. “No” I replied. “They are made from dead people”. Now where was my sense of humor then? I don’t know but lunch was a twinkie and an apple that day!

We were just kids….

We ended up in the same classes throughout the years more often than not. Grade 6 we were together again and loved it. Mr. Jose Romero was our teacher, he was from the Philippines with long black hair cut in a hippie shag, long sparse chin whiskers and he wore causal jeans and poncho’s every single day, he was soft spoken and played the ukulele and the drums at our circle time in class. At recess twice a day he would chase us and catch us under his poncho and we would belly laugh every time. He was a kind and spiritual soul, a wonderful teacher with no ulterior motive but to bring joy to each day.

Common stories and experiences to reminisce about is priceless, to have someone so attached to your history gives a sense of comfort even when I am alone. Goldie is one of the funniest people I know. My Dad enjoyed her humor immensely and her quick wit was swift. She was single at the time when we had been invited to an engagement party. This was an elaborate affair on a Saturday evening. We sat at a table with my parents, sister and her husband. A team of strong looking gentlemen marched out to the tune of a song sang in Greek holding a large wooded hand held table with a large pig sitting on top. This is not something we had seen before. My Dad told Goldie at the table that in this tradition the single person at each table had to dance with the pig. Cheryl quickly responded with “Sure, why should this Saturday night be different than any other Saturday night”.

Not all days were fun and games. We had a grown up fight that I thought would end our specialness. I was at work and she called, asked if I could meet her at a nearby restaurant, I agreed even though I was mad, crazy mad at her and we thought at lunch we could iron out our differences. Our discussion started out somewhat mature and grown up, after all we were adults not fourteen. We must have forgot that as our voices elevated, bad words were used and a server was enjoying the entertainment. We didn’t give it much notice but it was evident she was more interested in us because we could see her straining to hear everything we were saying. She had a heavy tray with several plates on it and as her attention was geared toward our table she missed the step, the tray flew backwards and she fell down the stairs. This was nothing short of a comedy scene classic. I slammed money on the table and left. This is serious. The next day at work I got a call from my Goldie. “Want to try lunch again today?” “Same time, same place?”

We were just kids….

We would laugh so hard, get ready together for the Friday night dance, share lip gloss and borrow clothes. She would write notes for my teachers forging my mom’s signature.

I got a call one day when I was at work, Goldie wanted to talk about something with me. We met on central ground and close to where we both worked. We met at my parent’s house for lunch when nobody was home. She told me she had a potential life threatening health scare and the results wouldn’t be available for 6 weeks. My heart was broken. I was scared. My optimism was gone but I assured her nonetheless that she would be fine. I thought for sure she was going to die. Six weeks of unrest had finally come to an end and we celebrated she was free and clear. Now I was free and clear to start worrying about things I love worrying about; my weight, my bad haircut, and what to make for dinner.

We were just kids….

We choreographed dances to le freak, Donna Summers songs, the cake in the rain song, we had contests, and performed for our parents. We made Halloween costumes together and went to see the same movies over and over.

I got a call from Goldie while I was at work unloading boxes in a storage room, I was alone and so I took the call on my cell. It’s Goldie, she probably wants to hook up for coffee. I’m wrong. This call was to let me know she has breast cancer. I am stunned. This isn’t happening. I feel the room spinning, I start seeing black spots in my line of vision. My legs are weak all of a sudden. The loss of hope is overcoming. I don’t have the details, I can hear talking on the other end of the phone but I don’t understand the words I’m hearing. How can I make this better? What can I do? I can’t do a damn thing but be there somehow. My warrior came through her treatments and healed. Whew, now I can concentrate on dropping my daily visit to the bulk barn to buy caramel balls that I inhale on the way to the car.

We were excited and exhilarated at the birth of all our kids, weddings, and divorces, we rejoiced in her finding the love of her life. There were some hard times, there were fun times, there were times when busy took over but we know that we always have each other etched deep in our hearts and can access at any time. I know that because like you and your best friend, ours has stood the test of time. I love my best friend that I nicknamed Goldie but she is Cheryl to everyone else.

Happiness is cherishing your best friend forever.

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