5.15.2020

Friends send the same birthday card back and forth to each other for 35 years....... so far. Still going strong!

Recently I celebrated a birthday.  One of my oldest and dearest friends sent me a large envelope in the mail, sealed on one end with black duct tape (probably the only tape she had in the house at the time, because that's how she rolls) and when I saw it, I knew immediately what it was.

 

When I was 7 years old we moved to a new little town in the middle of nowhere.  Soon after moving, I celebrated my 8th birthday and I was allowed to invite one friend overnight to celebrate.  This girl was my first real friend in my new town and new school. 

My first birthday card from her was a piece of construction paper cut to the size of a postcard, in which she had cut out letters to spell "hAppY BirTHdaY" and added some little stickers, then covered the whole thing with a piece of clear contact paper.  I am positive one of her older sisters helped her make it.  She was the youngest child of 10 kids (yeah, we're all Catholic round these parts!) and they didn't have the money to go buying fancy-dancy cards so homemade 'everything' was the life back then.  (And in the 80's everyone was cool with it and there was no pinterest or social media to shame you into feeling like crap for not having the store-best of everything!).  It was my 10th birthday and to this day, I'm pretty sure I have that card tucked away in a special box somewhere.  I thought it was so 'cool' at the time and wanted to make everyone I knew 'cards' like that...

Fast forward through Catholic elementary school and junior high and into high school.
We stayed friends even though we migrated to our own 'groups' of friends as well.  We didn't hang out much as I was busy with my part time weekend jobs, boyfriends and friends.  She was busy with her own interests, partying on the weekends and a different group of friends.  But still... we had that friendship that transcended all our 'other' friendships.

For my 15th birthday she surprised me with a birthday card.
Completely unexpected because... what 15 year olds give cards to each other in high school?
And she didn't like shopping... and would had to have stopped into one of the two stores we had in our small town to buy it. And spent money on a card (remember, we were all poor Catholic kids from large families... no money except the little bit we earned at our part time jobs, that basically covered gas for me and beer money for her.

But it was cool, because it was really a way to say "hey, even though we are traveling in other circles right now, you're still a good friend and happy birthday!"

When her 16th birthday came around about 6 months later, I found her card in my bedroom and as a joke, I re-signed it and gave it back to her in the same envelope.

And... that's how it started.

The card was passed back and forth, and although it was often lost for a year or two, it always managed to turn up somewhere and there it would be... arriving in the mail to one of us and making us laugh.  "Oh my gosh... it's THE CARD."

The envelopes didn't last of course... with something like almost 20 addresses between us since then.  College, marriage, children, relocations.  Plus we often remembered to send the original 'forks' with the card.  I kind of remember the McDonalds fork circa 1985 as we have a 3 ring binder we were using as a friendship binder at the time and she brought home a fork, a packet of ketchup, used napkin and a McDonalds kids bib from her trip to Boston for one of her older sisters weddings.  The other fork? Not sure.  Circa 1987 (glad we had the sense to mark them at the time but we obviously assumed we would remember the story behind them).  I'm thinking the silver fork may be from the high school caf?

The original envelope is a light lavender.  Then, after I was married and living out in Los Angeles, I had to use a white envelope a little bit bigger.  Soon that was being taped up and taped over so much I'm sure the US postal service was calling us names under their breath....

It then graduated to a larger envelope, and finally, we made it to the big manila envelopes.  This year, I tossed it into storage inside a bright neon orange envelope, which will be sent to my friend on her birthday next December.

1985 - 2020 - still going strong.

This year she added a "50 reasons you are amazing" to it....  



The FORKS.


McDonald's used to have kids packets they would put on the high chairs for babies and toddlers.  They included a fork, napkin and plastic bib.  Maybe a spoon too?  I don't know.  We only have a McDonald's fork from 1985.




Make new friends,
But keep the old.
One is silver
and the other gold.......



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