Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I made some very good friends during the short year that I lived in London. My friend Karen, who I met at work, was among the small group of people there who became my closest pals and confidants. Except she wasn't a pal, exactly. She was more like an older sister. There was a significant age difference between us, yet we had a real connection with each other that made the difference seem nonexistent. We talked and laughed together like true peers. Perhaps there is someone in your life - older or younger - with whom you feel the same kind of connection?

I didn't know anyone from the U.K. before I went there. Upon meeting her, I thought Karen was the epitome of what it meant to be English. She had the most perfect accent (when my brother visited and met her he told me that she sounded just like Mary Poppins.) She was very small and graceful; she had been professionally trained as a ballerina. Her hair and clothes were always neat neat neat, and she never said anything without purpose. That is to say, all of her words were chosen carefully, and she never said "um", or had any kind of unnecessary fillers in her speech. She was like a character out of a book.

Before I give you the impression that she was some kind of perfect, stiff English lady, let me assure you that I'm strictly talking about her mannerisms and speech. She was also wickedly funny, and she had a real devilish side. My job as a peon was fun because Karen made it so.

When I left she gave me this pretty box. Inside there was a lovely card and a gold locket for me to remember her by. It was a beautiful presentation - thoughtful, unique, carefully chosen. It was exactly who Karen was. I keep the box in a drawer with my stationery and use it for things that go along with correspondence - different colored calligraphy pens, stickers, gift insert cards. Sometimes I find a greeting card that I like I save it here until I know who I want to send it to.

At this time of year I am constantly reaching in the drawer for stationery and all the things that go along with it. And in seeing the blue box, I'm reminded of my friend.


Jen said...

What a lovely story and so nice that you have a lovely remembrance of your friend. I have a friend like that also. She is 13 years older than me and really is like the older sister I wish I had been given (instead of a stinky 'ol brother).

Don't you find that the presentation of a gift is so important? I think it makes the gift that much more valuable, emotionally. I vow to put more thought & effort into gifts from now on! Of course I just finished reading Shabby Chic the Gift of Giving so it is fresh on my mind.

I love handwritten correspondence too. Isn't it funny as people so into electronic communication that we would really love the real thing? As a matter of fact, if I had realized that this comment was going to be so long, I would have just sent you a letter!

RaNae said...

What a beautiful memory so glad you thought of sharing it with us.

'MN' said...

Dp you still keep in touch with this friend? I hope so. :-) But, things do have a way of slipping away from us.... -sigh-

Meg said...

We don't keep in touch like we should...