When you've been around 44 years, it's amazing what memories replay themselves like movies in your mind. There's one in particular that when I think back on it, it literally seems like a scene from some John Hughes movie. You know, those ones he did with Molly Ringwald. (Fun Fact: I watched "Sixteen Candles" so many times one summer I could speak along to it word-for-word!)
I went to a fairly small high school, but two even smaller K-8 private schools funneled into our high school. (Note: my high school was housed under the same roof as the elementary and junior high. We all shared the same cafeteria, too.)
Going into 9th grade, I sat in the same gymnasium I had sat in for the first day of school in 7th and 8th grade, but I noticed several "new" kids coming towards where my class was assigned to sit. The new Lutheran and Catholic school kids had arrived.
Believe it or not, I was actually much more shy back then. So, imagine my suprise with this bright-eyed, beautiful, and loud girl picked ME to sit with. This was followed by her sitting near me in any class I had with her. I can still hear her loudly stating, "Hi, I am Emily! We're going to be friends!"
As she continued being nice to me, I tried to explain to her over that first week of school that I wasn't popular and hanging out with me probably wasn't going to be good for her reputation. I was a bit of a nerd afterall. She just laughed at me anytime I would try to change her mind. Her goal was to make one new public school friend. For some reason, I was that new friend.
Four years of high school came and went like the blink of an eye. Proms, parties, wedding dances at the Catholic Hall, skee ball at the Lake, and more memories than I can count include one Emily Rose Oligschlaeger. She always made me laugh. I always remembered how to spell her last name.
Then, college came. We didn't just drift apart, there was this huge divide between us and it hurt so much that sometimes I really thought I hated her for picking me to be her new public school friend. That's the funny thing about loving people, isn't it? Great bonds can mean deeper wounds.
However, in a leap of faith we both took in our mid-20s, we wrote letters to each other. We explained how we felt, and how incredibly sorry we were for not understanding each other. Most importantly, we accepted we were two very different people on two very different paths.
Now, we are in our mid-40s. We are still very different people. Sometimes I want to strangle her (and I am sure she wants to strangle me, too). Yet, we've made it. We've survivied a lot of loss and thrived on a lot of love. Sure, we may only get to see each other one to two times a year if we are lucky, but we both know we'd jump in a heartbeat to help each other out. It's so wonderful to have someone who has your back, isn't it?
How funny it is that when I think about a scene in my life that could easily be in a movie, it is that moment when Emily decided that I was going to be her new friend. I do not know what possessed her to do so, but I am thankful to this day.
Starting year 24 as a Journalism educator. Photographer. Mom. Daughter. Nature-Junkie. Super Fan of Missouri State Parks and Conservation Lands. Plotting a nomad retirement, but enjoy homeownership. Contradiction is my middle name.