14 June 2006

Happy 40th to Us!

Forty years ago this month (it weirds me out just typing it) I met one of the great loves of my life. Our family was moving into our new home in Vinings, and a neighbor came by with her little girl. That little girl, dear readers, is well known to you: Renae, my oldest, dearest friend.

Renae and I were destined for friendship. My mama went to high school with her mama, and her maternal grandmother grew up with my maternal grandfather. When we were kids, we used to tell people that we talked to each other through our mom’s bellybuttons when they were in school.

Holly, Renae, and Me
Broad Street, Downtown Athens
Renae’s Birthday, December 1983

We were wonderfully weird and nerdy when we were kids. I say “wonderfully” because we stayed kids as long as we could. We played in the creek and had great adventures and let our imaginations go wild. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we’re such creative souls today.

When we grew older, we spent most of our time walking around and around and around the block, talking and laughing and dreaming. But I have this problem. If I’m on your left side, I slowly drift toward you, eventually bumping into your left shoulder. I’m OK if I’m on your right side. And yet I always had to walk on her left side. How Renae can stand straight after years of shoulder collisions is beyond me.

We drifted apart a little in junior high and high school. We’d hang out some, but not as much as when we were kids. Later on, we’d see each other at Georgia State and do things on occasion (such as that drunken and disastrous “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with Holly). We reconnected during the spring of 1983.

Renae has brought a lot to my life. She opened up the world of art to me — from the Paul Klee poster hanging in her family’s home when we were kids, to art books and art discussions, to museums and galleries. Without Renae, I’d probably be stuck on Van Gogh (in 1984, Renae forbade me from buying yet another Van Gogh book — I had three — and I followed the rules) and would have missed out on so many artists I now love.

We’ve seen each other through loves and heartbreaks, career highs and lows, weddings and deaths. We’ve encouraged and pushed, advised and commiserated, bitched and moaned. I adore Renae, and look forward to another forty years with her.

To this day, my friendship with Renae is one of the most valuable things in my life. I’ll share some of our stories during the next few weeks as we celebrate our 40th.

*Holly: Our celebration comes in September 2008.

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At 6/14/2006 08:29:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

What a great post, and me - the people hater. Hmph.

At 6/14/2006 09:42:00 AM, Blogger Jeremy said...

I remember all my close friends. There was Donna, and Kelly, and Dylan, and who could forget Steve? Awkward little David Silver and nerdy , but magnetic Andrea (Ondrea). Man, I loved those guys. They really made me feel welcome when I moved from Minnesota. And who could have known that we would have all gone to the same college? Crazy. Maybe Donna's real dad knew. Good times.

At 6/14/2006 12:45:00 PM, Anonymous Renae said...

Wow, 40 years and 38 with Holly. Thanks for all your love and support and laughs and listening. I think what is amazing is that we have moved and changed and are all so different in so many ways yet are still connected with deep bonds of respect and unconditional love. My bank account may not put me in the ranks of the wealthy, but my friendships with Beth and Holly put me on par with Bill Gates. Thanks Beth for all your love and affection for forty years.

p.s. I clearly must love you as I am letting you get away with putting a picture of me, at 36 years of age and in silly pajamas, on othe internet!!

At 6/14/2006 12:47:00 PM, Anonymous Renae said...

Oh, and that photo of the three of us musketeers is one of my absolute favorites. We look like the teeth sisters!!

At 6/14/2006 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DALE: See, we people aren't so bad. Now, hit Yonge Street and thrill the ladies.

JEREMY: You were always good about keeping up with your pals.

At 6/14/2006 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...


But I love your silly pajamas. I was bummed that I was in big black PJs and an oversized sweater ...

I think Simeon took that photo; I know he went with Holly and me for that Athens birthday celebration. Or maybe the handsome RON took it for us.

We three girlies are lucky, aren't we?

At 6/14/2006 03:03:00 PM, Blogger barista brat said...

how very cool to have such close friends! i'm sure you'll still have those long walks around the block, even if you have to use the aid of a walker!

At 6/14/2006 09:46:00 PM, Blogger Peter Matthes said...

In the end family and good friends are the best things in life.

At 6/14/2006 10:39:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

BRAT: Holly, Renae, and I are very lucky to have been close friends for so long. We're all very different, but it's just so easy with those two.

PETER: Welcome! And you are right. [BTW, enjoy your blog.]


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