As little girls we have such an innocence about ourselves. We live what we are taught and try to do right in as many ways as possible. And sometimes, in one of those very special moments, we do right and something wonderful happens...we find a friend.
Flashback 43 years to 1970, and yours truly is in the third grade. I am in line for milk in the school cafeteria and there is a girl in front of me who just realized that she didn't have her milk money. Doing what my parents had always preached, to share what you have with those who don't, I stepped in front of the girl, offered my money and requested two straws for my milk. One for me and one for the little girl who was soon to become my very best friend!
Alison and I were pretty much inseparable as we moved on through grade school and junior high. We joined youth club cheer leading, we played at one an others homes, we went to high school and marched in the marching band together as well as the indoor drill team. When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 13, Alison was the only student in my class to have any idea of my illness as she was charged with bringing my school work home to me during the times I was too sick to attend school. To this day I really don't know what she was told about me, all I know is that she was there for me and did her bidding without a second thought.
Alison is a big part of some of my most treasured girlhood memories. She was in fact my closest friend during most of my youth and inspired in me a sense of exploration in the way of travel. She shared so much with me including a postcard from every place she visited when her family went on their summer vacations camping across the country. Places I, in my young life, never would have experienced without her incredibly wonderful and descriptive postcards.
In high school we continued our friendship as she and I enjoyed the same circle of friends, and on the day we graduated Alison came to my graduation party with a gift for my parents. (They were almost a second set of parents to Alison and of course my parents simply adored her.). She presented her gift as a thank you for always being part of her young life. It was a set of Corning Ware casserole dishes which in the years to come were always referred to as the "Alison dishes". My parents still have those dishes to this day and every time they are brought out for use my dear friend Alison is fondly remembered.
Now for the wonderful news...yesterday it was announced that my childhood friend is the new incoming president of Lafayette College in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley. She is the 17th president and the very first female president in the college's 187 year history. How exciting for her and what an amazing accomplishment for a 51 year young women.
Gosh I can't believe the years which have flown by since we grew up during the 1970's in a small town just outside Philadelphia. I remember the two of us making up games, creating special drinks from what was in the frig, and being simply beyond thrilled to be in possession of a nickel so to purchase some Big Daddy bubble gum or a sleeve of Starburst at the local Five and Dime. I also remember Alison as not only a great student but a diligent student. Actually she was diligent and tenacious with regard to any and everything she set her mind on doing. So for Alison to be not only referred to a national scholar and author of two books but also as the new incoming president of Lafayette College, well all I can say to my friend is bravo, Lafayette College is damn lucky to have a women like you at their helm.
On a bit of a selfish note I am ecstatic beyond belief at this transition because Alison has been living in Vermont for the past 23 years and now she is coming home. Lafayette is only about 35 minutes from me and I am elated that my childhood friend soon will be just around the corner.
Congratulations my friend...I am so happy for you in this appointment and very proud of all the accomplishments which has filled your career. I feel like I have missed out on so much of your life because of the distance between our homes, now you are starting a new chapter in your life and you are beginning it back in our home state of Pennsylvania.
Alison I am simply thrilled for you and I wish you much success along with all of my love!
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