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October 29, 2017

Elderly Mothers and Leaving Friends

Mom may not have made any lasting friendships @CarriageInn, but I certainly did. And I will miss seeing them every day.

How and why do we make friends? For some it is a case of having something in common. Enjoying the same things. Being from the same town. Having grown up together. Being family. Knowing the same people. Attending the same church. Years of mutual sharing. For others, it’s just being together.

It’s been only six months. As someone pointed out, I have virtually nothing in common with the many residents at Mom’s Facility. And yet, I feel as though I have known them forever. I’ve seen them three times a day for six months and we’ve become friends.

Perhaps we aren’t Besties or BFFs like Lady Y and Lady M. But I have shared their stories and commiserated with them through the traumas of Walker Wars or Pew Battles or Food Riots. I’ve listened to the stories of good health and bad, in happy times and sad. The loss of friends and the acquisition of new ones. But these will always be my friends.

Friends are amazing things. They are always there. We can rekindle old relationships. Or we can develop new friends that may last as long as the old ones. It is hugs and laughter and smiles and real, sincere pleasure at getting to be in contact again. Being with friends is a true joy. Seeing them again brings on a glow of pleasure, a surge of happiness, a cozy warm feeling of comfort, doesn’t it?

Over the last week, I had the opportunity to visit with many friends, some going back 30 years or more, and to meet many new ones. A presentation on Texas cattle at Hallettsville brought me back in touch with academic friends and three ex-students from 1992. Texas may be large, but we still run in the same small circles. They haven’t forgotten me, and I haven’t forgotten them.

Two presentations to “furriners,” mostly Yankee northerners, at Road Scholars in San Antonio gave me the opportunity to meet dozens of new people. I’m certain I will never see them again but if we should meet, there will be the questioning look and the inevitable question, “Haven’t I met you somewhere?” “Oh, of course. In San Antonio.”

And then a presentation to the lovely ladies of the Alamo Couriers Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Out of the forty or fifty women, in attendance, I had only met one before. To my surprise there were many Hispanic members whose ancestors lived in San Antonio during the Texas War for Independence. These are their descendants, and they are still here hundreds of years later. If the saying is true about Mexicans in early Texas, “Todos Somos Primos” (We’re all cousins), then I’m sure there are many in the group who are my cousins. I left having made several new friends.

One even invited me to join her for the “Rumbo a 300 años,” (that’s “On the Road to 300 Years”-San Antonio celebrates its 300th anniversary next year). A very elegant, reservation-only, well-attended conference about which I had heard nothing. It was held at the UNAM-San Antonio branch campus. (UNAM is the Universidad Autónoma de México, the main Mexican university). To my surprise, the two main speakers turned out to be friends of mine from 1990, going back to attending the University of Texas together.

And then the presentation in pretty, little Seguin. That really was “old home week.” I’ve presented to their group many times before over the years and it was a wonderful hug-fest. A number of past students and Hispanic cousins. Exchanging updates, catching up on family stories, new grandbabies, millennial grandchildren who won’t get married, and the loss of those young cousins. That was friendship at its best.

No, maybe the last breakfast today @CarriageInn will be best. Someone reminded me of the old Girl Scout saying: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.”

Fortunately, I am still committed to giving presentations at Carriage Inn on the last Tuesday of every month. So I won’t lose these friends. They may be silver now, but they will be gold someday too.

About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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