An Alphabet Of My Life: F


Being an only child with no siblings to play with, friends became important to me at an early age. Once I went to Primary School at the age of 6, I soon discovered that being good at sport, especially football, was a good way to make friends.

But I was below average at sport.

So I made friends with the other kids who lived near me, but didn’t necessarily go to the same school. Playing out, as we called it, was done on the streets in the London borough I lived in. If there was an older boy in the group, he was considered to be in charge of the rest of us. Girls rarely featured, unless as the younger sister of one of the boys who was having to look after her.

Looking back, I realise that few if any of those street playmates ever became friends for more than a few months, perhaps a year. It was when I went to the secondary school at the age of 11 that I soon made real friends. These were the friends who came to my house, and I went to theirs. I got to know their families as well as I knew my own. We ate at each other’s houses, and spent most of the school holidays together.

Once we were in our teens, we dated girls together, drove around in each other’s cars, and even went on holidays together, or in small groups. Only leaving school and going to work started to break those bonds, followed by marriages, and moving to different areas a long way from each other.

However, two of those friends are still among my closest friends. We have been that way for over 59 years.

Another ‘category’ of friends would include work colleagues. Some of those are still in touch, and I see one of them around once a year. Another one speaks to me on the phone every month. He is in his 80s now, but we chat as if we are both still at work together in 1981.

Other friends include the group I once shared a house with, when I was 19. I wrote about meeting up with some of them again recently, one of whom I had not seen for 50 years. But it was as if we had just ‘left the room’ for a moment.

Getting older also means losing friends to illness, and that sad list gets longer every year. That is only to be expected, but that realisation doesn’t make it any easier.

Unlike family, great friends rarely judge you, and almost never have expectations of you. You can forget to call them, cancel appointments to see them, and it is always okay. You catch up when you can, no hard feelings. Modern times have given us email and text to help communicate. Before those, we had real letters, and landline phone calls. You had to make the effort, but it was worth that effort.

Since 2012, I have also made Blogging Friends. Genuine close communication with people I have never met, and most likely never will meet. But those friendships are as real as if I had gone to school with them, shared a house with them, or worked alongside them.

True friends are worth their weight in gold.

62 thoughts on “An Alphabet Of My Life: F

  1. Hi Pete, this is a nice post. I’m always interested in other peoples experiences of friends. I moved schools 14 times, sometimes twice in a year, so I didn’t make long term friends at school. I never went to a regular university, I did my degree through a correspondence university and I also worked so I didn’t have time to develop friendships. I studied every night and both days of the weekend. When I started work, I made some friends at work but when the firm when through a difficult time in 2017, they all left and I changed department. So, in summary, I’ve never really had friends. I’ve been friends longer with many bloggers than I have with real people. Of course, I have my family and we are close.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I wasn’t an only child I was the eldest of 3 girls and do have friends I made at senior school still although a few of those have passed unfortunately and as you rightly state,Pete I have been blessed to find some good friends among the blogging community whom as you say we may never meet in person xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a lovely post, Pete. Moving abroad and moving around doesn’t help keep up with people, but I have managed to keep some old friends and some of the ones I met in the UK, and thanks to my volunteering at the radio, I’ve met local people with similar interests, although some of my friends are very far away now. I agree on the blogging side of things, though. Thanks for the ongoing support, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was beautifully written Pete, brought back memories of old friends, and also new friends I’m currently enjoying. I agree, my blogging friendships are near and dear to my heart, and most of these people I have never met. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very well said, in fact you are often closer to your friends than your relatives. There are some things that bind you. For example (not that this applies to me) but once you’re in the military, you are glued for life. The LAS is not as glued as that but you still respect your peers (like Pete & Rob here). It surprised me after I left when I got lots of letters from guys there.

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  6. True friends are hard to come by. One of the most interesting friendships I’ve forged in life is with Chris, a Frenchman who spotted an English tutoring ad I’d posted during my time spent in Paris. I returned to the States in 1995. Fifteen years later, after staying in touch for the most part by exchanging annual Christmas cards, we began a songwriting collaboration, which continues to this day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m an only child too, but have only ever been comfortable with a very small circle of friends. I’ve known them for over 40 years. We get together when we can, but if truth be told, I’m a loner and prefer either my own company or just being with Sam. That’s the way it is, and I can’t see me changing any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Friends, whether touchstones or regular, are invaluable. The trouble with making friends for years from one end of the country to the other is those bonds, whether substantial, vocational or kindred spirits tend to fall away into, as you said, a phone call, an email, good or bad news about a family member or theirs. When someone you spent your high school free time with sends a cryptic note in response to an inquiry about his wife you know how time and life have gotten in the middle, and how he’s never been one to hang personal laundry out. Here’s enough information to figure it out. Good post, good topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So true Pete, I have a friend from when I was nursing 30 years ago, we don’t often get in touch but I still go and see her when I go down south if she’s not working, and of course there’s my camera chum Sophie.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My friends are like gold to me, in person and blogging friends. My oldest friend is one I have known since were babies. Our dads were best friends so we spent a lot of time together. We still keep in touch after all these years.

    Liked by 3 people

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