IN ONE’S LIFETIME, we meet many people and establish acquaintances and friendships along the way – friends from school, university, work place, and those we made during our travels. Some last briefly, others longer. Some just fade away, and if one is lucky, a few will last a lifetime.
Today I am looking back – way way back – to my school days.
My first friends were those I made when in Standard One at seven years old (since I never attended pre-school prior to attending primary school). Today, more than three decades later, I still keep in touch with a dozen of them.
At this stage where 30 years represent three quarter of my lifetime, I dare say I have found some lifelong friends.
Together we went through 11 years of primary and secondary education, during which we’d studied together, participated in sports and year-end concerts; visited each other during festive holidays; attended a teacher’s wedding; got together to celebrate birthdays; went on class trips and wrote to each other during the long school holidays.
After school, we went on our own paths, a few of us went to university and graduated together; we were happy for each other as each built a career for herself; we were there for their weddings (two of them chose 11th October the same year to hold their dinner receptions, and being the good friends that we are, we made it to both, attended one and rushed to the other on the same night) and they came to mine; farewells (though a sad occasion) also bring us together, as recent as three months ago.
Our friendships have indeed endured the tests of time and distance, as a few have ventured abroad. Together, we have laughed and we have cried, through it all – good times and bad – we have kept in touch, though at times sparingly. After all, sometimes no words are necessary between good friends.
Many of us were classmates for most part of our school lives; some of us were together in the Prefectorial Boards, from primary school through secondary into Form Six.
The day we sang and “planted rice” together in Standard One (the song went “planting rice is never fun, from the morn till the set of sun, cannot bend and cannot sit, cannot rest for a little bit”…) fond memories were created and friendships sealed since then.
From primary throughout secondary, we sang, danced and performed in school concerts.
Over the years, we’ve gotten together for reunions and farewells…
Our friendships have indeed come a long way…
Greek poet Euripides said: “It is a good thing to be rich, and a good thing to be strong, but it is a better thing to be beloved of many friends.” Over the years I certainly felt loved by my friends. I have stacks of birthday and greeting cards and letters from this special group of schoolmates received over the years, to attest to that.
I have moved and lived abroad in four countries in the last 16 years. The fact that I still have them in my possession speaks volumes of how much I treasure those cards and our friendships.
These are a few of the many that I had laboriously scanned and preserved digitally.
More treasured cards…
Just how much do I treasure our friendships? Here’s the ultimate prove. Friend Q gave me this back in the early 80s with a message: “Hope you’ll put it in your TREASURE BOX & not in the Dustbin! (Humph)” (Bet you don’t even remember this, eh? Well, as you can see, it was in my treasure box all these years!)
Confession time… I finally had to discard them recently. It almost killed me, yes, it was very painful to part with these treasures which have been with me for more than half my life, but staying up on nights at end just to scan them was also exhausting! It’s both heartbreaking and backbreaking. No I’m not complaining, in fact it’s the least I could do, considering these cards had been carefully chosen and written with messages from the heart.
This page will hopefully keep part of the memories alive, while the rest stored on my PC will travel with me wherever I end up in future 🙂
To end, I quote American president Thomas Jefferson in describing our friendships: “It is like wine, raw when new, ripen with age”.
CHEERS to many more years of friendship ahead!