Saturday, August 30, 2008

Happiness is Getting Together With Your Friends

I've made lots of friends over the years, and lost a few too, but there are only a handful who have stayed close despite living miles away.  This past week I got together with my college roommate, Cathy, who lives near South Bend, Indiana.  We shared a room in a rented house as undergraduates.  Both of us were English majors with an interest in art.  I decided to teach, and she decided teaching wasn't her calling and went into journalism instead.  

These days I am retired from teaching, and she isn't working for a newspaper any more, though she is very busy with a high school freshman son, some freelance editing and her artwork.  She's a wonderful pastel artist who has started a pastel society in South Bend. Busy as she is, she made time for me. We each took a train to Chicago on Sunday and had lunch and a walk around at the Art Institute.  Then we both took the South Shore train back to Indiana.

Her husband Bob, a Notre Dame grad, oversees the official student publication of the school as well as its literary magazine and yearbook.  They were married at the log cabin on Notre Dame's campus, and I was honored to stand up in that wedding in 1976.  This week we hiked around one of the lakes on the campus, where I took this view of the golden dome.

We took a couple day trips, one day to a couple nearby Amish communities.  I would have liked pictures of the barefoot wives hanging out laundry on the line, the children (also barefoot) playing in their schoolyards, or the young men and women on bicycles, but that isn't something they appreciate, so no photos.  I especially enjoyed seeing the men putting bales of hay on wagons pulled by horses.  My dad and his neighbors put up hay together, though they used a Farmall tractor. Another day we drove a few miles north to Michigan and Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve near Niles.  

There are miles of trails, and several different themed gardens.  Late summer showed off the black eyed-susans, and Joe Pye weed teeming with butterflies.

Here she is in the herb drying house at Fernwood.  This little series of posts occurred to me because I share her fondness for Charles Schulz.  She was once a "little red-haired girl" and she actually sent him homemade valentines.  Later, she struck up a friendship with the cartoonist that lasted until his death.  In 1997 she invited me to a writers' conference in California and I got the chance to meet him and some of his family.  Unforgettable.

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