— Relationships —


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Good friends are like portals to the past and the hands that help move us into the future. In the last week I’ve gotten together with a number of good friends. One I don’t see often, but when we do, we pick up as though one of us just stepped out of the room for a few minutes. 

No “Tell me what you’ve been up to?” We talk in shorthand and enter the conversation in midstream.

Last Saturday my dear friend, Rob, and I met for brunch at one of my favorite restaurants, La Fonda’s on Main. Cappy Lawton, the owner—of two of my favorite restaurants—happened to be there as well. It was like coming home: a comfortable familiar place with old friends and great food. 

Cappy’s been my friend since I first started seeing my first husband, Philip. We all drove fast cars and would get together in the huge parking lot that wrapped around Philip’s company and spend the afternoon with spotters and stopwatches to see which car and driver made the fastest time around the building. I was the only female. The guys didn’t like that I beat them sometimes, but it was never a problem. Precious friendships were formed during those days, but out of that group, Cappy and I are the only two still standing.

Rob also drove fast cars back then, but we met in college geology class and both had a thing for minerals and crystals. Our shared interest was the beginning of me and Philip and Rob and our countless trips to abandoned silver mines in New Mexico and Arizona in search of malachite, azurite and truncated quartz crystals. And then, when we needed more of a challenge, we moved on to digging for Mayan artifacts in the jungles of the Yucatan.

Rob is the closest thing I have to a brother. He’s family, and I love him dearly.

If you read Part One and Two of “One of My More Bizarre Summer Vacations,” it was Rob who was worried to death when it was 11pm, and I hadn’t returned from my journey to see where the serial killer priest allegedly buried women in a remote part of Mexico.

Rob remembers what I wore in 1974, when I drove his family‘s Jeep down into the canyon on their ranch to look for magic mushrooms, and at brunch, when the waiter took our order, Rob remembered I don’t like runny eggs, and I’m not crazy about coconut. 

Then there are the girlfriends I’ve made since James died. Compared to Rob, they’re relatively new friends, but I love and appreciate them. Last night four of us met for wine and pizza. We’re all single, about the same age; three of us are widowed; two of us have had breast cancer. Since our husband’s died we’ve encouraged one another and shored one another up when tough anniversaries roll around. But now we have something to celebrate because one of them has found a prince, and she’s getting married! 

I’m just getting to know the newest member of our group, but she comes with great stories. Like the girlfriend of hers who met a man on Christian Mingle. She checked him out, as best she could, and after meeting several times for coffee and once for drinks, he invited her to his house to cook dinner for her. When she excused herself to use the bathroom, she noticed a closed casket in one of his rooms. Without stopping to pee… She headed straight for the front door—didn’t bother to close it—got in her car—didn’t close that door either—and backed out of his driveway as fast as she could. She’s never heard from him again! 

How strange is that? Would you have stuck around?

Great friends can never be replaced, but as we age, we will lose some to death and debilitating illness. It’s vital that we continue to make new friends. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. When was the last time you reached out to make a new friend?

Love, Brenda


  • Mithra Ballesteros March 9, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Fun read today! I think your writing style is evolving. Are you writing more? Working on that memoir I hope?

    • 1010ParkPlace March 9, 2019 at 7:21 am

      Thank you, Mithra. I’m not aware my style is evolving, but I hope that’s a good thing. Yes, I’ve started the memoir. Much harder than writing my blog because I’m digging deeper and the subject matter is difficult. My story isn’t an easy one to tell. When I get stuck with one chapter I move on to another one, knowing I’ll come back to the first one at some point. Other than the subject matter, the hard part is writing in first person… the immediacy of making sound like it’s happening now. xoxo, Brenda

  • Carla March 9, 2019 at 7:35 am

    I love this so much. It’s so true. I’ve been blessed with making an abundance of new friends the past year or so and need to keep reminding myself to stay the course as I get older XO

    • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      That’s great, Carla! Yes, we need to stay the course and not give up because making friends as we age is more difficult. We no longer have the same access to people we meet through our jobs, our husband’s work, our children’s school. I’m happy for you! Brenda

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au March 9, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Loved your eclectic group of friends Brenda (and all those exciting adventures you’ve had!) – and I agree that making new friends in Midlife is a challenge. It used to be so easy when the kids were young and we’d make friends with other mums, or even further back in our teens and twenties. I’ve really struggled since my 40’s to find new friends IRL. I feel like I’ve made up for it a bit with all my lovely blogging friends – I have connections all over the world who I treasure and that’s a great consolation prize for the dwindling friends nearby x

    • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      Leanne, I love the friends I’ve met blogging, and they’re all over the world, like you! I’m going to England this fall and hope to meet several women I know from online. Four years ago I went to Paris and met my online friend, Esther Zimmer, and we became real, lifelong friends. We still need to work at meeting new people in our area, but it’s difficult to ask a woman you’ve talked to in the grocery store if she’d like to have coffee. I’m sure her radar would go up, and she’d wonder what our ulterior motives are. Mine would. xoxox, Brenda

  • Leisa Hammett March 9, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Haha. Always the one with tales of adventure, you are, Brenda. OMG. The casket. The mines, Yucatan, racing cars. xoxo

    • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 1:37 pm

      Leisa, Early in our relationship I remember my first husband telling me someday I’d be glad I did all of these things and had all of these adventures, and he’s right. I’ve lived an extraordinary life, one I don’t tell many people because I’m not sure they believe me, but I have photos of most of them! Haha. Maybe I should do a picture memoir! Thanks for commenting. I love seeing you here. xoxo, Brenda

  • Michaele Hall March 9, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Brenda, you are so right about the need for good friends around, both old and new.
    My New Year’s resolution for 2019 is to reach out to friends and have breakfast, lunch or supper. So far I have managed to get with at least two a month and it has been so rewarding. I now have friends reaching out to me to get on my “list”. As we grow older there is nothing more wonderful than connecting and reconnecting with wonderful friends. Have a joyous year and keep enjoying your friends!
    XOXO, Michaele

    • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      Thank you, Michaele! Brava, sweet lady! So smart of you! Keep it up! I keep thinking I’ll have a monthly wine and cheese and conversation group here at the house, but I’ve yet to do that. I kept saying I’d do it when my house was finished. Now it’s I’ll do it when my courtyard is finished. If anyone saw it now, they’d think pigs lived here… Seriously. Real swine! Mud everywhere and there’s no grass. xoxo, Brenda

  • Donna March 9, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    I felt that connection when we spoke, as a couple of long lost friends. I learned, untrusted and mostly I laughed. It’s all good

    • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      Me, too, Donna! Like with my friend, Rob, we picked up our conversation in midstream, like we’d known one another forever! We should do that again! xoxox, Brenda

  • Taste of France March 9, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    You do spin a good tale! Your friend Rob is a gem. Many people never know such great friends; you are lucky not just to have known him but to still have him around.
    Your girlfriend group gives me hope for the future. I’ve picked up and moved so many times and will probably do so again, and I wonder about making friends in yet another new city. I always do, and I’m sure I would, but it does seem harder with age. OTOH, many others are out there stranded, and it’s just a matter of meeting them.
    Your memoir would certainly be a best seller, and would make a good movie!

    • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      TOF, I don’t have a feel for how long you’ve lived in France, but I know it’s long enough to speak and understand the nuances of the language and the customs and places there. It’s gets harder with age because our vehicles for meeting people become smaller. I’ve met three wonderful women while I was walking down the street in NYC, and we’re still friends. We go to dinner when I’m there, and one went to Italy with me last fall. One woman and I have so many things in common we call ourselves doppelgängers! I wish we lived closer as I’d love to have her in my life on a regular basis. Ah the memoir… It’s proving to be challenging and time consuming. If I don’t step up the pace, I’ll be 85 before it’s finished. xoxox, Brenda

      • Beckye March 13, 2019 at 6:44 pm

        So you’ve started?! Hurrah!!! So excited! Let me know when I can pre-order! So happy for you!

  • Maylis March 9, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    I would’ve looked into the casket before leaving…

    • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Girlfriend! Seriously Maylis? What’s the happy ending to looking inside? Even if it were empty, I can’t think of ONE reason why he’d have a casket in his house. In fact… I don’t want to know anyone who would. What if he heard you or had a camera trained on that room and came up behind you, pushed you inside and locked it? There are some seriously sick people in the world. Perhaps I’m jaded, but no thank you! Brenda

  • Sally March 9, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    I would have been too curious to leave without asking about the casket. No matter the answer, I’d never go out with him again.
    Saying this, your friend may have saved herself from something really bad happening. Scary!!

    • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Woah! Sally! You’re the second woman who’d want to find out what was in the casket BEFORE she left. And by asking him… What if he’s some sicko? “My, my, my, said the spider to the fly.” Do you really think he’d let you leave after that? Lordy me!!! Maybe that’s why I escaped from the jungle in Central America. I didn’t wait to see what happened next, because none of the possible scenarios were in my best interest. I seized my first opportunity, did what was necessary and got out of there! Now I’m going to worry about you and Maylis! Have you taken a self-defense class? Brenda

  • Elizabeth March 10, 2019 at 7:30 am

    I always love hear ing about your adventures, I forgot about the serial killer story! As for your friend and the date, that is frightening!

  • 1010ParkPlace March 10, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Hi Elizabeth! Loved your scripture, today. I left you a comment. I grew up reading Nancy Drew. As an 8 and 9-year-old with severe asthma, her adventures and her bravery gave me hope I wouldn’t always miss out on things, that I would grow up and have adventures. Even Donald Duck and his nephews… I loved when Donald took Huey, Dewy and Lewie to Angor Wat in Cambodia. It’s still my dream to go there, but I don’t have anyone who wants to go with me, plus last month, a dear friend’s husband got dengue fever there from a mosquito bite. Their photos from the hospital don’t look like anyplace we’d want to be. He wound up in a “hotel room” with an IV drip, sleeping for days. Even now his strength is less than half of what it was, and he’s young and fit. I’m delighted you like reading my blog. Thanks so much for telling me, Elizabeth! Brenda

  • Donna O'Klock March 11, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Brenda – TOF is right, your memoir would make a great movie… with Jane Fonda playing the lead! Fun blog, you were right to bolt when you saw the casket, there’s no acceptable (to me) explanation for it!

    • 1010ParkPlace March 12, 2019 at 10:27 am

      Donna, You’re cute! Jane Fonda… LOL! BTW, it wasn’t me who ran out of the house with the casket. It was a girlfriend of a woman I was having dinner with last week, but I would have done the same thing. And yes… There are NO ACCEPTABLE explanations for that, and I’ve tried to think of them all. xoxox, B

  • Hilda Smith March 11, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Friends are everything. I am blessed with amazing friends. Love your post.

    • 1010ParkPlace March 12, 2019 at 10:28 am

      Hilda, Thank you, sweet lady, and I’m happy you have amazing friends. xoxo, Brenda

  • jeannette March 15, 2019 at 9:09 am

    I find as I grow older it is more and more difficult to make new friends. I’ve moved so much in my life mostly for my husband’s career – 12 times to be exact! So some are long distance friends I still keep in touch with and don’t see often, but its the now I find hard. We retired in a small place where new faces to a group are not always welcomed. I think people who are so guarded is not groups I want to be part of, so I keep looking.
    I would have run for the hills just like your friend if I had seen that casket! lol
    Good to hear you are writing a memoir. I’m sure it will be an interesting read.
    Have a great weekend!

    • 1010ParkPlace March 18, 2019 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Jeannette, When we move because of our job or our spouse’s job, too often we only think about how it will affect the kids… We don’t want to pull them away from their friends, but I never hear anyone say it will affect them as well, but it does. I’ve moved to a new neighborhood, two years ago, late in life, so I know what you mean. Making friends in a group that’s been together for a long time is difficult. The casket… I can’t think of a single reason to stay in that house!! Color me gone as fast as my legs will carry me! Thanks for the memoir encouragement!!! xoxox, Brenda

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