When I was in the eighth grade I wore glasses, had braces, and was flat chested. I looked very much like the girl who had a locker next to mine. Her name was Jane. We quickly became fast friends and were inseparable…we did everything together. This included shopping trips where we’d buy matching outfits. My mother began referring to my new friend as Plain Jane. I often wondered what she was thinking as we looked enough alike to be sisters. Jane took the name-calling with a grain of salt and found a poem with which she would retaliate…
If Jane is plain then so is moonlight who’s muted silver fades to brazen dawn.
So too pansies who hide their heads from moonlight
So too the fleet and velvet dappled fawn.
If Jane is plain how common then are thrushes
How soft the whispered cadences of rain compared to any noisy brook that rushes.
All shy and sweet and subtle things how plain!
(By Georgie Starbuck Galbraith)
We both memorized it and to be honest I just now had to call Jane to straighten me out on one of the verses as my memory is not what it used to be. And BTW she reminded me that I needed to include the author’s name lest I’d be plagiarizing. And I will add that Jane is extremely smart.
As we grew into our teens we lost the glasses to contacts, got the braces taken off and traded in our training bras for the real thing…turned into a couple of pretty attractive young ladies.
Our friendship continued to grow even after we graduated high school and married. Jane moved to Germany with her husband but we faithfully corresponded over the next several years. Once my husband and I were transferred out of state it made keeping in touch more difficult but we managed.
Over the course of the following years, Jane and I attended all the high school reunions and threw a couple of extra days in just for ourselves. We remained BFFs.
A couple of years ago Jane sent me an airline ticket so I could go visit her in Kansas City, MO. She’s a vet now and has her own practice. Her husband is also a vet with his own practice as well. I got to tour both their offices and learn a little about what being a vet is all about. Very interesting stuff!
This year was our 45th high school reunion and Jane was unable to attend due to a conflict on her calendar. So she decided to spend the money on a ticket to come visit me in Texas a few weeks later. We had a blast!
Reminiscing was our favorite pastime although we did allow for some shopping in between. I dug out the old yearbook and we reveled in the way we used to look in our misspent youth. As there were over 800 in our graduating class it was a real bummer trying to put names with faces from so long ago.
We decided we’d try to attend the next reunion as it will be number 50 and that’s quite an accomplishment to have lived that long. We also decided we’d make a valiant effort to see more of each other before we get too old to travel…and besides, Friends are Forever!
Originally published in the December 2011 issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette.