This summer I added another chapter to the story of the friendship of Aly and Diane, as we celebrated 50 years of friendship.
It all started in the summer of 1969 when I was a guest in the Vinke home in Harderwijk, The Netherlands. I participated in an exchange program through International 4-H Clubs Teen Caravan. I met a girl very much like myself, Aly Vinke!
Among the memorable events of that summer was getting up in the middle of the night in The Netherlands to watch the first men walk on the moon. The Vinke family stood with me to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”!
Fifty years have passed, but our friendship has stood the test of time. We both married, had children and raised families. We have visited in each others homes many times, bringing parents, husbands, children and grandchildren along to share in the fun. We have celebrated wedding anniversaries and weddings together. We have lost beloved family members.
Aly has begun the process of downsizing. She is moving next door into a much smaller house. She has already given away or repurposed most of her possessions. While I’m not ready to do what Aly has done, I admire her courage and tenacity! Aly has a set of two blue leather chairs that will move with her to the new house. I picture her sitting in one of these chairs, enjoying her new space! It’s cold in The Netherlands in the winter, so I thought Aly might enjoy a cashmere sweater blanket as a housewarming gift. You can see the initial layout of sweater pieces below.
Until I can visit Aly in her new home, I will see her in my mind sitting in her blue chair wrapped in blue cashmere. Thank you to the fates that brought us together so many years ago—-there is no greater joy than a true friend!!