In the 1950’s and ’60’s all girls sleep-overs became a right of passage. The more friends, the more sleep-overs a girl experienced. My friends and I were fortunate enough to have several during our junior and senior years in high-school. In hind sight, our mothers deserved most of the credit. This was at a time when the ubiquitous pizza delivery of today did not exist. Our mothers provided all of the suppers, snacks and breakfasts required. Both parents provided the patience to put up with all night chatter and endless Canasta games.
Last week, three of us former teenagers revived this custom after more than 60 years of separation. We could not find a Canasta deck, but we more than made up for lost time through walks in the woods, cooking and cleaning up together, watching chick flicks and, most importantly, staying up talking way past our bedtime.
Discussion came easily. We all had gone on to higher education, married, raised children, and were now living alone – except for the occasional relative who needed a place to stay for some form of modern transition – a child’s divorce, an elderly parents last earthly stopping place, a good friend’s need to crash on the way to a new job, etc. At this stage in life, when most people are completely retired, we found ourselves working part-time in addition to volunteer tasks, in spite of periodic bouts of arthritis, bursitis, depression and a few other age related “inconveniences”. Just catching up on the progress, or lack thereof of our children took hours. But, family matters were just a small part of our conversations. We discussed our points of view on abortion, gay marriage, starving children, and politicians. Mostly, however, we shared our feelings about our stage of life in relation to our families, to the rest of society and to ourselves.
The most interesting and touching thing that we observed about our time together was the way that, without thinking or planning, we took care of each other.
Our sleep-overs as teenagers tended to be a little competitive, very noisy and care-free. As experienced elderly women our time together was companionable and caring. Hopefully, we will be able to sleep-over again.