Marcia Steffens: Friends are a connection too important to lose

Published 11:09 am Thursday, August 20, 2009

marcia-steffens1It seemed like old home week.
First a college friend came to Stevensville for a class. I hadn’t seen her for years, but she has been oh so faithful, sending cards, writing letters and calling every now and then.

We were both art majors and lived in a dorm, but were never roommates. We did have to endure having all our art classes start at the first period of the day. No sleeping in for us. The art teacher (a nun) was very strict, but we learned a lot.

Our art has taken us in different directions through the years. I really got into photography and then later added the writing to it when I became a reporter.

We both shared a love of fabric, design and color.

She is now into making quilts and has bought a machine to put them together with a backing and material in the center. She hopes for it to become a business, finishing quilts for others.

The machine on which she was taking lessons in Michigan is 14 feet long and runs by a computer.

How times have changed.

I made a quilt dress once in the 60s, out of all the scraps of my other outfits I had made myself throughout the years.

I still sew, but not as much as I once did.

We had a fun time. I introduced her and her husband to the Woodfire restaurant in Dowagiac, which they had read about on the internet.

Since they had actually lived in Italy, while he was studying medicine, they said they had a taste for good Italian food. They were not disappointed.

A few days later she and I met for some girl talk and I rediscovered the Pumpernickle Inn, along Red Arrow Highway, where I had once stayed a long time ago.

Cute and good food and again she was delighted, finding Gelato, Italian ice cream.
As she talked about the beauty of Lake Michigan and how much she missed seeing the water and putting her feet in the sand, I realized I have just taken it for granted.

To her it gives her peace and rejuvenates her.

I can’t remember the last time I walked along the shore.

Later on, after they left, some young people we know invited us to a cook-out.

Reconnecting now with our children’s friends is so different than when they were young. Now they aren’t blaring music and coming in and out of the house. They are married with little ones of their own.

The four grills kept the supply of corn, ribs, burgers, hot dogs and chicken coming and the day was perfect, not too hot with a nice breeze.

Feeling good about old friends, and finding I was only a few miles from another couple we hadn’t seen since late last year, I called to see what they were doing.

“Come on over and we will crack a bottle of wine,” they said.

Sitting on the porch, learning about what changes the first part of the year brought to all of us, we relaxed even further.

Still my time of renewing friendships wasn’t over. On Sunday, I got a call from a girl friend whom I knew when I lived in St. Louis. She had been thinking about me.

We counted up grandchildren (her about to become 10 and me almost at two), told who got a divorce (her oldest son), told which children pregnant, and commiserated about having to work when we would rather be retired.

Even though I only lived there two years, we hit it off immediately. She had four children at the time we met and I had three.

Her family grew to six, while I had only one more after we left Missouri.

We have both visited each other through the years, haven’t kept in touch as well as we should, but we always fall right back into the close friendship we once had when we do get together, even by phone.

With the internet, cell phones with unlimited minutes and even snail mail still a bargain at 44 cents, there really is no reason to not keep up friendships.

It is just a question of time and priorities..

Marcia Steffens, associate editor of the Niles Daily Star, and managing editor of the Cassopolis Vigilant and Edwardsburg Argus, can be reached at: