Today was one of those lovely spring days you wait for all April. The mud was gone. The sun was shining. And the black flies hadn’t yet made the scene. The day just couldn’t get any better. Or so I thought.
It all started several weeks ago when I ran into Hogarth mom Charlene Prince at Market Basket. (Charlene hasn’t technically been a Hogarth mom since 2005, but once a Hogarth mom, always a Hogarth mom.) She was shopping with her daughter, my former student, Samantha. We talked about Charlene bringing both of her daughters by for a visit one of these days. Today Charlene gave me a call to say she had a houseful of Hogarth alums who were happily reminiscing about their preschool days. She wondered if today would be a good day for that visit. Happily, I didn’t have any plans for the afternoon.
Kaitlin and Brynn are in 6th grade. They’ve been together since their preschool days at Hogarth and have that easy way with each other that only comes from a long-term friendship. I don’t think their smiles dimmed for even an instant in the hour that we visited this afternoon.
Samantha, Kaitlyn’s big sister, and Gillian are in 9th grade. Because they come from different towns, they haven’t attended school together since preschool at Hogarth. But here they are, 10 years later and still best friends. That’s a credit to their moms, Charlene and Kelly. They’ve schlepped the girls back and forth to countless play dates over the years which kept the relationship fresh and vibrant and growing. (I’m sure they’re not called “play dates” when you’re in the 9th grade, but the schlepping goes on.)
It would have been much easier on the moms to let the relationship quietly disintegrate. After all, they were only 5 years old. They’d make new friends. Besides, who has time to be driving from town-to-town so a couple of kindergartners can play dress-up? Samantha’s mom Charlene and Gillian’s mom Kelly made the time because they gave that little relationship between two 5-year old girls the respect it deserved.
Charlene and Kelly knew their daughters’ friendship had the potential to last a lifetime. They knew that if they could hand-pick a friend for their daughters it would be Gillian for Samantha and Samantha for Gillian. Luckily for Charlene and Kelly, the girls picked each other. If the only thing those girls left Hogarth with was that relationship, their Hogarth days were worth their weight in gold.
But that wasn’t the only thing. They left with a pile of wonderful memories. (And some excellent skills, if I do say so myself!) The four girls wandered around the classroom commenting on the things that stuck with them over the years. They read the To-Do List hanging on the blackboard ready for tomorrow’s EK class. Gillian commented that she loved being the Mystery Kid. Gillian’s mom said she still has all Gillian’s Messages (that’s what we called the To-Do List back then) rolled up in a box along with other important pieces of Gillian’s childhood.
They wanted to know if we still sang lots of songs (we do), and Kaitlyn and Brynn remembered singing the Animal Alphabet song. I hadn’t yet written it when Gillian and Sam were at Hogarth. They all remembered Mary Murphy, and laughed looking at her picture.
Sam and Gillian spent some time in the library reminiscing about favorite stories we read back in the day when people were reading them stories.
I’m so glad those Hogarth moms brought those Hogarth kids (once a Hogarth kid, always a Hogarth kid) by for a visit this afternoon. Who knew a good day could get so great?