Reconnecting, Catching Up

There are three kids in the journal my mother kept in 1987-88. Me, my older sister Mindy, and our childhood best friend Camille, who we really grew up with.

Our parents met in Lamaze childbirth class, and Mindy and Camille were born just one day apart. Our families were in it together from the get go. Once we were homeschooling and co-oping, we would sometimes see Camille four times a week.

At some point when we were kids, Camille moved a bit farther away, and we saw each other less frequently. But Camille remained incredibly important to us. The intimate and family-like co-op arrangement we had had at the beginning laid a strong foundation.

Camille homeschooled until high school. Even then, even through our teenage years, the three of us remained in touch, close friends. I remember we borrowed Camille’s parents’ car one summer and drove up the coast to Pismo Beach, where our two families had camped together when we were younger. We got a hotel room, just the three of us, and spent days out in the sand dunes.

Camille, Mindy & me

Camille, Mindy & me at the Natural History Museum, Los Angeles, 1987

Around that time I began to attend community college, and I got my first job. I got really busy, and I started to lose touch with people I had grown up with so closely, my homeschooled friends. And Camille and Mindy were both in college by then, too, so our lives branched into different directions.

It’s only natural. You get older, and you choose friends for different reasons as an adult – friends who live where you live, friends who are doing things you are doing, who share your passions and pursuits or tastes. You lose shared context with past friends.

But because homeschooling was such an odd and defining difference for so long, it did feel a little bit like leaving the tribe.

Honestly, though, since the beginning of college I haven’t really looked back. I’ve spent most of my twenties either completely tangled in the moment, or wrestling with what I want to do next, where I want to get to, forward motion.

But, writing this, and reading my mom’s old journal, I understood how special and central our early friendship and companionship with Camille was. How lucky we had each other. Right at the beginning. Just to have a friend who was growing up like us.

Today, Camille lives in San Francisco; I am in North Oakland. I work in San Francisco one day a week and her home is right on the way of my commute. Last Monday, we reconnected for an evening catch-up, and it was pretty amazing.

Because, in a very intense way, we had grown up like three peas in a pod. We shared so much. But we haven’t seen each other in years! I didn’t know what to expect. Seeing Camille again was all so familiar but also new. It was really cool.

I look forward to interviewing her soon, and sharing that with you. But for now, I just thought I would share this sweet and funny passage from the old journal, on a “squabbling morning” (as my mom put it) in October, 1987:

Several often exhausting squabbles — a tiring morning!

* Recess: gymnastics. We have a big talk about how everyone has skills & talent, but that people’s worth wasn’t affected by what they knew or could do… and that people had feelings…

Talked about why Mindy is slightly better at swimming (has a pool & practices more) & why Camille is more advanced at gymnastics (taking classes longer and practices more).

Mindy showed that she could do sit ups (the right way) & Camille said, “I already know how to do them.” However, when she tried she couldn’t do one without help.

Mindy assured her, “Your muscles will get stronger. I couldn’t do one at first either.”