A Special Friend

My childhood summers were spent in a magical place on Long Island called Westhampton. The beach was the principle attraction and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean ran a close second. Our summer home was about 6 miles away and I easily traveled this distance on a bicycle twice a day, plus a little farther to visit with my friends. Among this group was a special friend, Tibby. Her younger sister couldn’t pronounce her given name, Elizabeth, and called her Tibby. From then on she was called “Tibby”.

For most of our lives, until we were about 16 and able to get part-time jobs, our summers were spent enjoying the beach, sailing in the bay, playing tennis and other games. Our group of young teens consisted of about ten to twelve, boys and girls. It was idyllic.

At about age 14, there was a dramatic change in Tibby’s life; her parents divorced. Of course none of us recognized the signs and were surprised and saddened — especially as Tibby’s mother was moving to California to marry another man. Tibby’s world definitely fell apart. All her cousins and friends were here in the east. She knew no one out west and wrote us sad letters of longing to be back east where she had a familiar environment with her father, cousins and friends.

As she was a good student, she hoped to go to college and had applied to Mt. Holyoke in Northampton, MA. This location would put her close to us and to her father who lived in New York City and Westhampton. But at the last minute, when it was too late to apply for a scholarship, her father had to tell her that his business had had a down turn and he couldn’t afford the tuition.

Tibby struggled with this news and went to a local California college. Over the years and the long distance between us, we lost contact. When we were both in our late twenties, I heard through her cousins that she had married. Then, a few years later I received the news that she had died. It was rumored that her marriage was not good and she had become an alcoholic. Naturally, this news broke my heart. But I will always have the happy memories of our early years together.

Lois Learned © 2017
Southbury, CT

Add your story to this page!

Comment on this Story

Add a New Comment

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License