Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lost and Found Again

When I was a second grader at Eader Elementary school in Huntington Beach, California, I had two best friends: Ena (pictured right, with afro) and Liz (on left in white, with wave bangs). We were in school together, girl scouts, we played barbies would ride to the beach after school and go boogie boarding. In the summers we kept ourselves occupied by riding around, going to the Edison community pool (to see who was brave enough to jump from the high dive) and scrounge around for change so we could get a Big Del burrito at Del Taco.

When we were in 8th grade, my parents had nerve to buy a house in Fountain Valley. It was only 5 miles from Huntington Beach (next town over), but for a 13 year old girl, it might as well have been siberia. Add to the fact that Liz and Ena would be attending Edison High School and I would be attending Fountain Valley High School (fierce football rivals), I'm sure only added to the drama. But we still kept in touch.

As we got older our paths took us in different directions. I went to to the University of the Pacific to play Field Hockey and get a Bachelors Degree from the School of International Studies. While visiting a friend in Amsterdam on my way to a study abroad semester in Spain, I met the love of my life, Maarten Lens( He added the FitzGerald when we married in 1999. After I graduated from UOP in 1994, I moved to Amsterdam to be with Maarten and get a Master's degree in International Business and Marketing, and never left.

Ena moved to New York to attend Pratt Institute and study Architecture. There she met and eventually married Shawn, a set designer. Coincidentally while I was in Madrid, Ena was studying in Rome and came to visit me. She is currently moving from New Jersey back to Huntington Beach with Shawn and their two beautiful children. Ena and I have stayed in close touch through the years. I never laugh more then when I am on the phone with Ena and we do the 'Remember when's'. Almost no one else can tell me to get a grip on myself better than her. She knows me better then most people (perhaps since we've been friends for 28 years).

Liz and I maintained sporadic contact after high school and after I moved to Amsterdam. The last time I saw her was about 6 years ago. In 2000 she spent a lot of time soul seached and decided to convert to Islam. At her mosque she met and married her husband, who is from Tunesia. When we last met she was pregnant with her first child (her daughter, who is now 6). She has since had another child (a son, who is 2). I have heard bits of her life here and there from Ena and Ena's mom, but I think almost every conversation I have with Ena always included Liz in one way or another because she is such an integral part of our childhood.

Last night I was checking my e-mail when I saw that Elizabeth wanted to become my friend on Facebook. Elizabeth who? The message was from Liz, my old friend! I contacted her immediately and as soon as I heard her voice it was like coming home. I think we just picked up where we left off. Incredible.

Both of the girls will be in Huntington Beach this summer visiting their families. I am hoping to go for a visit, but it all depends, of course, on how it goes with my husband's chemo. He finishes on September 8th with his last round.

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