The six of us are former coworkers from the IT department of New Hampshire Savings Bank and our friendship and periodic get togethers have endured for over 30 years. We have seen divorces, marriages, births, deaths and grandchildren. A number of pets have come and gone. We have moved to different houses and one to faraway Maine. We moved onto new careers. We pursued our separate hobbies – the golfers, the gardeners, the readers, the hikers, the chefs, the birdwatchers. Our backgrounds are different – only one of us a native New Hampshirite (she who lives in Maine). We are on both sides of the political aisle. Our families don’t know each other. It is safe to say that, without our 1980’s banking connection, we would not have been friends.But, we somehow bonded over mergers and conversions and a revolving door of bosses. As in all offices, our currency was gossip and laughter and the natural camaraderie that comes from working together. We extended our friendship to occasional outside the office activities including some memorable pool parties at Barb’s.
When the FDIC took over the bank in 1992, we knew that although we would no longer be coworkers, we would need to remain friends. We started our tradition of bi-monthly “Girls’ Nights” which we took turns hosting. Our holiday celebration included a Yankee Swap. We met for dinner at various restaurants. Over the years, the frequency of meetings has declined. We gave up the Yankee Swap when we acknowledged that no one wanted to purchase – or own – one more thing. Our parents, children and grandchildren all require attention. And our travel schedules have picked up. We are fortunate to meet quarterly or even semiannually. We prefer meeting for lunch vs. dinner. None of us stay up very late.
On account of moving every other year and the difficulty of maintaining a correspondence in those pre-social media years, I do not have any childhood friends. My high school and college friends number in the single digits. And, as a nearly senior citizen and an introvert – making new friends is not always easy. These old friends mean more to me than I have ever expressed. Having lunch this past week with my old banking buddies reinforced my
affection love for each of them. We ordered the special cocktail (well, some of us did). We shared grandbaby photos and agreed they are all beautiful (I don’t think I’m biased, but I’d give Lo a slight edge). We marveled at the resilience of one of us who is still raising teenagers (!). We laughed, we reminisced, we compared workout schedules. We stayed long after our meals were finished. The waitress took our picture. We hugged and we vowed to meet again when our missing member can be among us. I can’t wait.