lundi, août 08, 2011

A day like no other

Most of us had a best friend during childhood. So did I.
Some of us keep the friendship - sometimes during the whole life.

My best friend in childhood in Basel was a Girl named Gaby. She was born in the same year I was and  lived in the same building and on the same floor, but the entrance to her part of the building was on the other side of it. We shared the same balcony row tough, our balconies were  separated by another neighbor's one. When we leaned over the handrail, we could see each other.

We also shared the same Kindergarten, tough in two different classes. Then we shared the same elementary school, in the same class.

We played together, in the house and outside. We made long expeditions Trough Basel, its Parks, went down the Banks of the Rhine and she accompanied my Grandmother and me to our garden.

I really don't know what she found in me. I was an outsider, Shy and weak. She had her both feet on earth and in the same time, shared my dreams, my inner realm of creativity. I grew up and discovered the world trough my eyes and in the same time, could see it trough her eyes too, hence learning to evaluate it beyond my own impressions.

When I was 11, I had to move away from Basel because I got to live with my mom who worked an lived in Geneva. I visited Basel often, in holiday and over weekends and most of the time meet Gaby there. Nevertheless, our ways were slowly divided. My grandparents died, I moved away even farther and she grew into puberty, into other interests. And some day, the time with Gaby was nothing more than a precious memory from my personal "Dreamtime".

Decades went by. I did never forgot her and also never found a friend like her again. Sometimes, I played with the thought of trying to search for her, see if I can get back in contact. But I never had the courage.

Well, it was July 10, the day Georgie died, I received a message trough Facebook. It was Gaby who found me.
I can't describe what this meant to me. We exchanged a lot of long emails. We had more than 30 years to share - 30 years.
 I learned that she is married, has a son, dogs and mice. And that she was very ill not too long ago.

Yesterday, we finally met in person. She attended me at my little apartment in Basel. It was like in the past. I  went out in the hall, looking down the stairs, seeing her climbing them up. The first sight was incredible.
After a long talk in my living room we made a walk to our old schoolhouse and our old school-way: In fact, we made the same magical trip I did a year ago. But it was even more magical and enchanted.
We then visited her mom who still lives in their old apartment. For me, it was  a bit like coming home, for I could go into the house of my early childhood, up to the balcony and look outside. Never thought I'd  see this sight again:

Gabys Mom is still as warmhearted and nice I had her in mind. We had a long and pleasant time together. After this, Gaby and I went outside, visiting some other places of our Childhood. And just like in the past, when we so often stumbled upon some strange findings, we also found an oddity:

 Some twigs bound  into a cross. What the hell is that? Gaby suggested we may have some Clansmen in Basel who will burn this thing at night. OMGs - I hope not ;-)

A lot of things had changed. Already big trees back then are now regular giants. Silent, tall and majestic they grow into the sky, keeping the memory of us as children, as grown up women and probably still being there long after our departing.
The Rhine is a lot cleaner. In our time it was a dark and stinky soup of shit. Now its clear-green and not smelly anymore. The Birs, the little river that goes into the Rhine has been re-naturalized, meaning that the the banks are no longer made of boring stone-walls. Bushes and grass are growing there again, providing living space for birds and other animals.

Speaking of enhancement: You should have heard us talk: When we crossed the square at the bottom of our house I said that I find it comfortable that  nowadays its mandatory for drivers in Switzerland to stop at the pedestrian crossings when people are waiting there. 40 years ago, we'd had been flattened by the next car, with everybody saying that it was our fault and that's all. 

Gaby says its false security. Kids could think they're safe and blindly cross the road although a car may *not* stop. Well, of course. In our time, no Kid would have had such a crazy idea. we knew we had to look or we'd be death.
This lead us to the observation that my apartment in our house was cool in the way that I had a window facing the square which gave me the opportunity to witness all the tragic and bloody accidents that happened there during the 70ties. 

No, "our time" was no fun. It was a time of reckless destruction. In our very early childhood there were still old little houses with wild gardens surrounding our house. I remember how I played in one of these gardens with other kids at my birthday. 
One by one, these houses, the gardens, flowers and little, withered stone walls were destroyed, flattened under Beton and modern buildings. The old bridge over the Rhine was replaced by a big, ugly and loud motorway Bridge. Countless trees were cut down. 
Time came when every Lowlife who could scratch together a few thousand bucks or get a loan, bought a car.  Traffic increased, more and more accidents happened.. My Grandmother who  was special  in the way that she owned a car  - a women owning a car - was no longer an exception. 

This leads me to the conclusion that the "paradise" we remember was first of all, the paradise within ourselves. Together, we made it happen. And together, we made its resurrection happen. What  remained only as a memory deep in me, is now a living part of my present again. 

All what I can say is: If you have a best friend, take good care of her / him. You may have only one in your  life. 

5 commentaires:

Sefarina a dit…

Oh ja, an guten Freunden sollte man festhalten.
Ich habe wenige sehr enge Freunde, doch wir halten immer Kontakt, auch wenn wir momentan sehr wit verstreut sind. Das Internet macht das natürlich einfach ;-)

Feronia a dit…

That's a beautiful story, Diana.

Diana Kennedy a dit…

@Sefarina: ja, das Internet macht da vieles möglich, das ist schon ein grosser Vorteil.

@Feronia - Yes, so far the best thing that happened to me this year.

l'actrice a dit…

Diana, that's such a beautiful story. It's so amazing that your friend was thinking of you, when your cat died. You are so lucky:-)

Diana Kennedy a dit…

@L'actrice - Yes, I do feel blessed by this.