Meet My Friend:
When my parents separated we moved several times over the course of the next few years. When we moved to Pahiatua the school year had already started and I was in the third form at the time (I think that's around 13 years old), so that's the beginning of the New Zealand equivalent of high school in America. I went to Tararua College In those days you were 'given' to someone so that they could show you around the school and help you find things. The person they 'gave me to' was Vanessa Kreegher. Right from the start we hit it off. She was this little bundle of energy and laughter.
I have always been a short person and had been teased about it so having Vanessa for a friend made it easier as we were around the same height, in fact her nickname was 'Shorty'.
I spent many weekends at Vanessa's place listening to music and just doing the things that young ladies are meant to do. I had many crushes on many guys at the school and it was fun sharing all of that with Vanessa.
She found a permanent partner pretty quickly and I was rather envious of her experiences at the time.
I found out that my father was terminally ill when we lived in Pahiatua. It was a tough time for me (and probably everyone else) but having Vanessa there to help me through it really made a difference. My so-called mother and her partner Tony (they weren't married yet as religion dictated otherwise, all they had to do was wait a bit until my father died and then they could be married in the church!!!!) were focused on the child that they had had together and the other children were left pretty much to their own devices. Tony would read my diaries to find out what I'd been up to, it took me a while to figure it out and eventually my step-brother pointed out how he was finding out all of these things. It was a tough time as Tony had very strict rules and if you didn't abide by them there were rather dire consequences. Sylvia turned a blind eye to these and focused on Sarah-Jayne. Definitely a tough time considering what I was going through.
So going to Vanessa's whenever I could made it a little easier. I was actually staying with Vanessa and her parents when I received the phone call telling me that my father had passed away. I still remember how wonderful her family was to me and that meant so much to me, and still does.
Eventually I moved away from Pahiatua. My so-called parents left me behind when they moved to a new town and I stayed with friends until I finished my school year.
Vanessa got married at an early age. We fell out of touch for a few years, and then I met up with her again and we had a long chat over coffee. I found out that she had been mad at me for not replying to a letter that she had sent to me and I had never received. She had written to me when she was planning her wedding and asked me to be her bridesmaid and she had never heard back from me. So obviously she was hurt and disappointed about that. I found out years later that my step-father had been intercepting a lot of my mail and he had thrown most of it away, so I had never received the letter, therefore never replied to her. It still upsets me to think of how my step-father manipulated lives, and still tries to to this day. I would have loved to have been part of her wedding party, but that was taken away from me without even a thought about my feelings.
Vanessa has two lovely children, Patrick and Renee, and they are wonderfully balanced children. Vanessa left her husband after nearly 20 years of marriage and has found herself a wonderful soul-mate that loves and cares for her the way she has always deserved. We have so many things in common and we speak often on the phone and email each other too. Every year she remembers the anniversary of my father's death and contacts me in some way to send me her love and thoughts.She still has that wonderfully big, open heart of hers and when I talk to her I can still hear that bubbly personality that I loved all of those years ago when I first met her.
Onto my next friend...