In 1989, my friend Valerie and her family moved away after 13 years as our across-the-street-neighbor. I was on vacation on the day they left, so I didn't have to watch their departure. I do remember their arrival on our street, with their tiny infant twins fitting into a baby carriage normally meant for one, and the twins' older sister, about four, with a ton of bouncy blonde curls. Who knew then that 19 years after they moved away, Valerie and I would still be talking on the phone every Sunday at 10:00 a.m.?
Val and I spent a lot of time together during those 13 years. We exercised in her basement twice a week to a Jane Fonda tape. Husbands and children swore we exercised only our mouths, but that wasn't true, although I did learn whom our son was taking to a prom during a Jane Fonda session long before he told me. We always had dessert at Val's at Christmas. At one Christmas, we decided that since they had only girls and we had only boys, we should exchange a child for a week. (I think this stemmed from a conversation about which father was funnier.) I loved having another female in the house, and they welcomed our son as one of theirs.
Just last week, we learned that the bouncy-curls daughter may be joining the faculty of a college near one of our children. And might even live in his town. I don't know who was more excited, the children or the parents, as we envisioned another generation of neighbors.
Val and I plan to visit a spa together on the 20th anniversary of our Sunday morning phone calls. By then we would have talked on Sunday 1,040 times, give or take a few. Is that a record, or what?