I've known Valerie, a former neighbor, for thirty-five years. Since she moved away twenty-two years ago, we have talked every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. unless one of us was traveling. That's over a thousand phone calls.
On Sunday I told Val about the eightieth birthday party of my good friend Gordon. I have known Gordon for fifty years. Val noted that I have an unusually large number of friends from my distant past who are still in my life—from old boyfriends to old schoolmates.
For example, I'm still friends with my grammar school buddy Susie and my junior high school friend Ruth, both of whom I talk to regularly. We're having dinner with my boss from fifty years ago (he's eighty-three) next month when my friend Barbara who worked with us at that job visits from California. I have lunch with one of my former boyfriends twice a year.
My friend of longest standing whom I met on a vacation with my parents at age four or five (we're not sure) is still among my closest friends even though we have never lived in the same city.
People say that older folks with good friends and an active social life are healthier. It is a big pay-back for a small investment.