Best friends are hard to come by - Kathy Jefcoats

I don't have a lot of friends. I know a lot of people but it isn't the same thing. I would say my best friend is my husband but my best girlfriend is Claudia. She lives in Jones County, which is where we met working at the same newspaper about 10 years ago. She is just three years younger than my mom, who was 15 when she married in August 1959 and 16 when I was born in October 1960, but you wouldn't guess her age by her activity and interests.

I would have to say that the thing I like the best about Claudia is that she does not let me take myself seriously but she also knows when I need compassion and someone to listen to me. She knows when to tell me to shut up and move on and I like that. Too many people just let me go on and on about something or are afraid to disagree with me or maybe they are just being polite.

I was in the Girl Scouts when I lived in St. Louis and we were taught to "make new friends but keep the old." That has not proven to be easy for me. My first best friend was Karen Keating. After I moved to Georgia, we kept in contact through letters, writing for years before losing touch.

My first Georgia best friend was Joy Foskey. We had great fun together and shared the exact birthday, same day, same year. The problem was with a boy named Dan. He lived in my neighborhood in Macon and had a crush on me for years. Joy had a crush on him for years but lived in another section of Macon so I saw Dan a lot more than she did. He went a long time trying to get me to be his girlfriend and Joy spent a lot of time trying to snag him, which she finally did – they married and had two kids. I think they later divorced, though.

Dan shares my husband's birthday, same day, same year, which I thought was kind of neat. We married in September and they married the following June but Joy and I had already fallen out. Typical stupid high school stuff. Someone told her I called her a name and she believed her over me and we never spoke again.

My next best friend was Robin, still in high school. We had a falling out when I got married and I didn't see or speak to her for about two years. She unexpectedly dropped by my mother's house after I gave birth to my son. We visited, caught up on old times. We communicated a while after but it fizzled out. I don't know where she is now or what she is doing.

I did have a friend I met when we were both 14. We had a lot in common at one time but our paths went in different directions. I married early, at 16, and had four children rather quickly. She dated her husband for seven years before marrying and then it was seven more years before she had her first child. She has been a stay at home mom since the birth of her second child. I have a career, went to college, got a degree.

We tried to stay friends but had nothing in common anymore except memories. Our kids are different generations – they are still in school and I have young grandchildren – although we are the same age. I tried to "divorce" her a couple of times, outlining the reasons I didn't think we should continue the friendship but we struggled to maintain a relationship a little while longer.

Finally, just fed up with the way things were, I just didn't answer the last email I got from her. I haven't heard from her since.

There are a couple old friends I really miss. Sarah Gail and Debbie. They were the neighborhood moms I was friends with when I started college the first time. We all had kids the same age in the same school and hung out together since none of us worked and were home all day. Sarah Gail and I especially had a blast together, she had a great sense of humor and I miss her so much. Both eventually divorced their husbands and moved away.

My nephew is friends with one of Sarah Gail's nephews so I pass on "hellos" whenever I can but I don't know where she lives now, wish I did.

So I am now down to Claudia, my homey, my best girlfriend. She is from Long Island and her New York accent gets going when she gets excited, despite being in the south for some 30 years or so. When I went to New York for the first time in April 2002, it was with Claud. She and I are planning a return trip in October – this time flying, my first airplane ride.

Claud and her husband have flown all over so I am happy to be making my maiden voyage with a veteran. I am just so excited about going back to NYC, I would crawl back if I had to.

Kathy Jefcoats is a staff writer covering cops and courts in Henry County. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or by e-mail at kjefcoats@henryherald.com .