I’ve been missing friends lately. A lot. And it got me to thinking about my Steph/f collection. I collect Steph/fs. Seriously collect them. Until I went to college, I had only met one other Steph. She was my best friend in first grade at St. Christopher's. The only year I ever went there and the only thing I really remember about that year is being a bit scared of having to stand in the corner if I got in trouble with the nuns and then my memories of Steph. Although we were both called Stephanie at that age. I remember her having short brown hair. And I remember her leaving school after being attacked by a dog. She and her older sister had been walking home together after school and a German Shepherd attacked little Stephanie and bit her on her head many, many times. She was lucky to survive. She was in the hospital for a very long time and I never saw her again. And thus began my life-long fear of dogs. Although I love German Shepherds. Go figure that one. :p
But, I digress.
My Steph/f collection started in earnest when I went to college. No real serious Steph friends for my first couple of years. But I hit the motherload my junior year. I was an RA in our dorm and was soon introduced to two Stephs. One who was an RA on a lower floor and one who was a student on my floor. The RA Steph was called Stephanie and she and I are still in touch today. She's a very wise Steph and one I could always count on for good advise and to keep a calm head.
The student Steph was a different story. (Cover your eyes, Steph Burch, 'cause I'm gonna tell the story now!) Steph was a year younger than me and, before she had ever met me, decided that she hated me. I was taking the place of "the best RA ever to live" so I could only be horrible. And then she met me. And hated me even more. 'Cause I dared to tell the floor that we would be living by rules. Gasp!! So, she took to torturing me. Banging on my door at 3 am and then running away so I would get woken up and not find anyone to blame. Telling everyone how much she hated me and how stuck up I was. Flaunting alcohol in the dorms. When, really, I was just shy and totally intimidated by this close knit group of friends. And responded to that by imposing too many rules. So, she and I were off to a great start, eh?
I eventually found myself lucky enough to become a part of this very close knit group of friends that she belonged to. And they are who I call "my college friends" now - not the group I started with. And Steph and I were never real close in school, but we were certainly friends and were together a lot. I was a bit too much of a worrier and she was a bit too much of a partier and I think we were pretty good influences on each other. But, it wasn't until we were both out of college that we became best friends. She was working at the University of Michigan and I was back in Maine. And we just kept keeping in touch. Pretty soon, she was the one I called before anyone else. And then I went out to visit her.
And the rest is history. She was "the" best friend. The one I went to with complaints, joys and just everything. No one else could take her place. She was my maid of honor and I was her matron (ugh) of honor. And we went through A LOT (yes, in caps) together. A serious LOT. (But, we can’t tell those stories here. No way, no how). And then she moved back to Alaska again. And, there she is until this day. I miss her more than I can say. She commented on my blog last week and I was instantly in tears. Because I couldn’t just call her and cry it all out to her. Or call her and just bitch and bitch. That’s what we seem to do best. (Although we’re pretty good at calling each other names, too, when necessary - tee hee!)
We've seen each other a couple of times in the past few years, but it hasn't been the same. Not that our friendship hasn't been the same, but it's been visits with our husbands and my kids and you just can't get into the same kind of conversations with everyone else around, ya know? And, Alaska is four hours behind Indiana, so phone conversations have been nearly impossible with her work schedule and my kid schedule. I'm still holding out hope that she'll convince her hubby to move back to the lower 48 one of these days. Until then, I'll just have to keep luring her out of lurkdom with posts like this so she'll comment on my blog more often. :) She knows I love her and I know she loves me. It just sucks that we're so far apart.
And there are a few more Steph friends scattered about in those college years, but none that make a difference to this story. LOL!
Years later, when I decided that the time for lawyering for over and that I needed to find a hobby, I ventured into scrapbooking. And began another serious Steph/f collection. I have sooooo many Steph/f scrapbooking friends. Steph H., Steph the frog - I've met Buckeye Stephs, nurse Stephs, and many other Stephs.
And one Stef. The lone f among many ph's. And it was clear from the beginning that she and I were meant to be friends. Same name, same profession, same age, birthdays one day apart, our kids share a birthday, same/similar college and law school experiences, took non-traditional routes to law school and graduated at the same time, and on and on. Too many similarities to count. Seriously kind of eerie. And while, she's closer than Steph in Alaska, Nebraska isn't exactly next door, either. And it really sucks that I'm not closer as she goes through chemo.
And it kinda strikes me as funny that Steph and I had virtually nothing in common when we first met - well, we were both tall and blond and our middle names are the name (although she spells hers the WRONG way - haha!!!), but really, our lives had been very, very different. And then Stef and I - well, our lives had been very, very much the same.
And it also strikes me as kinda funny that when I tell Tom, “Hey, I got the best email from Steph today!”, he rolls his eyes and says, “Which Steph?” ‘Cause to me, Steph and Stef do not sound like the same name to me. SteF is totally SteFFFFFF while Steph sounds like just plain ‘ole Steph. Totally different. And, it doesn’t help him when I say, “Steph in Alaska” or “Stef in Nebraska” ‘cause, well, Nebraska and Alaska are pretty similar, too. Just kinda strikes me as funny.
And, don’t even get me started on my S friend collection. Besides Steph/fs, I have Sharyn, Sharon, Sue, Stacey, Stacy, Stacy, Susan, Sara, Sarah, Shiromi, Sherry, Sheri, Suz, and Sandi. And, I’m sure there are a ton more. But, I’ll save them for another day. ;)
Oh, and Wen, I’m willing to bet money that your parents wanted to name you Steph, but couldn’t for some reason. :)