ROSE NOLEN: Shared memories, experiences make us stronger

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 | 3:51 p.m. CST

My cousin’s best friend was her neighbor. They drank coffee together every morning and said goodbye to each other every night. They had lived side by side for as long as any of us could remember.

When her neighbor passed away, my cousin moved into a nursing home and stayed there the rest of her life. When anyone in our family refers to best friends, they always bring up our cousin and her neighbor.

My cousin and her friend grew up together. They became friends as young girls. They went to school together, went off to college together and married within a month of each other. They maintained an unusual relationship because they were never separate for more than a few months in all of their lives.

Most of us these days seldom live like that. Early in life, most of us move out of the town we were born in. By the time we reach middle age, we’ve lived in several places and seldom wind up in the place where we started. We make many friends but almost never keep the same ones for all of our lives.

Our mobility as a society costs us in many ways. We live in many houses and several neighborhoods, and our environments are constantly changing. Even the places where we do business constantly are changing. We don’t shop in the same stores where we used to go as children. Our children never have the same experiences we had when we were kids. Sometimes, just once, we would like our daughter or son to sample the same ice cream cone we used to enjoy when we were growing up.

But, of course, things have come and gone at such a rapid pace that we enjoy few of the same pleasures that our parents did. It’s almost as if we grew up in different worlds than our parents — and in fact, we did. Most of our parents never had computers or grew up with iPhones or any of the technology we have today. In my mother’s lifetime, there was no such thing as a cellphone.

My cousin was lucky to have a friend with whom she lived most of her life. They shared the same memories, and they shared the same friends. There was always someone with whom she could take a trip back in time.

Sometimes, it’s good to know someone who went to the same old movie that you did. That’s good to know, indeed.

Rose Nolen writes a weekly column for the Missourian. You can join the conversation by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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