Betta seems to have had three very close friends when she was in college. They lived together and they were as close as sisters. They seemed to have drifted apart over the years.
A young boy named Benny from the neighbourhood stops by and leaves a note on her front porch. Later he returns with muffins and an offer to help Betta around the house. They seemed to like each other right away. Betta also seems to be making friends with Delores, the realtor. Betta is lonely for friendship right now, it seems her only friend was John. Suddenly Betta needs to know where her three friends from college are after all these years and she wants to find them.
Why do you think she feels this way? Do you think Kierkegaard is right in saying that no matter how many years have passed, when good friends meet again, they will pick up where they left off ?
First of all, this biographical information on Elizabeth Berg might be of significance to her writing.
“Elizabeth Berg was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on December 2, 1948. Her father was a career military man who moved the family from base to base. Berg’s pain over the various dislocations and relocations as a self-described “Army brat” became the foundation of her first novel, Durable Goods (1993). She has been a waitress, chicken washer, rock ’n’ roll singer, information clerk and registered nurse—and launched her career by winning a Parents magazine essay contest. “
Elizabeth was born and raised into a military family. It is her ‘real’ experience (and I do think there are autobiographical elements to this book, given that Betta herself is a author of children’s books) to move away from good friends. I have grown up in the same environment and would attest to the fact that when good friends meet again, they don’t necessarily pick up where they left off, although I think this has been my parents’ experience.
Rather, people can imagine and hope so much that when they meet again, all will be the same and they will be as close as they were at another time of their lives. I think it could go either way…I would guess that timing and need is everything where this is concerned.
Innately, I think Betta imagines she is the same person. Things are different when we encounter a dear friend, years later, not necessarily because the other person has changed, but because you yourself have changed and your experiences are different. You’ve built a new context. My close friends are recognized in my life because of what we shared…Laurel Barclay for our sitting tree, Geri-Lyn Heaslip for our barbie dolls and dancing to 45s, Debbie Harris for our slow conversations on our walks to school, Ramona DeGeorgio for our teenaged mindset.
I think Betta needs to feel close to someone again. Someone she could spend time with and someone she could share her pain with. Everyone needs a old friend now and then. I think if they are as good of friends as Betta thinks, they will somehow come to her.
Kiekegaard may be right in saying that good friends can pick up where they left off after time. Maybe it would depend on where they were in your life at the time when you met them. I have a friend like that, and even after so many years passed without her in my life, we did find each other again. At the time we both agreed that it felt like no time had passed. Eventually we lost track of each other and now it has been many years since I have heard from her. (I wonder where she is today?)