Last month we said good bye to a place that was synonymous with my teens. Sure Friends had the Coffee Shop and Sex and the City had the Diner, and How I Met Your Mother has McClarens. My friends and I we had 3701 Landis.
It was my best friends home but in so many ways it was all of our home. And it wasn’t just because her mom welcomed us all or that she put up with our hijinks or that she made (and still does) the worlds best taco’s. It was all of those things but mostly it was that you always knew you had a place there. Everyone was welcome, no one was turned away. Even if you were the kid on the bus no one talked to you could still come to the Halloween party. And people from every level of the high school social class system came and went throughout the years.
But there was always us, the girls, who were constants. Who threw parties and made punch and invited the masses. Who had slumber parties and stayed up till dawn, who would climb out the living room window to sit on the shed and stare at the moon.
Secrets were shared and tears fell and how we laughed and laughed. There was always laughter. All of our best stories took place there, the ones we will tell again and again when we are old and grey.
And I like to think I knew this when we were living those moments. I like to think that I had the hindsight to know how special it was. I don’t always think I did. Teenage friendships are tumultuous, teenage girl friendships even worse. And I don’t know if I knew then how lucky we were, to have each other.
But when I look at the dozen photo albums of those years, I know somewhere the sentimental soul in me knew enough to take those pictures. She knew those moments were so important that she made her boyfriend run to WaWa at 3 am for more film. She knew those times were worth remembering.
And when I look at those pictures, I see the good times. I see friendships that should have been held tighter. I see friendships that have been rekindled and that I know, now I’m never letting go of again. In those pictures I see women who know me, even if we haven’t talked in weeks or months or years, better than anyone else ever could.
At 32, I now know how important that was to have a place where you knew you belonged. And I know now how necessary it is to have these people who knew you then and loved you despite it all and who know you now and love you because of it all. I know now that I’m holding on to these friendships.
I drove by 3701 this weekend and I looked for us. I looked for a familiar car, a surf board propped up next to a doorway, a bicycle on the bike rack or an empty beer can on a planter. And while none of those things were there, the memories of that place were with me and I knew that 3701 was the place we began as friends and certainly not a place where things ended.