” these small pieces of luggage were first used around 1948 and are called “train cases” because they were used for train travel, basically for carrying toiletries”.
I turned 62 this week. Shocking, I know. Shouldn’t I be 45 and holding? Apparently not. Anyway, as is customary for me, I spent time looking back and reminiscing about birthdays past.
I was privileged to be raised in a really small town which wasn’t actually a town but a community, with no population listed on the sign. A place so small you could mail me a letter with only my name on it, no street address, only the name of the town and zip code. My college friends thought it was hysterical.
I thought it was perfect.
Some of my first memories of birthday celebrations centered around my friends at school and our birthday “parties”. My family, as well as the families of my friends, were not rich. Heck…. we were far from it. There were no limousines or fancy dress up parties or trips. No paid entertainment, no party favors and as my memory serves, no gifts from friends. What we did have was lots of innocent fun and overnight bunking parties!
When one of my friends (you know who you are) had a birthday, all the girls in my class (it was really, really small) were invited to spend the night! Oh my gosh how exciting! We could barely contain ourselves during the school day (yes, the school day…) and when the bell rang we all grabbed our train cases and headed to the birthday girl’s bus. There were no notes to the teacher, no permission slips, no worries…. teachers, can you believe that? We would go running, all 10-15 of us to the bus and to our adventure. Once on the bus we would stack our train cases in the front by the driver (totally against today’s rules) ready for our overnight bunking fun. The busdriver, who I’m sure we knew by name, would tease us about our stack of luggage and how much trouble we were going to get in to and how brave the birthday girl’s parents were!
I shut my eyes and I can see Becky’s mom having cheeseburgers ready for us as we unloaded. She was funny and welcoming and we loved her. At Jan’s we had marvelous “dress up” parties because for some reason her mom had boxes of fancy clothes and hats upstairs. At Janet’s I flipped the mini bike trying to ride/drive for the first time. Mother almost didn’t let me go to Gail’s because she thought sweet Aunt Emma had too many children, nieces and nephews to care for. I begged to go and she gave in…and Aunt Emma danced with us, fed us and it was perfectly wonderful. Pam’s was always so much fun, Shana was there and we walked the woods behind the house and stayed up late talking about school and boys…ha. I remember Frances’ where we had fresh milk and homemade bread and Pam C’s where her single mom laughed with us and fed us like queens. Never were there enough beds but sleeping on the floor was no issue for us! The more little girls all over the floor the better! My birthday was in October and there were huge oak trees in our yard so we raked leaves, jumped in leaves, built fires and cooked hot dogs…. everybody was on their best behavior because after all, Irene was a teacher…
After each bunking party we woke up, we were fed a homemade breakfast, and we climbed back on the bus and went back to school for another day.
What an innocent time. What a precious time.
What wonderful people. Good as gold people.
Lots of things have changed since then… but parents still love their children and their children’s friends. Hearts continue to break for those less fortunate….those without friends or families who love them.
I’m fortunate enough to stay in touch with most of these high school friends by facebook, with my college sorority sisters through both a group chat and a weekly call (where we tell the same stories over and over) and my Jonesboro friends who go above and beyond taking care of me. I have been so blessed to have girlfriends from my childhood and career, my church and my community…… friends that I would do anything for and who I’m confident will be there for me until the end. What do the kids say? “Ride or Die”…..those are my people.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-14
So…. my hope is that you appreciate and treasure your friends. All of them. If you are struggling to find that special friend group maybe you need to reach out, join the church, join the community group, volunteer, be the one who hosts the party and plans the potluck….. Money doesn’t matter, things don’t matter, people matter, relationships matter.
Grab your traincase and get on the bus. You’ll never regret the trip, I promise.