As I journey through my fortieth year I want to take time to thank people who have had an impact on me and my life. Each person to whom I write has shaped me and is partly to ‘blame’ for the person I am becoming!!! This second letter is to someone who I think might have become my best friend if we had not moved away.
You might not even remember me; we were friends at The Abbey School. I just wanted to write to you to say, “thank you. I felt safe with you in a way that I have not often felt.” Looking back, I remember that just being with you made stuff feel ok. You always seemed so happy; I remember your smile. I remember your eyes, smiling! It was good being with you. There was a bunch of us in our class that just seemed to click; I hope you all continued to be friends after I moved away and had adventures together.
One of the things I remember not liking about myself as a child was being a bit arrogant and feeling superior. I don’t know where that came from? Probably from my own insecurity or something. I remember trying to prove that I was a better person and knew more stuff than other people. But I never remember needing to feel like that with you. I didn’t feel better than you or less than you. I didn’t feel I had to prove myself with you. I just was.
I remember walking with you between classes and on special ‘missions’ for the teachers. And those are really happy memories. To walk with someone and feel safe is such a privilege. And to walk with someone and make them feel safe is a gift and a blessing – so, thank you. I hope in my life I have managed to walk with people in the same way. I certainly intend to do so. I hope, that in my next 40 years, my smile will be as infectious as yours was. I hope that I make people feel that they can just be.
In writing this letter I’ve remembered so many other random things about our time at The Abbey,
- I remember I used to have ham and ketchup sandwiches and that every lunch time I would take out my little pot to add the ketchup to my sandwich – no one wants a soggy sandwich
- I remember Mr Henretti teaching some of us to play the ocarina, and Mr Chapman teaching us to play hand bells
- I remember Robert’s dog that used to sing along to the TV
- I remember Katie’s birthday party
- I remember my friend who had a packet of skips every single break time and would give me one
- I remember thinking the Year 6 boys were the biggest people in the world!
Richard, whatever you’ve done over the last 30 years, I hope you’ve continued to walk well with people and make them feel safe. And more than anything, I hope that others have walked with you through the corridors of life and made you feel safe too. Thank you for your friendship in those formative years.
Thank you for being a part of my life.