A true friend, right down to the end

Edgefield School, basketball team

Edgefield School 6th grade basketball team. Two teammates wore light pants for the photo. Guess who they were?

By Bruce Stambaugh

There are friends, and then there are friends.

Dave and I have been friends for a lifetime. Given our age, that’s a long time. Just to be clear, Dave is several months older than me.

Growing up, we lived just a few blocks apart, though we didn’t necessarily run in the same gangs in our northeast Ohio neighborhood. In the 1950s, that meant we didn’t have the same circle of friends.

lifetime friend

My lifetime friend, Dave.

Still, we’ve been best buddies since grade school. We were in several classes together in our elementary school that overflowed with baby boomers. We have lots of fun memories from good old Edgefield School.

Not only that, but we also went to the same junior high school, high school, and college together. Shoot. We even majored in the same subject, journalism. Dave focused on marketing. I chose news writing.

A funny thing happened on the way to life. After completing our internships, his for a non-profit agency and mine at a major metropolitan newspaper, neither of us pursued that career.

We both ended up in rural Holmes Co., Ohio. Though neither of us was certified, we both became elementary teachers. Dave began his education career at Millersburg, Ohio. I started at nearby Killbuck.

Dave married the love of his life the first year he taught. I married during my second year of pedagogy to a beautiful woman I knew all of nine months. That was 45 years ago.

Guess who our best man was? Yep. Dave. Today, his wife and my wife are also best friends, two of a kind, kind of like Dave and me.

Dave and Kate had a girl and a boy. Neva and I had a girl and boy. We were even in the same Lamaze class together.

Now, no one would ever mistake Dave for me or me for Dave. I’m much more handsome than he is, and more modest too. Dave does have a better head of hair than me, which wouldn’t take much.

Dave and I came from similar God-fearing, middle-class families. His fine folks worked hard to ensure their two sons would contribute in the post-World War II world. Mine did the same, only with five raucous rascals to point in the right direction.

Cleveland Indians

Dave and I both like baseball, too.

Our parents instilled in us good manners, proper eating habits, and to keep the Sabbath like any good, church-going folks would. That meant after Sunday services, we played ball, went fishing or washed the car.

Dave and I dressed alike, too. Hand-me-down flannel shirts and blue jeans were appropriate for many occasions. That trait followed us into adulthood in an uncanny way.

On more than one occasion, Dave and I have shown up at the same event dressed as if we had agreed on the dress code before leaving. We didn’t.

Recently, we arranged to meet for dinner before attending a concert by Sonnenberg Station in Wooster, Ohio.

Right on cue, mostly thanks to our prompt wives, we arrived within minutes of each other. Dave had on a light blue shirt, dark blue sweater, beige khakis, and brown shoes. So did I.

When my wife told Dave’s wife that I was having a colonoscopy, Kate responded, “So is Dave!” The same day. Dave and I just laughed, until the preparations began.

I’m happy to report that we had the same results. We both see our gastroenterologists next in 2026.

I hope each of you have a friend like Dave. I hope you get a good report on your colonoscopy, too.

© Bruce Stambaugh 2016

14 Comments

Filed under family, friends, human interest, Ohio, writing

14 responses to “A true friend, right down to the end

  1. judith

    What a wonderful read! thanks for sharing..right to the end results no less. We all need good friends!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bonnie

    Everybody should have a GOOD friend like Dave, So many coincidences in your lives. Congratulations on the clean bill of health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they should, Bonnie. But those weren’t coincidences. All of those similarities simply reflected the mirrored upbringing that Dave and I had and live today.
      Thanks for sharing your comments.
      Bruce

      Like

  3. Bruce- I really enjoyed your article on your friendship with David Findley, an ” old” friend of mine too
    from our days at Taft Junior High School. I am so glad your friendship has endured all these years. Patty Reed Mitchell and I have been friends since our days at Taft . Even though we live far away from each other, we talk almost daily! I hope everyone has friends like we do……We are very lucky!

    Jackie Cable Taylor ( married to classmate, James Taylor)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jackie,

      It’s so good to hear from you. I remember you. I was too shy to ask you to dance at the Taft Jr. High dances. I didn’t know you married James. Yes, good friends like Dave and Patty are hard to find. I’m am grateful for a lifetime of friendship with Dave and Kate.
      All the best,
      Bruce

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ava

    Imagine the great joy and delight God had in orchestrating all the marvelous details of your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gail B.

    What an interesting tale and how wonderful for you Bruce! You are truly blessed to have such a long-term friendship. Long may it continue for both of you.
    Gail

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kevin lynch

    Thanks for another delightful romp down memory lane. It’s funny how reading columns by gifted writers provides me with fodder and inspiration for my own ramblings.

    Like

  7. Janis Stavana

    I really enjoyed this story, Bruce. We all need at least one good friend like this. I met mine at the beginning of Sophomore year of high school. We live on opposite ends of the country (Spokane and D.C.) but enjoy getting together when we can.

    Like

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