Monday, January 5, 2009

O Captain, My Captain

My friend Julie visited this weekend. Life is always better when Julie is around because Julie feels like home. Julie is uncontrollable laughter, ridiculous jokes, and warm chocolate chip cookies. Julie is my friend because when I suggest bagels for breakfast and follow it up by saying, "You're Jewish, don't your people like bagels?" she laughs like it's the funniest thing ever, instead of rolling her eyes and saying, YEAH THAT ONE'S BEEN DONE BEFORE, ERIN. Julie is my friend because she went to OXFORD, and that means I can impress people by saying, "Yeah, my friend Julie, you know, the one who went to Oxford?"

Mostly Julie is my friend because when I met her, I felt wonder at the fact that we hadn't already been friends for years. I met Julie my sophomore year of college in a lame Education course. The professor made us take something out of our bags/purses and say why it represented us, then we had to pair up with someone of similar interests. I rolled my eyes at the assignment, but ended up holding up a JD Salinger book and said it represented me because Shane bought it for me on our first date and because I loved to read. Julie sat by me because she also loved reading, and we quickly bonded over our mutual love of Dead Poet's Society and our mutual dislike of the ditzy sorority girls in our class. We had two classes in one day, with a two hour break between, and I sometimes made Julie come to my dorm room, otherwise I would fall asleep and miss the later class. One afternoon, my mom called and Julie caught a one-sided conversation that I knew made her curious. I got off the phone and poured my heart out to someone I barely knew. I told her that I'd been raped a few months prior, and that I was transferring home at semester because I couldn't handle being three hours away while healing from a trauma and while dealing with a court trial. Most people would shy away from someone with that much baggage, but Julie didn't. She listened and hugged and really let me pour my heart out, much more than a lot of people were able. And before I left to head for home, she wrote me one of the most beautiful letters I have ever received. She addressed it to O Captain, My Captain, and shortly after, she became my Tuwanda. Major respect to anyone who can name those two movie references!

And so we stayed friends, despite it all. When I went home and went through emotional and mental hell, Julie was always there. No matter how far apart we've been, no matter if there's an ocean separating us, Julie is always there. Even though I mostly fail at answering my phone or returning calls, Julie still puts up with me.
Julie and me (and Chris!), back when we were young and innocent (okay, mostly just young).


Julie and me yesterday. Please forgive my lack of makeup, pajamas, and unshowered self. Oh, and that messy little corner of the living room. Tornado Luke had just torn through it.

13 comments:

adg said...

Julie is also so cool she let a CREEPY STRANGER (aka ME) share her hotel room with you for your wedding!

Darcie said...

Everybody needs a friend like that. Including me. Think Julie would mind if you passed along her phone number? ;)

Sharon - Mom Generations said...

What a wonderful friendship... one that I'd love to hear more about! I just this past week reconnected with a college friend and I feel absolutely elated. Connie. She knows things about me that I have even forgotten! She is brilliant and fun and kind and caring... brilliant like Julie... Connie was accepted to Pembroke back in 1970 with a full scholarship. She didn't end up attending, but what an accomplishment!

I don't know your Tuwanda reference, but O Captain, My Captain is one of my most beloved poems by one of my most beloved writers about one of my most honored Americans. I taught it many, many years...

I love Julie. She is your captain.

Guinevere Meadow said...

Tuwanda= Fried Green Tomatos!!!

If I had been in your class that day, I think we would have bonded, too!! I hope someday we can meet!

Anonymous said...

ZOMG! How much do I love you AND your bagels AND your tornado Luke? Seriously- I'm at work trying not to look all emotional reading this! Thank you so much for everything and for beign awesome-- you never give yourself enough credit in that department! (Plus, you took my fast food garbage becuase the train station was closed-- I think that defines love!)

I can't wait to share many more stories of our silliness! I owe you big time for this weekend, as I deeply need the change of scenery.

LOVE YOU!

-Julie-

PS- I love sharing hotel rooms with creepy strangers. (Somehow that doesn't sound quite right.....)

Kim said...

Nothing better than great friends. Oh and for the movie references - Dead Poet's Society and Fried Green Tomatoes baby :)

Weith Kick said...

You are lucky to have a friend like Julie. We all should be so lucky.

Funny you mention Salinger, because one of my all time fav books is by him. It's called "Nine Stories." I read it at least once a year, I love it so much.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh Erin, can we meet Julie? And I LOVE that you mentioned Tuwanda!!!. I call on her from time to time!

Steph

anymommy said...

Friends like her are precious. I'm so glad you have her! And, I'm so glad you found her just when you needed her most. Some things really are meant to be.

InTheFastLane said...

Friends like this are so precious.

stokdyk said...

I look 1000 young in that picture

Kristin said...

i think julie is pretty fab too, and the craziest thing is that i only met her ONCE. how can this be? it seems like we have hung out gazillions of times, yet our total is still just 1!

kristin said...

ps, i love fried green tomatos. i'm just saying. ;p