Real friendship is precious

When you get to my age, you start losing relatives and close friends through illness. Recently, the last of my friends who date back to the 40s, died, and this made me ruminate on what I was missing and indeed, what I have missed over the years. This in turn made me evaluate the sort of friendships that the young people will have today, when you consider all the various influences that they have on their lives.
What happened to my parents, with respect to friends, happened to me, because we were all caught up in wars, that meant you lost touch with the friends that you had made in your school-days. Sophie my wife, had no such impediment, and all her friends that she had had since early childhood, her school days and her university days then became my friends when I married her, and this included husbands where they existed The level of trust and friendship that we had with these people , the help they gave when we were in trouble, and the constant pleasure of their company on holidays, outings, parties, celebrations and year round, was something one cannot buy. To have this level of friendship requires certain conditions. You have to live within easy access, you need to not only enjoy but look for their company, have implicit trust in them under all circumstances, and this ultimately makes them part of your family, although this is never acknowledged
I know of several cases where parents have retired, and gone to live near their children in another part of the country, because there were also the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but in these cases few have been all that successful, firstly because they have now lost friendships that they have had for at least 40 years, and in some cases the children themselves have later moved away, because of changes in their workplace.
There is a some difference between a friendship which is is as a result of mixing on a daily basis, or living next door, compared with those friendships that have come about primarily from school.days. What I say here, does not in any way denigrate those friendships come about by circumstance, or indeed as neighbours or workmates, on the contrary, these too can be long and strong as I have found, but friendship, I believe, has to be maintained, not taken for granted, and is definitely a two-way street. It should be remembered that when you get older friendship becomes even more important, the children have gone, to some extent you are thrown on your own ability to entertain yourself, but this is also a time when old friends help one another.
The young people of today are more prone to go away from home to find work, with the result that the friendships that they made at school while still there, are only serviced when the opportunity and the time allows, in my experience with my grandchildren, these friendships are strong, but when they meet I believe it is a little frenetic, not as relaxed as if they had never left, and while not false, the participants are aware of the clock. Another aspect of this fractured existence, is that the children and grandchildren are not part of that friendship, which they were in my generation, and so I suspect the level of friendship experienced by any one family is more than likely to be very small compared with what we were lucky enough to have.

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