Yesterday I had a long-overdue phone chat with my "Diana," my bosom friend from childhood. I hadn't realised just how much my poor soul still needs her. I have been so blessed with other friends just as dear, but there is something about "Diana" that cannot be replaced. It made me think about the other friendships in Anne of Green Gables.
- Katie Maurice and Violetta - Katie Maurice was Anne's reflection in a bookcase door, and Violetta was an echo. Ok, so these are imaginary friends. I can't recall ever having any, seriously, but I've always held quite detailed long-winded conversations with other people (real people, usually) that only happen in my head. Then there were my stuffies: Amy the rabbit, Amy the panda, Amy the panda purse, Amy the ragdoll, Amy the Care Bear... My 4-year-old often tells me what his "boys" are doing. The number varies, but it is usually two or three. Most of the time their names are any combination of Skyler, Skylander, Sky, Hotdog (also what he wants to name a cat one day), Watt, or Jacob.
- Matthew Cuthbert - Matthew and his sister Marilla adopted Anne. Matthew was a quiet and shy and industrious man of about 60 years old, and probably the first person who ever let Anne talk about her wild imaginations. I haven't had many father-figures in my life, but I cherish my Papa (my paternal grandfather). He is quiet and thoughtful like Matthew, and I just love the rare times that he tells me stories about growing up in Scotland, or imparts wisdom, such as "Every child should read the classics. It gives them their foundation." (or something like that...I can't remember his exact words). Plus, he's got that infamous Clark wit and knows everything about everything. I love him.
- Diana - Diana was the first child she was ever allowed to play with, having spent her childhood looking after other people's babies ("I enjoy babies in moderation Mrs. Hammond but twins three times in succession is too much!"). Before even getting to know her, Anne declared her a kindred spirit and they swore to be lifelong bosom friends. My Diana was also a friend because of proximity at first. Our mothers are good friends, and so once my older sister went to live with our grandparents when I was eleven (is it a coincidence that Anne and Diana were also eleven when they pledged their friendship?), we quickly became inseparable.
- Jane and Ruby - Yes, I did have more than one friend when I was a child/teenager, although at times it felt like I didn't. "Diana" and I were part of a girls' group started by two of the mothers. There were five of us "God's Girls", and we got to hang out regularly from about age 12 to age 14 when I moved away.
- Gilbert - I can't say I've ever hated anyone as passionately as Anne believed she hated Gilbert. Nor--until high school--did I ever have a male friend for more than the two weeks at summer camp (and honestly, those boys were most likely my friends just because they had a crush on the gorgeous "Diana"). Actually, I was not allowed to be friends with boys at all. So when my now-husband started seeking me out and talking to me, I had no idea whether he just wanted to be friends or what.
- Mrs. Allan - A mentor, an encourager, a friend. One of my "Mrs. Allans" is my "Diana's" mother. She's my second mama. I learned just as much from her as from my own mother, and spent nearly as much time at her house as my own. Two of my aunts also played Mrs. Allan's role in my life. Without them, I wouldn't have had the courage to make the choice to go to public high school (my very first act of rebellion and my very first independent choice), and I would have been even less prepared for marriage at age 19.
- Stella and Priscilla - Stella and Priscilla were the friends that Anne met at Queens College. They were the ones that Anne chose when she knew herself better, rather than being just the closest in proximity like Jane and Ruby. Their souls matched Anne's, and their friendship lasted through Queens, through two years of teaching in distant parts of the Island, and three years of living together for university. I have a few of these. The friends I've mad as a late teen and adult. I've gone from thinking I'm a stereotyped first-born loner destined to have only one good friend, to having more friends than I have time to spend with them. I am so blessed. (yes, I know I'm technically second-born, but my sister moved out when I was 11, and I have way more first born tendencies. I am not a stereotypical middle child, that's for sure.)
- Marilla and Mrs. Rachel Lynde - If you're familiar with the book, you may wonder why I've left these two characters 'til the end, since they are the first two characters we meet in the book. Or maybe you won't wonder, because you'll realise that Anne's relationship with these two esteemed women didn't really develop into friendship until closer to the end of the book. They are the mother-figures. The ones who offer advice and critique and love whether it is wanted or not. It may take awhile to realise the priceless value of the mother-figures in your life, because their role also comes with conflict. My mother and my Nanny (paternal grandmother) are the ones that I value more and more as time goes on.