Of special friendships, from childhood to beyond

Holly (left) and Kim watching their beloved Tar Heels play basketball at Top of the Hill on Franklin Street. (photo courtesy of Chapelboro.com).

I’ll never forget when I first asked my best friend Holly (whom I had just met in sixth grade) to my house for a sleepover.

“Mom,” Holly yelled excitedly as she held the phone away from her ear for a moment. “Karen wants me to come to a slumber party!”

My name is Kim, not Karen. But thus began a special friendship that would take us through the awkward junior and high school years in a small North Carolina town, to college at UNC, then weddings, births of babies and beyond.

It’s a friendship that very much reminded me of the one 1988 Carolina alums Susan Spencer-Wendel and Nancy Maas Kinnally share in Susan’s compelling memoir, Until I Say Goodbye: My Year of Living with Joy (HarperCollins). The book chronicles Susan’s journey with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Carolina is a big university, but a small community, too, for it was a fellow Tar Heel who first told me about Susan’s book.

Just as Nancy was drawn to Susan’s sense of humor and joie de vivre, I was drawn to my best friend’s crazy, fun outlook on life. (Holly, remember when you used to stick spit balls in my hair in French class?)

We are both Scorpios, with November birthdays just three days apart. And 1988 was our special UNC year, too.

Holly and I have shared some sad times together — the death of her father, the miscarriage of my first child — but through it all, we’ve managed to find the laughter, too.

To this day, whenever we get together for lunch on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, we are often doubled over, giggling at some silly memory or a fresh story about raising teenagers. She is one of the few people I can tell anything, and I know she’ll understand.

Susan Spencer-Wendel writes in her book that she keeps a list on her iPhone of the little things that she loves, something everyone should do.

Two of those things are: A chilled fine white wine, and a friend to share it with.

I am ever more grateful that I have such a friend.

[ By Kim Weaver Spurr ’88 ]