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Writer shares memories of old friends

Rebecca Bunch.jpg

Rebecca Bunch Columnist

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By Rebecca Bunch

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Old friends.

For many years my thoughts about old friends have been tied together by the lyrics from the song “Old Friends” written years ago by Paul Simon, in my opinion one of America’s finest songwriters.

Simon, as those who love song lyrics will recall, was one half of the legendary duo Simon and Garfunkel. With Simon’s heartfelt lyrics and the wistful blend of his voice with that of Art Garfunkel, they formed a sound and a recording history that will be remembered always.

Among the words from “Old Friends” that have remained with me are these:

“Old friends sat on their park bench like bookends … Can you imagine us years from today … Old friends, memory brushes the same years … I have a photograph, preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.”

The other day I had the rare chance to interview one of my old friends for a profile of a veteran I was asked to do for Veterans Day. And although our paths rarely cross anymore Louis Belfield and I still share memories – and laughs – about the long ago days when I was one of his students at John A. Holmes High School and he was my Biology teacher.

Even with all the students who passed through his Biology classroom in the years after I did, he and I both still remember how I steadfastly refused to dissect frogs during class, due to an intense dislike for the smell of formaldehyde that filled our classroom on lab day and lingered on our skin.

Getting the chance to share his memories of a life well lived with our readers is a treat for me. The man has done things that have really made a difference in our community and our world, as you’ll see when you read my story. Made me even prouder to know him!

It also got me thinking about other old friends that have touched my life over the years. Some, like another former teacher of mine, Jake Boyce, who calls me one of his “success stories” because people enjoy my writing so much, are still friends while others have come and gone over the years.

Many are former co-workers like Bud Amburn and Pete Manning, my first bosses in the newspaper business. They still maintain a sentimental attachment to the Herald and we hear from them from time to time.

Others, from my childhood and school days, exist now only in my memory, like my closest high school friend, Nancy Overton. It is to her that I’d like to dedicate some of the lyrics from another song written by Paul Simon, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” that never fails to remind me of our friendship. They go something like this:

“Sail on, Silver Girl

Sail on by

Your time has come to shine

All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine

If you need a friend

I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will ease your mind …”

To all my friends, new and old, thanks for taking the time to remember me on my birthday Friday with gifts, cards, phone calls, emails, Facebook posts and even personal visits to the Herald. You’ll always have a special place in my heart.

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