30 Then-And-Now Images That Show Beautiful Decades-Long Friendships

Thank you for being a friend.

Your tribe. Your wolf pack. Your people. Whatever you call them, a woman's friendship with her best girlfriends is a powerful one.

The strongest friendships often start in childhood -- you know, with the nice girl in grade school who shared her pudding pack when you forgot your lunch. And if you're really lucky, the respect, trust and fun found in these sacred early relationships truly do last forever.

With a little help from our editor-at-large, Rita Wilson, we asked our amazing community of Huff/Post 50 readers to tell us about their most important relationships: the ones with their lifelong gal pals. We were astounded by the outpouring of stories and photos -- over 600 in total. While every long-lasting female friendship deserves special mention, here are just a few of the heartwarming pieces we received from women of all walks of life, but with one thing in common: loyalty and love for their longtime friends.

Bonnie and Joanne, best friends for 60 years
Bonnie Adamick
“I literally cannot remember life without Joanne. Until now, that is, because she passed away all too soon this past May, just months after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She was my champion in every sense of the word. She never once lost faith in me. Not a day passes that I don't miss her, think about her and feel grateful for all she gave to me in our 60 years of friendship. She is irreplaceable.“ -- Bonnie
Donna, Erminia, Norma, Freda, Gerry, Lois and Fran, best friends for over 50 years
Donna Halliday
“We are known to friends and family as the BINGO Girls. This is a circle of friends and young mothers who formed a monthly bingo group almost 50 years ago. We support, celebrate, love and -- most of all -- laugh together through whatever life throws our way. We are more like sisters than friends and we truly treasure each other.” -- Donna
Sharon, Margy and Caity, best friends for nearly 50 years
Caity Wallace
“We did everything together. Through dating, first boyfriends, graduations, going away to college, and eventually moving to different areas of the country.
We lost Sharon 10 years ago to cancer. Since then, Margy and I have gotten even closer, and we both have made changes in our lives we could not have foreseen. We feel Sharon in these endeavors.” -- Caity
Blanca, Ana Maria and Maria, best friends for over 60 years
Blanca Combas
“We have cried together, worried together and laughed together. I believe that in a good friendship you need to share trust, respect and a good sense of humor for the relationship to last that long.” -- Blanca
Beverly and Renee, best friends for over 50 years
Beverly Copeland Harrison
“As adults we have shared the joys of marriages, births, countless holidays and travel. We have supported each other through hardships like death, divorce and illness. Now in our fifties, we are both facing our toughest challenge of caring for elderly parents. Our families still live on the same street and a few years ago we found ourselves back in the place we grew up, providing care for our parents. I am so blessed to have this unique bond.” -- Beverly
Gwen and Judy, best friends for over 60 years
Gwen Chasan
“We gained (and lost) husbands, children and grandchildren. We have long phone calls, helping each other over the crises and catastrophes, kvelling when it all goes right. We are ever present in each other's hearts and lives.” -- Gwen
Janet and Roberta, best friends for nearly 70 years
Janet Valenti
“We have always been there for each other. I lost my husband when I was 38. Roberta was always there for me. Today, in our seventies, our bond is as strong today as it was when we were children.” -- Janet
Janna and Peggy, best friends for 50 years
Janna Wong Healy
“We come from different backgrounds, different professions and have very different personalities. But, through it all, we have remained besties. I love her and I'm extremely proud of our friendship, which has definitely withstood the test of time.” -- Janna
Judy and Beverly, best friends for over 50 years
Judy Bjornsen
"We haven’t lived in the same city for 40 years, but we talk every week and see each other several times a year. Neither one of us has sisters, but she is more than a sister to me. She is beautiful inside and out!” -- Judy
Esther and Shirley, best friends for over 75 years
Laura Siegel
"She’s my surrogate sister. We update each other on our families and our lives whenever we speak. We laugh together and we cry together, and we've been friends for 76 years!" -- Esther
Linda and Deborah, best friends for nearly 60 years
Linda Murawski
“We have gone through every imaginable life experience together. The one constant that has held was that we have always been there for each other whether it was a congrats for something good, a pick-me-up for when we're down, a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board, a hand when there were health scares or just someone to say 'I love you.' I think the secret to our friendship is that we always accepted each other as we are -- faults and all.” -- Linda
Mary, Susan, Jean and Claire, best friends for 50 years
Mary Scalercio
“We have been there as a support system as hard decisions needed advice: sickness, infidelity, life-changing situations, aging parents, happy and sad times. When we get together we laugh until we cry or cry until we laugh. We are so grateful to have one another to go through this wonderful life we have!” -- Mary
Michelle and Marcy, best friends for 55 years
Michelle Wexler
“We went to Hebrew school and summer camp together -- and got into quite a bit of mischief together. We were bridesmaids at each other’s weddings. Needless to say, we laugh a lot. Even though we haven't lived in the same state since 1983, our shared history -- like sisters -- keeps us close.” -- Michelle
Sandy, Gail, Jana, Janet, Susie, Lynette, Kari, Lynn and Teri, best friends for over 50 years
Sandy Lynch
“These women have been there to share in my joys and sorrows. They have kept me centered, grounded and reminded me of my roots. They really know me, my weaknesses, my strengths. They get me like no parent, sibling, husband or child can. That is the beauty of female friendship.” -- Sandy
Sharla and Laura, best friends for over 50 years
Laura Miller
“I believe we have stood the test of time because we have allowed ourselves to be vulnerable with each other. We are truly excited about each other's accomplishments and sad for each other's failures. We have never competed with one another. Friendship is like marriage. You have to put work into it.” -- Laura
Sheri, Eileen, Kathy, Maryann, Margie, and Maureen, best friends for over 50 years
Sheri L. Mullane
“I never had any biological sisters, but these 'girls' are my real sisters. We love and respect each other, and we know that each of us would do anything for any of our sisters. I truly love these ladies and I could not have made it through all my life's trials and tribulations without them.” -- Sheri
Sue and Laurie, best friends for almost 60 years
Sue Barenholtz
“Our moms were BFFs and so are we. We have a bond that no one or nothing can break and, believe me, we've tested it many times in almost 60 years. She has been my coach and cheerleader and I have been hers.” -- Sue
Terri and Deborah, best friends for over 50 years
Deborah Sibley
“We’ve shared laughs and tears, insane attempts at being cool and questionable date choices, and years of memories that always bring smiles to our faces. Now approaching 60, our friendship was truly evident when we were willing to 'go gray' together.” -- Deborah
Terri, Lana, Linda and Patti, best friends for over 55 years
Terri Harrison
“We’ve been through it all ... puberty, boyfriends, college, marriages, kids, divorce, careers, menopause ... and now, Social Security and Medicare!” -- Terri
Maren, Marlene and Charlyne, best friends for nearly 50 years
Maren Turner
“We have survived tragedies, distance, turmoil and relationships that did not work out. They are definitely my girls and part of my placenta of love and support!” -- Maren
Ann, Vita, Elise, Mary, Martha and Cherry, best friends for over 50 years
Ann Plunk
“We attended school together but after graduation in 1974, we all went off to separate colleges. There were marriages for some of us, graduate school for several, careers, children, and now grandchildren. We reconnected in 2006 for a 50th birthday celebration, rented a limo, cruised our old haunts and drank champagne!” -- Ann
Virginia, Aurora, Ana Lidia, Laura, Lorena, Patricia, Ana and Maria, best friends for 40 years
Virginia Galvan
“Since the very beginning, we were inseparable. We have seen each other through happy and difficult times. Friendship means love and acceptance -- without judgement and with respect.” -- Virginia
Janet and Patsy, best friends for 50 years
Janet Martinez
“I believe the reason our friendship has lasted this long is because we both have the same integrity, spiritual awareness, and sense of humor. No one else gets my humor like Patsy does. As the saying goes, we can finish each other's' sentences.” -- Janet
Millie and Mary Rose, best friends for over 65 years
Kiernan Wilkins
“We first met when we were fellow students at the University of Akron but I later left town. We kept in contact through letters for many years. In 2002 my husband and I arrived at our new retirement community and were surprised to find Millie and her husband living there also. I think of, and love Millie, as the sister I never had. Now, at 88-years-old, it’s obvious our friendship has stood the test of time.” -- Mary Rose
Bano, Tanweer and Rafat, best friends for over 40 years
Saba Haque
“Our families migrated from Pakistan in the early 1970s to New York. They have been through bad times and good times together. When Tanweer became a widow at a young age, both Bano and Rafat were there for her. When Rafat recently became a widow two years ago, both Tanweer and Bano traveled to support her. They were always there for each other and could rely on each other.” -- Tanweer’s daughter, Saba
Laura, Robin, Cheryl, Cathy Jo and Karen, best friends for 50 years
Laura Toth Kaiser
“We feel that our parents’ lasting friendships, our mothers’ sense of womanhood and friendship, strong Hungarian cultural ties, and lots of years of laughter, tears, wine and great desserts contributed to our lasting friendship.” -- Laura
Alice and Laurice, best friends for 40 years
Alice Kerr
“We really love and want the very best for each other. We are not judgmental towards each other. We are loyal, compassionate, honest, trustworthy and encouraging toward each other. When we talk over the phone or visit, it is all about having fun and enjoying the company of someone who has surpassed being a best friend and is more like a sister.” -- Alice
Allison and Linda, best friends for 40 years
Allison Quensen Blatt
“We share decades of inside jokes and familiar stories, and we know each other well enough to readily understand each other’s current news, concerns, and interests. We call ourselves Thelma and Louise, although we intend to stay away from the canyon rim and keep on having adventures!" -- Allison
Janine and Lisa, best friends for over 45 years
Janine Chakir
“I personally believe the reason why our friendship has lasted is true love for each other, respect for our history together, and because we are the only ones who truly know each other -- even more than our husbands know us! Whenever we talk on the phone or text it's like we we're 15 again, laughing and joking all the time. It’s rare to find that and we are very lucky to have each other.” -- Janine
Cathleen and Denise, best friends for over 50 years
Cathleen Sparrow
“Denise is the most caring, giving and nonjudgmental person I know. She has always been there for me through thick and thin -- even when I wasn't there for her. When things are bad, she's the girlfriend I call and it's like we've never been apart.” -- Cathleen

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