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Getting Our Jersey On

You couldn't come up with a more unlikely group of friends in terms of personality, politics, income, sexual orientation and personal style, but our shared experience as slightly wild teenagers bonded us for life.
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Every summer for the last decade, I've gotten together with five close friends from high school for what we call Girl's Weekend at a beach house in New Jersey. Four of us still live in the New York City metropolitan area, but one friend drives down from Boston and another flies in from the West Coast. It's become something of a sacred ritual -- which is not to say that we behave with decorum.

You couldn't come up with a more unlikely group of friends in terms of personality, politics, income, sexual orientation and personal style, but our shared experience as slightly wild teenagers bonded us for life.

In the '70s, we hitchhiked up and down the same shoreline -- the one we now gaze upon from under our beach umbrellas -- and hoped to rendezvous with some of the cute surfers who hung out at Johnny's parking lot in Long Branch, New Jersey. We laugh about the time we got busted for getting high in a friend's basement in the morning on a school day and had to march up the stairs with our hands in the air. The police didn't charge us, thank God. Instead, they made us sit in silence in the station until our furious mothers were able to come get us, which felt like strong punishment in and of itself. We talk a lot about our mothers and how they were in constant communication with each other, trying, unsuccessfully, to keep track of our whereabouts. We also talk a lot about our kids (five of us have them) and what they are doing to torment us, amuse us or make us proud.

We day-drink, overeat and play loud music. We jump in the ocean, get too much sun and give each other grief about our youthful indiscretions. We also feel comfortable enough to confide in one another, to brag, to argue and, occasionally, to cry. We don't really think much about what we are wearing. It's all about comfort.

We have overcome some enormous obstacles, including the death of close friends and parents and siblings, the suicide of a child, sexual abuse, depression, job loss, family dysfunction, financial hardship and more in the decades we have known one another. Somehow, we have all managed to get and stay married. The fact that we survived our teenage years is its own miracle! But the enduring nature of our friendship is an even bigger one.

This year our get-together begins on Friday, July 22nd. Can't wait! Here's to the comfort of long friendships.

Go to Apprécier to see what I'll be packing.