Twenty-nine years ago today, my best friend Gwendolyn Joy Niven was born.
Gwendolyn and I first met when we were five, in Ms. Johnson's kindergarten class in South Hill Elementary School. Word on the playground was that Gwendolyn was a speller. A good speller. So one day, when in no doubt working on my latest and greatest literary masterpiece, I walked up to Gwendolyn, who was building a house out of blocks, and said: "Hi, I'm Wendy. How do you spell cow?" She spelled it out for me and apparently that was all it took to form a bond because we have been friends ever since.
Even though we didn't get insanely close until high school, we were in the same group of friends all throughout elementary school and middle school; I was invited to every single birthday party that Gwendolyn ever had and she was invited to every single one of mine.
Reader, if you don't know Gwendolyn, I can already tell you that you would like her.
She is incredibly giving, incredibly friendly, incredibly funny, incredibly smart, incredibly discerning, and incredibly creative.
She will always ask you how you are, even if you don't ask her. She will always be there to help you if you need it, even if sometimes you think you don't. She will always go out of her way to make you feel included and make you feel like she is happy that you are there.
Also, who do you know at the tender age of nine, that has a "dress like your favorite character" themed birthday party and shows up as Annie, when the rest of her counterparts may or may not have shown up as various members of the Baby Sitters Club? I ask you, reader: who would you rather hang out with? Yeah. That's what I thought...
Gwendolyn is effusive and kind and I am pretty much her Eeyore counterpart. But that is one of the many reasons that I love her so much: because deep down Gwendolyn sees the best in everyone and believes in everyone and I...don't exactly. But being around her and being her friend makes me better a person. Just by the transitive property.
So, my dearest Friendolyn...
You are a true, kindred spirit and I am so so glad that you were born. Who else would I be able to drive around with for hours and have exhilarating and complex philosophical discussions? Who else would I be able to go out to restaurants with in Corning NY, speaking entirely in a British Accent?
No one. Ever.
Gwendolyn did admit somewhat recently to making up about half of the spellings she gave us back in kindergarten. BUT she did think my middle name was Suzanne until approximately five years ago. So, I guess we're even. I guess.
Heart you always.