Tuesday, September 10, 2013

An Old Friend

I met her on my ninth birthday.

It was actually my mom who introduced us. Having heard about the girl from others, I think she thought we'd have something in common. And she was right.

She and I went through a lot of life together. Girlhood, our teenage years, college, engagement, and even through marriage and early motherhood. She was always with me, sharing similar experiences and offering perspective on life through her honesty, winsomeness, imagination and delight in people and life.

A year after Dave and I were married, we camped our way through England for a week's vacation in August.  We ended up in Cambridge one rainy afternoon. After wandering for a bit, we ducked into a bookstore to pass the time while we waited for the rain to clear.

I remember so vividly, being down one aisle of that quaint British bookstore when I saw her.

I couldn't believe it!

It'd been ages since I'd seen her, but she looked exactly the same as I remembered her.

But even better, as we became reacquainted, I was shocked to find out I didn't know everything about her. I learned so much that afternoon.

In fact, I found out that two more whole books had been written about her.

Oh...I never told you her name. You know, come to think of it, you might know my friend too. Have you met Anne Shirley Blythe??

Yes, I'm talking about "Anne" from the Anne of Green Gables series!

Along with millions of others, Anne has been a "friend" of mine for years. I've read LM Montgomery's series of books countless times, too numerous to recall.

Seriously, that day in England when I discovered two more books in the series, it was like the greatest gift - like getting a really good "catch up" letter from a childhood friend.

(The original series of hard back books that my mom gave me over numerous birthdays and Christmases didn't include those two books, for some reason).

Imagine my shock when just yesterday, while doing a random search on the internet for something else, I found out there was YET ANOTHER book, the ninth and final book, published just in 2009!!!!

"Rilla of Ingleside", the eighth book, was published in 1921. It 'only' took 88 years for the final book to be published in its original form.

Covering Anne's life from ages 40-75, "The Blythes are Quoted" is actually not like the other books, but rather a compilation of short stories, poems and vignettes of Anne's life as she grew to be a grandmother.

Quoting Wikipedia:

An abridged version of this book, which shortened and reorganized the stories (dropping one story entirely) and omitted all the vignettes and all but one of the poems, was published as a collection of short stories called The Road to Yesterday in 1974, more than 30 years after the original work had been submitted. A complete edition of The Blythes Are Quoted, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, was finally published in its entirety by Viking Canada in October 2009, more than 67 years after it was composed. A paperback edition appeared in October 2010.

So...I have Anne for one last season of life!

Though I've read reviews that say this book has a different tone, it will be like gaining one last glimpse of my old friend, to see how she transitioned into new seasons of her life as she, I'm sure, gracefully aged.

I can hardly believe it. As I move into this next season of my own life, I've still got my friend, Anne, walking through yet another season with me.

For some reason, that's really comforting.

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