For 25 years I have been trying to find some dear friends that I met while working at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois in the late 70’s. We both lived at the married housing on campus. He was a transfer student from Bangladesh. His wife and I met at the laundry facility one weekend while doing our laundry. They had not been in the US for very long and had not experienced snow before. We talked and laughed while washing and folding our clothes.
Soon after that meeting I had to have surgery (a tonsillectomy). I was 29 yrs old and it was not an easy recovery. The day I came home from the hospital this new acquaintance came to visit me. I was unable to speak because my throat was swelled completely shut, literally. She sat in a chair beside me, neither one of us said a word; but that was one of the best visits I had ever had. Without saying a word, she comforted me by her presence and her shy smile. From that day on we were fast friends.
At the time of our meeting, my son and I lived in an area of the married housing not too near our new friends, but we often walked to their apt and they to ours to spend time together. They had a young daughter who was near my son’s age and they hit it off as playmates.
A short time later, the university called to tell me that my name had come up for an end apartment. The end apts were the biggest and best apts; consequently, it was difficult to get assigned to one, so there was a waiting list. My name had finally been reached and there was a vacancy – right next to our new-found friends! They were in the end apartment on the south side of the building and we were on exactly the same end on the north side.
I have many fond memories of our visits, trips, and meals together. They taught us so much about their culture and lives in Bangladesh. We helped them understand some of the strange customs in the US. (Such as, why on the first warm day of summer, there were young women lying all over the college campus with their bodies exposed!) That was not something they had ever seen in their home country since women there do not wear revealing clothing and also because they do not wish to get a tan. Another difference between their country and the US was the fact that we have speed limits and stop signs, something a traffic ticket or two taught them. LOL! I asked how they kept from having accidents in their country and they said that whoever gets to the intersection first gets to go through first!
That was in the early 80’s. I then met my soon-to-be husband and moved to another town and our friends moved on to Texas for a job opportunity. Unfortunately, we lost each other from that point on.
I often thought about them and wondered how they were, where they were. When we got the internet I started trying to find them but their name was a very common name and I was never able to narrow down the long list of people with the same name.
You know by now where I am going with this post…….I found them on Facebook last Saturday morning. Now we have all re-connected. My son and their daughter have long since grown up, but now they will be able to keep in touch via Facebook and I will likewise be able to talk to my lost friends again.
Amazing grace! Thank you Facebook!
(There was a crab apple tree right next to our patio on Eastern’s campus where my son played with their daughter in the spring and summer and where we had picnics together. That is why I have posted a picture of a crab apple tree in bloom.)