I reconnected with my childhood bestie after 20 years apart
When I was only seven years old, thanks to really, really begging my parents, I flew from from New Jersey to North Carolina to visit my best friend, Kelly Anne. Her family had recently moved there and I was missing her badly. Before she left, we had been inseparable. She was my plus one to every family outing and I, too, loved spending time at her house. Her dad worked for a food company so I got all the free bubble gum a girl could want (a forbidden food in my house), and unlike my family,she celebrated Christmas, which I thought was way more exciting than Hanukkah. We were best friends and had the heart necklace, split in two, to prove it.
We kept up our long distance friendship for a while. I remember receiving a VHS tape with a video message from Kelly Anne, and I went through a fair share of Lisa Frank stickers on the letters I sent to her. But we were growing up before Skype, Facebook and the various other social media tools that people now use to keep in touch with one another, and eventually our messages to each other grew further and further apart. I’m not sure when we stopped exchanging letters, or monopolizing our parents’ house lines to call each other, but a few years after Kelly Anne’s move, we lost touch.
Life went on. I made several other fabulous best friends and I assume Kelly Anne did as well. I went to college in Washington, D.C. and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television writing. Unbeknownst to me, Kelly Anne was on a similar path, attending college in New York City, also with the hopes of working in the entertainment industry as an actress. She booked her first role in London and fell in love with a Hugh Grant doppelgänger (her now husband) who lived there.
I had memories of us being attached at the hip as little girls, but after so many years apart, I didn’t think to try and reconnect. I assumed we were probably completely different people, with nothing in common anymore. But one day, I got a Facebook message from Kelly Anne. She had seen my name in the credits of a show she watched, and asked if I lived in LA. When I wrote back that I did, she told me that she was coming out the following week for television pilot season. We made plans to meet up.
I pulled some strings and got Kelly Anne an audition on the show I was working on. After 20 years of not seeing each other, we were in the same city, working in the same industry and as we both told the other, still looked the same! We were practically strangers after having not spoken for so long, yet we instantly connected as friends. We discovered on her brief visit that we both loved comedy shows, eating good food and exercising to compensate for all that good eating!
Kelly Anne went back to London, but this time we were able to email and text to keep in touch. I decided to go on a group tour of Europe the following year and realized I now knew someone in Europe! She invited me to stay with her and her husband for a few days in London. Like twins separated at birth, we were so excited to be together. Kelly showed me all of her favorite spots in London. We ate til’ we were ill at Burrow Market, and enjoyed a play in the West End of London. After that trip, we continued to keep in touch.
On Kelly Anne’s most recent visit to LA, we continued to grow closer, taking boot camp together in the morning and eating too much Mexican food at night. For the twelve days she was here, we wanted to hang out together all the time, just like we did as kids. It was as if almost two decades apart made no difference at all. When you’re only 6 years olds, you can’t possibly predict that the people you are friends with then will become your friends for life. But with Kelly Anne, there must have been a deeper connection, strong enough to stand the test of time. I feel like I’ve gained a new best friend, when really, she’s one of the oldest friends I’ve ever had.
[Image via New Line Cinema]