I grew up in Palos Verdes, a small town South of Los Angeles. My bedroom window overlooked Marineland and the ocean. (Now a resort – so sad it is no longer there!) When I was younger I was a Mattel toy tester kid. Not officially, but my dad would bring home random tester toys for me. He was a Marketing VP in Sales there, in El Segundo. I wish I still had some of those toys, I bet they’d be worth gold now.

shrinking violet Shrinking Violet – one of my Tester Toys!

We were not rich, but I was blessed. My dad grew up with a single mom and they struggled. A lot. He had to sell magazines to buy his school shoes. I know that my dad worked hard to climb up the ladder. Always making it to Vice President in all his jobs. Transferring us all over the country as he climbed.

Street I grew up onvallon

My friend Terri once told me that she’d been jealous of me  when we were growing up. I had the dad who went on business trips and came home with surprises for me, while her dad was a Cal-Trans guy who stayed home. I kind of thought it might have been nice to have a dad that was home more. I guess everything is relative. “I used to get lost in your house, I thought it was so big.” she’d told me once. (It really wasn’t that big.) “Funny how things change.” she said.


My dad and me in the living room of the house we rented across the street from Terri’s in San Mateo. So funny, he doesn’t look real happy about having his picture taken.

My best friend was four when we met in San Mateo where we were renting a house across the street from hers. A few years later, we moved. And moved, and moved, until we settled in Palos Verdes.  Things got given away or lost in our moves, hence why I don’t have my first Barbie, or most of the tester toys any longer. Terri had all her firsts. She lived in the same house she always did until she got married and moved out. Her mom saved everything. Though Terri doesn’t have them any longer. She died last summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that comment, she made so many years ago. “Funny how things change.” It kind of hurt. She was referring to her wealth. She’d made some good choices along the way. I did not. She worked hard and completed college. I went, I still have my units all in a nice little bundle. I know, because I checked a few years ago. (Imagine they still have my records all of these years later!) She became an Interior Designer and was very talented. She married a guy that  ended up grandfathering into his dad’s business and making it very successful. In the end, they probably had more money than both of our parents put together. And though it makes me a little sad to say it, I know that was important to her.

Terri fought cancer for the last twenty years. Not only that, she fought stage four cancer! Having money has its perks, you can design your own medical team as well as try alternatives and it may keep you alive longer than most. And that was truly a blessing. But the comment; “Funny how things change.” Always bothered me. What did she mean by that? I know exactly what she meant. She had a lot of money and I didn’t. I have to admit that I was surprised that she’d always harbored that competitive bone, and hadn’t realized it until she’d made that comment.

I didn’t not have money. I just didn’t have as much as she did. Between her right choices and hard work, and a little dumb luck, marrying a guy that would someday inherit a business that would be very successful, she never wanted nor worried about paying a bill in her adult life, like I have. Don’t get me wrong. I am blessed. I was just never motivated to need more. Maybe because I was a little privileged as a kid, and stupidly, a little embarrassed by it. Maybe the ones who feel they don’t have a lot at an early age seek for more later. I just know that Terri died with a closet full of clothes with price tags still on them and a drawer full of jewelry with some pieces, equaling a whole year of my salary. That being said, she was also one of the most generous people I know.

Losing my best friend and reflecting on our friendship of over a half a century has made me realize what is important and what is not.  That material things really are just so unimportant. But then, She probably knows that now.

I miss her terribly. I am glad that she is not suffering anymore. Her sister gave me one of her leather jackets. Though a material thing of hers, it makes me feel closer to her when I wear it. Losing Terri has taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life. Even if that windfall never comes for me. I don’t need fancy cars, or big houses, I am happy to just be able to pay my bills on time.  And I know that I am blessed. I have a husband that loves me in spite of myself. I have amazing kids and a great family and wonderful friends. And now I even have a job I like going to and a boss I love!

I will always miss Terri. But I am glad she is not suffering anymore. I know now that she is in a place that holds the kind of joy she was always seeking from her “things” here on this earth. She is free from pain and has a new body. I think a lot about her everyday. She has left a gaping hole in my life. I miss the places I would find her, an early morning email waiting for me to open,  a phone call on the way home from work, summer get aways, the way she loved my daughter so much, her quirky  sense of humor,  and laughing at the dumbest things. Sharing things you can only tell your best friend without being judged. (Well probably judged, but that’s okay. Smile.)  I guess now, I just think a lot more about what is important and what is not. And you know she was right It really is Funny how things change.

01p091 One more of me and my dad

23 thoughts on ““Funny How Things Change”

  1. Ahhhh so sweet …I remember your lovely friend leaving you and how it hurt you . Yes things do change . I have a great friend also and we have stuck together through thick and thin. Last year I was ill she was totally there for me …now she’s ill and I am there for her …pure friendship. Just think of all those memories Diana , no one can ever take that away …Eva
    Cherryx a bit late …sorry Internet doing a walk again

    1. Thank you for sharing Cherry and always reading my stories! I am so glad you guys have each other! It is hard to believe that Terri is gone. For so many years I believed she would live forever because she constantly was a miracle over and over again. Against all odds. I got used to believing. I am glad she is not suffering any longer. But I miss her.

    1. Thank you Paul! I have been working on my book! (What else is new?) But I wanted you to know that all of your mentoring is in my head as I re-write! Hugs!!!!!!!

    1. I went to visit a few years back, and it either has gotten nicer, or I didn’t appreciate it quite as much,,, I think it’s a little bit of both.

  2. I had a similar experience but different too. Growing up I always felt inferior to other girls. I loved the clothes they wore, how athletic, graceful, talented they were. I was smart, but chubby and not athletic. I often wore hand me downs from cousins. Later I envied the girls who were chosen as cheerleaders, beauty queens, actresses in plays, etc.
    I was just chubby with glasses in my mind. Well I attended our 50th reunion. I never went to one before.
    I was amazed that some of those beautiful young women looked older than I did! I was also surprised at how much more friendly they were and glad to see me.
    All those years worrying about my looks and age equalized us all. Funny how things changed.

    1. Joyful,
      Your story is the essence of “Funny how things change!”
      I guess in the end, it’s not about those shallow things that we deem so important in our youth. Even as we are finding our own way. Life happens and we learn that we don’t always have control over it. Some of us lighten up and realize what is important and the mean ones can even turn kind…. looking a little older than you is also good! LOL. 😉

        1. Yeah, I’m having trouble turning 59 this year. I made everyone around me count. Okay born in 1957. 58 right? Waaaahhhh! Oh well, I did this when I turned 40. Wasted my whole last year of my thirties whining about turning 40 😮

          1. I am having a blast at 64. I have enough money for what I need, can get more in case of emergency. I have two sons (one of which I am formally adopting. He and his wife are expecting a boy in March! My biological son is marrying in September. They all love me and I love them. What more do I need?

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