Like Peas in a Pod (or Pieces of a Quilt) Throwback Thursdays

My family owns a quilt created by my dad’s sister. Instead of the typical square pieces of fabric, instead she used articles of clothing from my deceased grandmother. I never really knew her–I was a toddler when she passed away. But, my parents remembered. She was my dad’s mom and my mother loved her. So, this quilt was very special. And, it was also very interesting. The pieces were almost chaotic–there was no pattern to the quilt.
During a freshman writing course at BYU, we had to write personal essays about someone who meant a lot to us. We were also supposed to use some sort of metaphor. The more I thought about my childhood best friend, the more I realized this unique quilt and all it’s different patches represented my best friend and I perfectly.
Her name was Elly Bendele. We met at a sleepover my elementary school hosted to the top reading boy and girl of each class. We were in different 5th grade classes and I noticed she was reading Harry Potter. Then, I didn’t really see her until 6th grade. We were put in the same class rotation and our friendship grew.
Here is a quote from my essay to show how close we were:

On the first day of Geometry, in seventh grade, we decided to sit next to each other, just like in all our other classes. We chose the second row from the front, near the wall. By sitting close, the teacher saw we were good students, but it also allowed us to pass notes inconspicuously.

That year, math class was writing class for us. Elly and I both started writing fantasy in sixth grade, and we knew everything about the others’ stories. We decided to merge our stories into one. This book would, of course, be published, along with our own series.

Each day during class, one of us would take notes, while the other wrote part of the novel. Then we switched. We managed to fill an entire notebook with our story, which we called, The Dragon Queen’s Rise.

We wrote together, we read together, we went to see movies together. We were geeks together and we loved it and welcomed other geeks to our group.
Via
However, middle school proved hard for both of us, as it does for everyone. We both had to deal with our own issues and overcome different social trials. But, we still stuck with each other, even if others didn’t like one of us. We had sleepovers all the time. She was Catholic and I was Mormon and we would spend hours on end discussing religion and philosophy. As we grew to high school, our views on the world became more different. But, we strove to be in the same class because we were best friends. We still accepted each other.
She was always the voice of reason. With each new boyfriend, my mom always found something wrong. But, she was my mom, she was supposed to find something wrong with every boy I liked. But Elly would plain call me stupid to my face. Especially with one. And, she was right about him. I was stupid to keep coming back time and time again to this boy.
We got in fights sometimes. We’d both end up crying and not talking to each other the next day. But, we always hugged and made up. We needed each other. We needed the support we gave each other. 
Via
The hardest part was in AP Government senior year:

A Freudian slip almost ruined our friendship for good. 
I hated AP Government. I hardly understood what our teacher, with her poor lecturing style, was talking about. The textbook was over my head. I had to rely on Elly to explain everything to me. She, on the other hand, loved the class so much; that she decided to take Global Issues along with it. 

We were talking about homosexual rights in class. This topic has always made me cringe. I’m not comfortable with homosexuality. I don’t know whether to believe the choice is theirs, or if they’re born that way. 
Elly, of course, with liberal thoughts, was deep into the conversation our small group was having. Then she let it out. 

My best friend, Elly, was lesbian. 

When I got home, I went straight past my mom and out the back door. I sat on the edge of the porch banister and cried. I cried more than I had in all my teenage years. My mind was the aftermath of a hurricane. I didn’t know what to think. Should I stay her friend? What would people think? Should I try to convince her to come away from this terrible sin? Would people think the same applied to me when I walked with her in the hall? What would God do to her on her day of judgment? Would I be able to look at her the same way? What would I do? How come I didn’t know this before? 

I decided to pray. I spilled my heart out to God, asking him all these questions. The biggest one was, should I stay her best friend and feel like I am supporting her homosexuality, or should I end our friendship? 
It took a few days for the answer to come, but when it came, I knew. A feeling walked up to me, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “It’s okay what you’re going through. But think; is Elly’s homosexuality a big enough reason to destroy eight years of being best friends?” 

I realized what God was trying to tell me; I loved my best friend, even if I didn’t approve of her homosexuality. It was her ideas, her personality, her friendship, her loyalty, her company with which I had become friends. She was still the same Elly. 

True, the next few weeks were awkward, my mind constantly telling me, “Your best friend is lesbian and that is not consistent with your values. What’s wrong with this picture?” But as the year continued, I realized, nothing about our friendship had changed, it was the same it had been for the past eight years.

Via
It doesn’t matter. That’s the thing. I came to know Elly for 8 years. We grew up together. We knew each other’s thoughts and feelings. We were sisters. (We both loved the series Wheel of Time and decided we wanted to do one of the Aiel rituals to become “sisters.”)
I moved to California and went to BYU. She stayed in Virginia and went to college. We have stayed connected throughout the past 5 years, congratulating each other on following our dreams. The best part about having a best friend is that we don’t need to be living near each other and see each other every day. We are the type of friends that can go weeks without messaging or calling one another and still be best friends.
I ended my essay with this closing metaphor:
A theme on this quilt is pattern and color.
Almost every piece of clothing my grandma has on the quilt had a repeating
pattern of different colors, making the quilt vibrant and intriguing to look
at. Even if none of the patches are in a simple geometric shape, the pattern
makes the quilt look complete and finished.
Elly was a friend that I needed as I grew up. And, she needed me. We were are two parts of one whole. Although I have not personally seen her for 5 years now, she is still a support to me. And that will never change.
“Friends”
 Like a patchwork sewn throughout time;
Each friend is different-each one divine.
Time stitches together the pieces we share,
Leaving a quilt that the years cannot wear.
 Deena Rutter, 1996


Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • What an amazing friendship.
    How difficult some of these decision must have been for you.
    Thank goodness for prayer!

    • Thank you! I still love her like a sister!

    • Anonymous

      Wonderful message, Tayler! Friendships such as the one you describe between you and Elley are rare and should be treasured. Enjoy reading your blogs.
      Fran L : )

  • This is so true! Best friends aka genuine true friends are like rare gems. There are plenty of friends out there but only a few who you really can count on to be there for you in ALL situations, good and bad. I touched on that in my FB post yesterday. FB has made me really picky about who I want to let into my life as far as friends and how I want to better real life relationships with those friends I have lost contact wtih over the years!

    These quotes rock!

    Ginny
    http://www.buttergirldiaries.com

    • Thank you! And you are right. There are "friends" and then there are friends. I've had a lot of experience with the not real ones and it's been sad.

  • What an amazing friendship! Friendships like that are hard to come by! Even if you haven't seen in each in a long time, its still very nice that she supports you! Loved the quotes you picked.