This week, Hitty Club met at my Human Bean’s house. Hitty, if you don’t know about her, is a doll whose adventures are chronicled in her memoir, the book Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field, which won the Newbery Award in 1930. The original Hitty who inspired the book is a one-of-a-kind, hand carved wooden doll that lives in the Stockbridge, MA library’s museum. Because Hitty is so admired, she has been reproduced hundreds of times, sometimes through a manufactured process but perhaps more often, she is hand carved by artists. There are online groups of Hitty fans from all over the world, but every three months, my Human Bean plays host to one of the few in-person clubs devoted to the Hitty doll. The members of this club take turns leading an activity/project for the other members to do at their meetings. There are between 5 – 8 people at every gathering. The women are a diverse bunch, not necessarily friends at the outset, but brought together by a common thread.
Typically, most people have more acquaintances than we do friends. Acquaintances are nice to have, but a true friend is a dedicated “I’ll-come-any-time-you-call-me” person. A true friend is the best sort of friend: the kind who knows you’ll get impatient at times but understands that your irritation is directed to the situation, not toward them; the kind who likes you for who you are, not for what you can do for them; the kind with whom you share a bond or common interest; the kind you always enjoy just being with, even when your time together was nothing more special than simply sharing time; the kind you can tell anything to, any time, and know they won’t criticize you for your way of thinking; the kind who never throws anything back in your face; the kind whose voice you are always glad to hear when the phone rings; the kind who listens when you need to share something, good or bad; the kind who gives you his/her opinion when you ask for it but never tells you what to do; the kind who knows all of your deepest, darkest, most awful secrets, but would never judge you for them; the kind that keeps those secrets, even when you didn’t tell them it needed to be a secret.
I’ve heard people ask, how did you two become friends? This question seems to pop up when the two appear to be opposites in their interests or personalities. Their friendship happens when they trust each other. Without trust, there can be no friendship. If one constantly criticizes the other, the other’s way of thinking, or things the other does, it’s not a friendship. If one person tells what is said to them in confidence to a third party, it’s not much of a friendship. If one tells the other what to do and how to think, it’s not a friendship. Friendship is not something you give lip service to. Friendship is demonstrated when, over time, two people know without question that each can trust the other implicitly to do for them what they would do for themselves. So I’m reminded this week of the importance of having a true friend.
Oh, to have a friend like that! And all it takes is to be a friend like that.