Becky and Amanda: Playmates to lifelong friends

Susan EspirituOur Town Neighbors, South Knox

All I remember about first grade is breaking my arm on the last day of school when I was thrown off the top of the slide into the monkey bar by a not so nice little fellow, and subsequently I didn’t get to swim all summer. When I saw my friend, Becky, eating lunch with her friend from first grade I was fascinated with their friendship.

Becky Ratledge and Amanda Nolan have been friends since they were in Mrs. Pryor’s first grade class at Porter Elementary School in 1980. In fact, Becky says, “Amanda was my first friend in first grade. We loved to play together on the playground.” (I don’t guess she threw her off the slide into the monkey bars.)

Amanda’s house was the first house where Becky spent the night away from home that wasn’t family. Continuing through school together as classmates, they graduated from Heritage High School together and will be celebrating their thirtieth reunion this year. Amanda even sang at Becky’s wedding.

Even though life is busy for everyone with families, jobs and life in general, they stay in touch. Ratledge reflects, “No matter the time that passes, we can pick up right where we left off.”

You never know who’s related to whom either as Becky found out one day when she was on a casual drive with her husband, Wayne. As they drove by Amanda’s road, Wayne casually stated, “Hey, that’s where my cousin lives” as he pointed to Amanda’s childhood home. It so happens that Wayne and Amanda are distant cousins, so now first grade friends are connected by marriage as well. These two are definitely proof of how invaluable long-lasting friendships can be.

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