audio • audio • audio
Podcast Production / Recording / Editing
How do we celebrate a lifelong friendship? We have traditions for birthdays, rituals for wedding anniversaries, but no formula for honoring meaningful, long-term friendships – even if those relationships are the ones that have formed us, challenged and changed us. Allison and I have been best friends since we met as six-year-olds tumbling out of church doors to pick cicada molts off of trees behind the parking lot. In our piece, we tell the story of the summer we decided to plan and throw ourselves a Friendship Anniversary Party.
This piece was produced by Bonnie Willison and Allison Bender.
Our friendship has been one of the biggest constants of our lives. It’s seen us through our elementary years when we wrote our first story together and started our tradition of passing back and forth scrapbook-like “friendship books” with every birthday. It remained despite the *utter shock* of not being in the same class as we transitioned to a new school building in 4th grade. It deepend during our awkward middle school years where we picked up instruments for the marching band and clicked the shutter on Bonnie’s first digital camera. Through highschool sleepovers, study sessions, and choir concerts; and through our college years’ hour-long dorm room phone calls, our friendship always remained. Today we live in the same city, work at the same university, and are co-parents to a red canoe. Throughout our whole lives, we never had to doubt that we had a best friend.
We are lucky.
It is because our relationship has been so foundational and life-changing for us, that we want friendships to be recognized and celebrated publicly in a way that we haven’t seen modeled much (or at all.) This story is uniquely ours, but – in the same way that our friendship party made space for many voices – we hope this piece will invite listeners to reflect on their own friendships and what it might mean to honor those relationships in community.
When we were young, we drew Venn Diagrams in our friendship books to catalog our similarities (“pets,” “brothers,” “same idais” [sic]) and our differences (“Allison’s tall, Bonnie’s short” “Bonnie’s 9, Allison’s 10”). We wrote down quotes like “Friends can be different.” We no longer draw Venn Diagrams, but as we grow into the women we are, it's clear that the differences still ought to be honored just as much as the parts of us that overlap.
We started creating this podcast thinking it was about our Friendship Party. As we cut and edited, however, we realized that this isn’t just about an afternoon gathering of friends, nor even the conflict that arose when planning the party. It’s really about our friendship: its history, strength, and significance. Our party, and this audio story, are small and random, but they are most definitely meaningful to us.