hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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September 5, 2013

All signposts lead to home

So far, yet so near ...

They say that childhood friendships are meant to last forever. Like your best chinaware, the best way to keep them from breaking apart is not to drop them.

Many of my friends mean more to me than my own relatives. They keep in touch with greater frequency than many of my cousins who have drifted apart. I guess you could say my closest companions have become like an extended family to me.

I grew up around Greater Boston, joined an Armenian Catholic church and the Armenian Youth Federation. Both groups were destined to provide me with close relationships.

The boy I knew as an acolyte in my Cambridge church also moved north of Boston and joined the same parish to which I now belong.

Not only have we served on the same committees together, but I also happen to teach his children in Sunday school.

Small world, you might suggest. Well, it gets even smaller. The guy down the street is a fellow I knew as a teenager. He wound up marrying a girl in the same chapter as mine. Our kids and their kids became good friends as well. And all of us meet at least once a week in church to maintain our Christian heritage.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree when some of my own high school graduates in Somerville found their way to Merrimack Valley and rekindled our companionship. Many have scattered throughout the land. Others stayed where they were raised and schooled, taking a vested interest in their community.

I wound up dating and wedding a girl who lived 35 miles away. Turns out I know more people at her high school reunion than she does, given my decades as a journalist in town. Not to worry. She probably has cultivated as many friendships as I have being a Haverhill transplant.

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