"I can't think without a pen in my hand!" - Me

"I can't think without a pen in my hand!" - Me

A Friendly Guide to Navigating this BLOG

If you have visited this blog before, you will notice I've made some changes. A Pen in My Hand is going to be dedicated to lighthearted anecdotes and whatever else I feel like writing. I have started another blog for topics that are more serious/spiritual in nature. See the link in the sidebar to visit that blog.

I sincerely hope you find something here worth reading; but if not, take heart. There are about six billion other blogs out there to choose from.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


The first time I ever heard of Anne was when I was in the fourth grade. I was sitting on the floor in the hallway of my elementary school playing Password with my boyfriend. Between turns, he casually mentioned that next year he probably wouldn't be my boyfriend anymore because a "gorgeous blonde" was going to be coming to our school, and she was going to be his new girlfriend. In retrospect, I suppose it was very forthcoming of him to give me some notice on the termination of our relationship. But at the time, I was devastated. I didn't even entertain hopes of keeping my boyfriend, because I was completely certain there was no way I could compete with a "gorgeous blonde" even if she was only in the sixth grade. I tried to keep my dignity intact. I acted nonchalant.
"What's her name?" I asked.

"Anne," was the reply.


The summer did much to diminish my anguish over losing my boyfriend. After all, fourth graders don’t actually date; so we didn't see each other all summer long. By the time the next school year began, I had pretty much accepted the fact that this mysterious blonde was going to replace me; and I was OK with that. During the first few weeks of fifth grade, I didn't give this "Anne" person much thought. I was far too busy adjusting to a new teacher and classroom. To my surprise, as the weeks went by, my boyfriend wasn't giving me the final shove-off. As far as he was concerned, we were still together. Maybe Anne didn't come to our school after all. Or maybe she didn't like my boyfriend as much as he liked her. Either way, I coasted along with the status quo, glad that for the time being nothing had changed between us.


I had a sister one grade ahead of me. She hadn't had a very good experience in the fifth grade. She was a bit of a teacher's pet, and the other girls were cruel to her. Basically, she had no friends. She had no reason to expect sixth grade was going to be any better. But to her surprise, something was different. There was a new girl in her class. This girl was pretty and popular and fun; but she was also wonderfully kind. She liked my sister – genuinely liked her. And the other girls liked this new girl. Before my sister knew it, she had friends. Not only this, but for the first time in years she had a best friend. Her best friend's name was Anne.


As my sister and Anne spent more and more time together, Anne and I became friends as well. My sister and I were about as different as two people could be, so it would have been reasonable to think that Anne would have gravitated toward one of us and left the other in the dust; but this was not the case. She was an equally good friend to both of us. Gretchen was her chosen companion for "good, clean fun"; and when she felt like doing something a little crazy, I was the one she'd call. We were an unusual trio, but it worked for us. Throughout junior high and high school, we were virtually inseparable.


Fast forward a couple decades, give or take.


My sister and I are one day less than a year apart in age, so we practically share a birthday. As usual, we planned to celebrate together. We pulled into the driveway of a large cape and parked our cars. There was no need to knock. We walked right in and were met with a beautifully set table lit with candles and the delicious aroma of an amazing dinner. And of course, there was Anne. She was there, as she is there every year, being the kind of friend few people are lucky enough to find in a lifetime. Being the kind of friend who can be a best friend to two sisters at the same time without ever inciting feelings of competition or rivalry. We had a wonderful evening of food, conversation, and laughter. We were as comfortable together as sweatpants and slippers because that's the kind of friends we are.


It was thirty years ago that my childhood boyfriend informed me that I was going to be replaced by this mystery person named Anne. Little did I know that she would play virtually no role in his future, yet such a significant one in mine.

I think that's what they call irony.