1 EAGLETON NOTES: Whatever Happened to Pat Stapleton? or 'We Do Not Know Each Other Yet'

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Friday, 15 June 2012

Whatever Happened to Pat Stapleton? or 'We Do Not Know Each Other Yet'

"We do not know each other yet for we have not dared to be silent together.".  I wrote that quote down when I was a teenager and still have it but I cannot find its source.  I wonder if I made it up.


How often do you wonder what has happened to someone from your past?  I suppose for me the answer is ‘Not very often.’.

I would, however, dearly love to know what happened to Dorothy Speakman for whom I held a constant and faithful candle from the age of about 6 until 11 or 12.  Our constant companionship ended when our ways parted as we left prep school for our respective Grammar Schools and soon after her parents died and she was whisked off to Canada to live with her (much) older married sister.  It was Dorothy who, with one casual sentence, stopped me biting my nails at the age of 11.

The relationship between Pat Stapleton and I was a completely different one.  I had reached the ripe old age of 16 when we first met and 21 when we went out together.  Pat was one of the most fun-loving , caring, kindest, wonderful people I ever met.  She was also the youngest Ward Sister appointed at the time in the Hospital in which I was born and, for a while, worked. 

So why am I thinking of her now and why am I telling you?

Why Pat?  The answer is that Pat was the first girl I knew with whom I could be completely comfortable.  We were driving back to Liverpool from a short stay in the Lake District when I first realised how well we knew each other:  it was when we had travelled in perfect peace and contentment for many miles without a word passing between us.

Why now?  When I was asked recently if I was happy living alone I re-affirmed my happiness with the situation.  I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t live with anyone and I am even more certain that no one could live with me.  However I would hate to be alone.  And I’m not.  But as Friend Who Knows Too Much put it recently ‘you know lots of people to talk to but you have no one special person with whom to be silent.’  And I suppose that’s true.  It’s not that I don’t have friends with whom companionable silence feels natural but there’s a subtle difference.

Why am I telling you all this?  I’m really not sure that that I know.  How silly is that?

9 comments:

  1. Not silly at all. Such reflections about ourselves or other people (which, in the end, always means we also reflect about ourselves) are good and, I think, important - as long as they do not make us so wrapped up in ourselves that there is no room left for anyone and anything else in our lives. But that is clearly not your case.

    Several times in the past 5-10 years I have by chance come across people from The Past. With some of them, contact has been re-established, with others, it has fizzled out again (and for a reason). And sometimes, I feel a mild curiosity as to what became of my first husband, but that's all the feeling I can muster up for him these days, and it is not enough to induce me into trying to find out about his where- and whatabouts.

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    1. Thanks Meike. The last phrase of your comment has just found its way into my draft 'quote' blog post! 'where- and whatabouts' - love it!

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  2. I feel that I recognize that quote but I'm not sure if that's because I've read the exact same quote before, or just the essential meaning. Maybe you quoted it before. Anyway there's certainly some truth to it. Your last statement about companionable silence etc makes me ponder, too. I do have a few old friends I still think I know well enough to feel comfortable with in silence; the thing is that nowadays the occasions when we get together are so rare and short that this aspect of friendship is no longer put to the test much!

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    1. As always Monica you have made me think. Had I posted this before? My forgettory being what it is I had not remembered that I had mentioned the subject before in a short post entitled Silence

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  3. I too sometimes wonder about such things.... perhaps I am a little too nostalgic?

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    1. There's nothing wrong with nostalgia Liz. It's a good alternative to wishing one's life away!

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  4. Friendship has many forms. Each of them precious. x

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    1. Sue, nothing could be more true and I value your long and deep friendship beyond words.

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  5. Well, and here's me feeling bad that I hadn't caught up with your blog for ages, and that my silence might be noticed. Does that count, do you think? :-)

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