Noma was one of my grandmother’s best friends. I wish I could get to know her again now that I’m an adult, but she died years ago. I loved going to visit Noma in the summer, because her house was near a small lake, where they would take me swimming. Her house was wonderful, too.
It was a glass and cedar contemporary ranch with a sunken living room and a wrap-around deck. The place was buried in thick woods and birds continuously fluttered around her feeders. Noma had short, white hair and wore funky outfits and made her own pottery. I think Noma was married, but I don’t remember ever meeting her husband. She was probably much more interesting and complex than my 10-year-old brain could fathom.
Shortly before my Grandmother died she told me a story about how she and Noma first met. They were on some committee together, and my Grandmother didn’t like her at all because she thought Noma was the kind of woman who didn’t have other women as friends -- just men. Noma caught wind that my Grandmother didn’t like her but wouldn’t stand for it. She’d call my Grandmother every week and invite her out to lunch.
Every week, my Grandmother would coolly reply that she was busy. Finally, Noma marched up to her door and insisted she go to lunch with her. My Grandmother said, “I can’t. It’s Tuesday. Tuesday is laundry day.” Noma said, “Oh Mildred! The laundry will be here when you get back!” They went out to lunch and became fast friends. It just goes to show you, sometimes you have to work at the most rewarding friendships.