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Friends Far and Near
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Friends Far and Near was the title of one of our reading books when I was in elementary school. The reading level was primary level, so I had finished reading it before I went home the first day of school (the teacher was mad.) I remember it clearly, though, because the stories were all about children who lived in exotic places and had different modes of dress, food and daily activities. To a young child living in a New England village, it was a whole new world.

Nowadays I suppose I'd cast a jaundiced eye at the whole series, looking for cultural stereotypes and the dumbing down of the educational system. But to my many years ago self, it was my first glimpse into a faraway world and I was fascinated. As I grew older, I couldn't leave home fast enough.

Now, decades later, I look back at the Connecticut village as quaint and faintly foreign to the city girl I've become. There was a time, believe it or not, when my greatest worry was how to keep the goat from climbing onto the roof of my father's truck when she wanted to get away from an overenthusiastic but friendly puppy. uf-dah!

Why am I thinking of Friends Far and Near today? I have a friend flying in from South Africa. Talk about exotic!

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