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September 21, 2010 / Jenny Ann Fraser

Finding Love

It all started in 1982 on the steps of Arthur Day Jr. High School in the first weeks of Grade 8.

Except that there were no steps in the back of Arthur Day, and we had to have met in the back because we both lived in that direction and I swear, I never set foot on the front.  But it sounds good, and we’ve been telling the story that way for 28 years, so let’s stick with it.

This was where and when, I met my best friend Fred.

As I write this, I have to face the fact that my very young self had no concept of the gift that I had been given, and I pray in hindsight that I didn’t take it too much for granted, though I know that at times I did.

I cannot explain how every single song that made the top 40 in the entire decade of the 80’s is irreversibly burned into my brain like the world’s biggest indestructible data dvd. But that is the case. 80’s Music and useless pop trivia pours out of me whether I like it or not. My mis-wired brain, raging hormones and inadvertent obsession with music made much of my school years a bit fuzzy.

But the among the very few things I clearly remember are long walks at night where I somehow knew, deep down, that I could pour out my infant soul to this boy and no matter what, he would always love me.

I do remember, that as we moved onto high school, there were suddenly enough of us “Nerds” hanging together that most of school really was  a lot of fun despite having to go to classes.

We had Friday night get togethers in Tracey ‘s basement where some of us played pool, and some of us sat on the floor behind the bar and read Shakespeare out loud while listening to Wham, and we all enjoyed every minute. Did I mention that we were Nerds?

Or as Fred has said to me in our adult lives on more than one occasion, “You do realize that we were not normal, right?”

We were not your average teenagers, but we were, despite our insecurities, our conviction of inferiority, as much as we knew how to be, ourselves.

Looking back, it’s clear that our parents had nothing to worry about. What parent lies awake at night worrying that their kid is reading too much Shakespeare?

We dated briefly when we were 19 but it just didn’t work for some reason, (insert tiny smile) and we lost touch for a bit, but the Universe had a plan and we met again, rekindled our friendship, and fell in love.

We planned our lives together. We revelled in the wonderful story of how we were born in the same hospital 12 days apart and I, a preemie with a still-born twin spent my last few days in an incubator in the same nursery with his twin brother. How we understood each other so well having had immigrant parents and learned more than all of our peers about the realities of WWWII from both sides…

And then, he came out.

And I drank my first bottle of wine, fell face first on the bathroom floor with the top of my head against the door. My brother, (who was “not normal” in the polar opposite direction,) found me. He tried to get into the bathroom, and when he realized that the door was mysteriously stuck he proceeded to slam it into my head until my (thankfully tiny) body moved enough so that he could see what was causing all of the trouble.

His response was to wake my parents in the next room with no attempt whatsoever to conceal his laughter.


Fred gave me the experience of my first love, my first heartbreak, my first time being drunk, my first time passing out due to being drunk, (except for the part where I actually never lost consciousness)my first time being violently ill due to being drunk and my first hang-over. Also, my first, and last day missing work due to all of the above.

There are no words to describe how much I love this man.

It took a few years for both of us to heal, and not knowing that we were healed, we nervously scheduled a meeting. I recall that within a few minutes, our nervousness had abated, and because destiny had once again taken control, we picked our story up at the place where we were best friends who would love each other forever.

Adulthood along with death of close friends, ailing parents, jobs and responsibility hadn’t done a thing to alter what we had during our young years. Maturity only helped us to appreciate the gift.

It might be hard to comprehend how grateful I am for our entire story, exactly as it happened. And although I have spent much of my past life wishing for a better past, there is absolutely nothing about my life with Fred that I would ever have wanted to change. Long before I embarked on the path of accepting what is, I knew that things had always worked out for the best as far as our relationship was concerned.

The years have gone by. Work, life, his moving with his wonderful husband to Mexico , and then Vancouver , long months without contact and miles between us can’t do a thing to diminish what we have. Change, simply evolves the relationship while at it’s  core it remains the same impenetrable bond.

For most of our adult years, Fred has told me repetitively that he thinks I should write.  I ignored him for years, but now I realize that he knew some things that I didn’t.

Last week, we were discussing this and Fred asked me if I understood why he has always thought that I should be writing even though he had never read anything that I had written.

I had no brilliant answer, so I had to let him talk for once. J

He said:

I’ve always thought that writers are a pot of boiling opinions, perspectives  and ideas that they just have to get out or they are going to die! And that’s you!”

And once again, I find myself marvelling at how well this man knows me when I’m not even sure myself. I marvel at the fact that he has always known me and still, he chooses to stick around.

I’ve spent so much of my life looking for, longing for, and dreaming of love as so many of us do. And yet, I think that I have been so busy looking that I’ve nearly missed what has always been right under my nose. I’m amazed that I had to actually understand how to love myself to be able to appreciate the fact that I have already had so much love around me.

I suppose that might be true for anyone.

Happy Birthday Fred



Leave a Comment
  1. Viv / Sep 21 2010 9:49 am

    Love is love; you take it where you find it, even when it wears the “wrong” hat.
    thanks for sharing.

  2. Suzanne / Sep 21 2010 10:28 am

    Great post, Jenny. You have totally captured Fred’s character. Thank goodness for Facebook because that’s how I was able to reconnect with him.
    He used to come over to my house and play Trivial Pursuit with me and my parents. Yep we were nerds, but happy nerds.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Sep 22 2010 8:33 am

      Hi Suzanne!
      We were happy nerds weren’t we? That’s what I love about writing. It helps me to figure things out. I hadn’t really thought about it until I wrote it but while I hated much of school it really was a lot of fun!

  3. janet / Sep 21 2010 10:32 am

    really beautiful entry! and yep, you can write! 😉

    i love that you have this type of relationship and i’m glad that you’re so grateful for it, exactly how it is; past and present.

  4. Cooki / Sep 21 2010 11:22 am

    Happy Birthday Fred.

  5. Ollin / Sep 21 2010 1:02 pm

    This was a beautiful post. Further proof you are a writer Jenny because you truly captured a life time of friendship. It made me think of my great friends and how very lucky I am to know them, and have them in my life. Thank you for this, I’m sure we all appreciate our best friends much more because of it.

    Happy Birthday to Fred. 🙂

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Sep 22 2010 8:36 am

      Thanks Ollin,
      This is what I love about writing. Just doing it helps me to see things from other perspectives. I often don’t know how a post is going to go until I’ve written it and it changes me in the process.
      Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  6. Emily Jane / Sep 22 2010 9:35 am

    I adored reading this!! Can we please read Shakespeare and listen to Wham! sometime? Haha 🙂 What a wonderful friend – happy, HAPPY birthday Fred!

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Sep 22 2010 12:21 pm

      Thanks Emily!
      Sure, we can do the Shakespeare/Wham thing… but I’m not sure that my older brain get’s Shakespeare anymore. LOL Wham however, is just as fun to me now as it was back then!

  7. Fred Lade / Sep 23 2010 12:28 am

    Thank you for being witness to my life, so far. All I can add is that somehow you have not aged a day and I look frighteningly like my father.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Sep 23 2010 1:09 pm

      You, are always welcome. Thank you for the wonderful memories.
      And have you noticed? I also look frighteningly like my father… but in a girl way (which explains the hair). How is that for an answer? 😛

  8. Shiona / Sep 23 2010 1:00 am

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful story, Jenny.
    I was struck by your conclusions and it’s only recently that I’ve come to a similar one. I’ve always wondered why is it that I crave love when there are so many people who have proved their love for me. The only answer I could find was that I am simply craving for my own love for myself.
    Very best wishes to you.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Sep 23 2010 1:11 pm

      So true Shiona!
      It is all about what is inside, which is sometimes even now, a hard pill to swallow. It would be so much easier if what we needed would just show up wouldn’t it? 🙂
      How lucky are we though to have at least arrived at the answer?

  9. rob white / Sep 23 2010 7:31 am

    Beautiful sharing, Jenny. You are really baring your soul and it is moving. There is so much love out there in the univers. True love need not be anchored to the social mores of husband/wife or man/woman… there is an infinite abundance of love for all.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Sep 23 2010 1:12 pm

      That is so true Rob! And as a dear friend recently mentioned in regards to her own change of perspective, The more you give, the more you have to give. Eventually with practice, it will just come pouring out and attract more of the same!

  10. Tess The Bold LIfe / Sep 24 2010 12:47 pm

    There are people who come into our lives and have an impact like no other. Fred was that for you.
    That photo is icing on the cake.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Sep 24 2010 8:00 pm

      Hi Tess,
      That is so very true. I try to remember now that anyone I meet could be one of those people. It is not a gift one wants to miss.

  11. antony / Oct 9 2010 4:11 am

    Thank you so much for this beautiful post and story.
    Reading it made me remember a story from my own life and I am so grateful for that.

    Please keep writing and sharing…

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Oct 9 2010 10:28 am

      Thank you Antony,
      I am very touched as well as inspired. And just a bit guilty as you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been a bit absent from my blog this week. 😛 I’ll get on that.

  12. Will / Nov 14 2010 3:56 pm

    Very touching story. Know you are not alone in being overcome by this sort of revelation. Being married with children for years and years, then realizing you are likely in the same situation can take this to a whole other level. Staying close to Fred all this time shows how truly grounded you both must be. Reading “I’ve spent so much of my life looking for, longing for, and dreaming of love” surprises me. I know I have only read a few of your posts here, but you strike me as the sort of person love would find with ease. Certainly Fred would agree and be just as puzzled, I bet.

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Nov 15 2010 10:13 pm

      Everything you say here is so true, which is why I feel so lucky to have Fred and others in my life.

      I know I have only read a few of your posts here, but you strike me as the sort of person love would find with ease.

      I am hopeful that things will change regarding that part of my life, but yes, it is a mystery. I am working on it and your words are inspiring. Thank you for stopping by.

  13. Greg / Apr 7 2011 8:56 pm

    For me, this post was surreal. After all, I know both you and Fred and the other people, places, and circumstances mentioned. The internet is a very big place and to stumble across a story that is close to one’s proximity is somewhat numbing. The powerful nature of this story, with it’s honesty, and it’s openness and it’s tenderness likely contributed to this effect.

    I found Fred’s advice to you to write particularly interesting. I wonder what was his rationale for this. Did he read some of your early writing and found it impressive? Did he think you would benefit from it because of his own experiences with writing? Was it a gut feel?

    For some reason, this part of your story reminded me of the concept of “a gift word.” Robert Frost believed that a poet is not a poet until he earned the title from someone judging a person’s work and finding it of the caliber that a poet would provide. In other words a poet can’t call himself a poet just because he writes poems. I think that the word “writer” is also a gift word in the same way. After reading a few of your blog posts, I would be very comfortable gifting the word “writer” to you. My reasoning is that I read a lot of on-line and on-paper material and very little of it captures me in the same way that your expressions do. Thank you for that Jenny. Keep on trucking on!

    • Jenny Ann Fraser / Apr 7 2011 9:38 pm

      Thank you again Greg!
      I love your question regarding Fred’s advice. When I reflected on it, I think that it was his gut, his love, and that incredible connection that we have.
      He had never read anything I had written, because I hadn’t written anything, but he knows my mind and my heart…
      And oh yeah… he’s obviously a genius! 😉

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