She Saved Me

by Pris Haffenden
California, USA

She Saved Me

When I was a youngster, I developed a severe weight problem. It started just before I first entered school and made me very unpopular in school — taunts and tortures were delivered to me every day. This went on from first through eighth grade, continuing even after I lost all of the weight in 7th grade. Although I was a good student, I hated going to school and hated the bus trips home even more. I lived in agony.

In 1967, my family moved to Simi Valley, California. I had a chance to start over, and I vowed that I would communicate with no one. I wouldn’t give anyone a chance to hurt me as I’d been hurt for so many years. This made for a lonely existence, but I welcomed being invisible. At least nobody would taunt and torture me.

One day, after I’d been at this new school about three months, a girl approached me as I was putting my books in my locker. She invited me to join her circle of friends. I declined — this was a ruse used many times by many people in my past, and always I had found that they wanted to be anything but my friends. It was a way to lure me into their proximity so they could taunt me. I swore I’d never set myself up for that again.

This went on about five days… this person coming up, and me declining. Finally, this person, Rose Anne, grabbed me by the arm and said, “You are going to have friends whether you like it or not.”

She took me over to her other friends, about five girls. They asked about my interests and invited me to go with them for some social activities. They welcomed me into their group with open arms. I couldn’t believe it. Here, finally, was a group of people who wanted to know me, really wanted to know me, and had no interest in taking advantage of me.

I was elated! I had friends!

Up to this point, I had basically lived as a recluse, a misfit. I had no idea how to socially interact with anyone. I was so socially awkward, so inept when it came to interpersonal relations, that no one had wanted to know me.

Through the friendship with Rose and her circle of friends, I learned how to be a teenager. I learned about music, the way to dress, and how to relate to others my own age. I was headed for a life as a recluse, a “mama’s girl”, a socially backward person. These young women, and especially Rosie, saved me and made me the person I am today.

Rosie and I have remained close friends up to this day: 39 years. She saved me from a life of pain and loneliness. I love you, best buddy. Thank you.

Originally published as HeroicStories #664 on June 3, 2006

6 thoughts on “She Saved Me”

  1. Bless Rosie! I was in the same position in school that you were, but I never had a friend like her. I did not make any real friends until long after I was out in the world. It was not the same. I did not have that formative help when I was young, like you did. It has affected my entire adult life. To this day, I find it difficult to become close to anyone. Count your blessings, Pris.

  2. What a terrific friend!!! That is just so amazing that she moved to that place and that school and managed to meet with a group of gals that took her under their wings and helped her to become the person she is today. Today’s kids are so busy with their Iphones and I pads and so many other divices that they have forgotten how to interact with each other and to notice things and the people around them. In today’s mobile society, there are many kids that move around a lot due to their parent’s jobs and they don’t get to call any place home. To find that group was truly God’s blessings for her.

  3. I had a similar issue, but just the opposite – I was always the smallest person in my class and the last one to be chosen for any of the team activities in PE. {To say that I was little is an understatement, as I did not break 100 lbs until the last half of my sophomore year in high school.} I felt awkward and had little to no self-confidence. We also went out-of-state every summer, so I had few if any friends to play with. I finally found something I could do well during my freshman year in high school when I went out for cross-country and track. I could run and the longer the distance, the better. This helped me gain confidence and also made a few friends along the way. Unfortunately, we moved again the next year and I had to give up the track and cross-country, but at least I had some idea of how to make friends.

  4. What really impressed me about Rose Anne was that she did not give up, but kept persisting. I have to wonder — if this were to happen today, would a “today” version of Rose Anne do the same thing, or would she hang back for fear of a harrassment accusation?

  5. I googled Pris. She has had a tough row to hoe in the last few years (a broken arm that led to innumerable hospitalizations), but she seems to have many friends, a ton of support and an undefeatable attitude.

    And she and Rose Terry are, these many years later, still friends.

  6. Hank: I find it less likely that someone in high school would hang back bcs of the risk of a harassment accusation. I think that’s more likely something adults would worry about.


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