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“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. “Even longer,’ Pooh answered.” - A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


 

“I can’t wait to come to your house, crawl in your bed, read US magazine, and not talk.”

That is who my friend, Jenny, is. We don’t need to talk. We already know what each other is thinking. Jenny is the kind of girl that everyone wishes they could be… Cool. Jenny is just cool. Her whole demeanor is just cool. She’s not one of those embarrassing mothers. Jenny has two kids and they actually like being with her. They’ll go to concerts together and they usually take Gracie and somehow my invitation gets lost but I know the truth… I’m not cool enough. But it’s okay, as long as Jenny likes me, all is good in the world.

I met Jenny when I was 17 years old. I think she was 15. Jenny’s brother Jamie was my first serious crush but shhh, don’t tell him. I like to pride myself on the fact that I have excellent taste in men. It all started with Jamie.… Gorgeous, surfer, writer, smart, witty, so funny it would make you blush, and according to Surfing magazine Jamie is a “21st century philosopher.” Whenever I would call the house to stalk talk to Jamie, his sister Jenny would answer. These phone calls ignited a lifelong friendship.

Jenny cries a lot and I like that about her. She is very sentimental and wears her heart on her sleeve. If I play the song from Macy Gray, I Had the Time of My Life, the floodgates will open for Jenny. You know how you have friends and, of course, they do things to bug you sometimes. Big things and even little things. But not Jenny, she has never bugged me even once. I like everything she does and I like how she does everything. Honestly, to me she is perfect.

It is not just Jenny and I doing our own stuff. We always have our children, David, Jenny’s family and sometimes other friends. We are always a group. Our favorite thing to do is order food and watch HBO series because remember, this is the Jenny that does not cook. However, this girl can order takeout better than anyone on the face of the earth. She doesn’t miss a beat and never forgets the guacamole or extra vinaigrette. When we are in Los Angeles we order from the same places that we have been going to since high school. Chin Chin Chinese chicken salad with extra crunchies and peanut sauce on the side. La Scala chopped salad extra dressing. Tito’s tacos and burritos with extra salsa. When we are in New York our favorite dinner is Pastrami Queen to go. When we were young in Malibu, we only ate falafels at Malibu Mutt or tuna melts at John’s Garden. Jenny and I still are upset (and discuss it often) at the fact that California Pizza Kitchen took the goat cheese pizza off the menu.

Jenny is definitely from a family of intellectuals. She was raised in an environment where humor, wit, observation, satire, conversation and literature were as important as breathing. Jenny has passed this down to her children as well.

My very most favorite thing about Jenny is her laugh. Her laugh makes the world better. I am lucky because I get to hear it all the time because we are always laughing. Lately we have been laughing because there was this one time about three years ago when Jenny and I laughed harder than we have ever laughed in our entire lives but the funny thing is that we cannot remember what we were laughing at. Jenny and I see the humor in everything. Sometimes we send each other text messages of pics of our bank accounts that say “your account is at negative 10 cents.” That can make us laugh for two hours.

Jenny and I have been having sleepovers since we were teenagers. It’s never stopped. I still call her, as an adult and say, “Can I sleep over?” I love sleeping at Jenny’s house because she always has really good product. The best shampoos, best makeup, the best hairdryer and regular coffee with Coffee-Mate creamer and great magazine subscriptions.

Jenny is the kind of girl who is always on your side… Even if I fuck up. If I hate someone you can bet your bottom dollar that Jenny will hate them too. But if I decide to like them again, so will she. Jenny will go to bat for you without a blink of the eye. The only person she has ever not hated for me is David. For the past eight years, I have complained about David to Jenny. She has never thrown him under the bus and is always his biggest supporter… No matter how annoying he is. She has never once said a disparaging word about David even when I complain about him. For some reason she understands David and “gets” David. A few years ago, Jenny and her kids were at our house celebrating Easter. We had decided to make a big fat Easter brunch. We decided to send David to the market to pick up some bacon. What we did not realize was that David had just taken a superstrong muscle relaxer/painkiller for his knee and was rather… “Loopy.” David was gone for over an hour at Whole Foods market. When he returned, he gave us the bag of groceries. The bag of groceries consisted of two things. There were two white butcher paper packages. We opened the first one. Inside the first package was exactly one slice of bacon. Not two slices, not 12 slices. Just one lonely slice of bacon. We opened the second butcher paper package. It was about 275 pounds of salami. Jenny and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing. She just understands my crazy David.

Jenny has been one of the greatest gifts of my life. I value and love her as much as I love my Gracie. We have an unbreakable bond that I know will last until infinity. I secretly hope that the day that I die, Jenny dies also, so that I will not ever have to spend a day without her. Our children will just have to fend for themselves. :-)

Jenny is the type of girl who you can go to an Irish bar with, the kind with sawdust and peanuts on the floor, have a few vodka tonics and Jenny will get up on the stage, sing karaoke, not look like a fool and totally kill it. One of the best nights of my life has been with Jenny and the kids at a Korean karaoke bar on the lower East side of Manhattan singing karaoke until 2 o’clock in the morning. Yes, with our underage children… Relax, they loved it. Jenny is the kind of friend who will join you in a midnight In-N-Out Burger run… With the children, on a school night. Relax, they loved it.

The hardest thing with Jenny is knowing that my ALS will take me from her. What is she going to do without me? I know that sounds crazy and narcissistic but it is the truth. What is Jenny going to do without me? Because, this Jenny, this Jenny loves me as much as a human being can love. I know it, I feel it, I see it and I cherish it. In August 2011, I had been diagnosed with ALS for only two months and in this time, I had spent six weeks in France, moved back to California, spent a week with Yolanda, her family and Gracie on a boat, yet I had not had a one-on-one with my Jenny. Finally, we got our chance to be alone, just she and I. Since the day of my diagnosis, I held back the tears. I did not want anyone to see me weak, vulnerable, terrified or sad. When I finally got to my Jenny, we sat outside in her backyard and it all came out. I have never cried as hard as I cried that night. Jenny cried just as hard. We cried because I had ALS, we cried because I was going to be paralyzed, we cried because Gracie was going to lose her mother, we cried because we were going to lose each other, we cried because our lives were never going to be carefree again, we cried for everything, we cried for all mankind. It wasn’t a pretty cry either. It was a sloppy, mascara running, gagging, coughing, snotty, can’t breathe, hysteria, never-ending cry that lasted until the sun came up. Yes, we sat in the backyard and cried from dusk to dawn. No alcohol, no cigarettes, no blankets… Just two girls holding onto each other for dear life.

So that is my Jenny. I am excited because in exactly 16 days, Jenny and I will be sitting next to each other in my bed in Paris, reading gossip magazines, drinking wine and not talking to each other. I couldn’t ask for anything better. Oh, and by the way, no, I will not share Jenny.

 


“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.” A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


 

 

48 comments:

  1. And now I am crying the ugly cry. For you... For Jenny.... For Gracie and David. And for the beautiful sisterhood that you and Jenny share... What a wonderful gift you two have had all of these years.

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  2. Love this gal already!!! Ummm you have to sharebecause you already promised me!!!!!

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  3. I love this. I so know what you mean. I think I've spoken like 200 words to my best friend in person in the last year. Our ritual is splitting a double wide of Pinot Grigio and watching the same movie. And yet we text about 1000 times a day. Right now our thing is my texting her imaginary retweets of her ex boyfriend's new girlfriend's tweets.
    I'm so glad for you that she'll be there soon. And how amazing that you two share your friendship with your children and families. the story about David's whole foods misadventure is hilarious. Why one piece? Does he remember? Hahaha

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    1. You had me at a double wide of Pinot Grigio.

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  4. How great to have a friend like that!

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  5. again, such a beautiful story. thank you ellie for helping me see all the goodness in my life, for helping to put things into perspective, for making me grateful for all i have and all i don't have. xo

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  6. Just beautiful. What a tribute to friendship and true love!

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  7. What a Blessing to have such a wonderful friend! And that she is coming soon is a great way to start the year, I hope you laugh like crazy :)

    Nathalie

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  8. And I totally LOVED the Chin Chin chicken salad too! I lived on Sunset Plaza Drive for a while, and would pick one up to go far too many days a week...
    Were you in Malibu when Granita was there? If so our paths probably crossed, I worked there for several years :)

    Nathalie

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  9. What a beautiful story. I'm so excited for you that she'll be with you soon. Love,K xxx

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  10. That broke my heart.

    And I think you were referring to a "vagina eye" cry - where you cry so much you eyes look like vaginas.

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  11. Different Denise but she literally said exactly what I was going to say. You have been blessed with true love twice in your life.

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  12. Thank you Ellie for sharing your life with me.

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  13. Thank you, again, for reminding me of the great women I have in my life. Your Yolanda is my Betsy, and your Jenny is my Gail. They both would be here in any crisis (and have been), but the mix of them does not always work. I love you for making me examine these relationships, and reflect upon the blessings of them.
    Ellie, you, too, have been a blessing to me.
    xoxo
    Joanne

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  14. ANOTHER GORGEOUS GAL...........do you have any ugly friends??!!WILL SHE BRING STUFF?Like chili spices and RANCH DRESSING!Perhaps a PEOPLE MAGAZINE.........I suppose SHE knows what YOU want!I WANT HER TO TAKE A PHOTO of YOU and the NAPOLEAN WALLPAPER than mail to me upon her return!Do you think she can do THAT ??I cannot wait to hear what YOU TWO will get into...............and YOU DO KNOW I WORKED AT MALIBU MUTTS making those FALAFELS.......many moons ago!OFF to top the PAVLOVA with the whipped cream and fruit for the ITALIAN's BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!!He really only wants his PANATONE, but being Gluten Free I can EAT the PAVLOVA..............TRA>>LA!XOXOXO

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  15. you are the best , most poignant writer Ellie O'Connell!!!!!
    Evah.
    Not to mention a life changer.

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  16. I can't write now because I'm crying too hard... this is so lovely.

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  17. as i read this . . .
    i kept thinking . . . JENNY! ELLIE! think of stephen hawking! he is now 71 years old and going strong. NEVER NEVER NEVER give up.
    especially with a love like that. i see you at 71 and 70 sitting in bed in paris saluting another new year! xo

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  18. Luff this post so much. And because I am nosy Why don't Jenny and Yolanda get on? Love the blog, thrilled when a new entry appears x

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  19. Just two girls holding onto each other for dear life... That's us. Always.

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    1. love this <3.

      remember when we were at that café and that little kid walked by staring at ellie? he walked right into the chair. "that's what you get". haha. xo

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    2. Yes! Amazing! Here's the best part... We get more of that I just a few days...:-) Can't wait! xo

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  20. I'm speechless, but not tearless. Your sweet passionate friendship is one for all ages. Thank you for teaching me what love is. Blessings & a good Catholic's lit candles. xoxoxo Mary

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  21. Everyone needs a Jenny...I consider myself lucky because I have one too & its the best thing in the world...I love your Jenny! xo

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  22. Faithful, loving friends, as you and Jenny are to each other, are the whipped cream of life. I am so delighted you have a friend like Jenny.

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  23. Ellie, you have shared with us your disappointments regarding your flesh and blood family but this post is the most perfect proof that one can choose their real family that I have ever seen. Maybe it is because I have moved around so much (since childhood) but I have never had such a friendship but reading about your love for Jenny here (and hers for you) allows me to understand what an enormous gift it is. Something bigger than a gift, actually. And that you know it and share it makes it all the more wonderful.

    As always, thank you for your honesty. This may sound a little wacky but you make the world a bigger place from the inside out, just from your heart.
    Gros Bisous to you, David, Gracie and Jenny...

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  24. you are blessed to have a jenny. not everyone can be so blessed. God gave you jenny

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  25. You have such an amazing gift Ellie...
    such grace and eloquence, style and yes, decorum.
    I have been blessed to have a "Jenny" in my life too and I totally "get" what you mean about these amazing friendships...just think in 16 sleeps and she will be there.

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  26. I love this and sent to my best friend as I could not have written this better - so beautiful! You are such a gift - I look forward to your posts every morning.....

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  27. Thanks again for sharing your kick ass, beautiful, crazy life with your faithful blog friends. I can't wait to read about Jennie's visit.... I'm thinking video blog would be fantastic:)))

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  28. That is one of the most beautiful heart felt prose about true friendship I have ever read, I cannot help but be utterly moved by what you have written.
    You are a special, special person Ellie. I feel like flying over to Paris and giving you a big hug right now.
    Your will and determination to live will never be forgotten by me, you are a true example of the power of the mind against all odds.
    Carpe diem my dear Ellie.
    Lots of love,
    Giada xxx

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  29. aww, diffinent tears for me, my best friend left for Orange County and become a Asst DA., for 20 years she was gone, got a Christmas card with her new cell phone number saying to call her, she has moved back to the south, our hometown, where we both are now, my heart dropped from pounding so hard in excitment, to be together again, tears ran down my face, I was like a wide eyed child. I called and she never called me back. I read these and love having a true trusting special girlfriend. Very sweet xoxo

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  30. Could you please tell us what you would do if you were well? What is it that we are all taking for granted? I know "everything" is the right answer, but what specifically do you miss doing? If you could be well for one day, maybe a week, what would you do?
    Love your blog. I'm glad this blog gave you a voice and inspired all of us. but what a devastating way to find your purpose, Can't wait for the book.
    xxx

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    1. This is a great question! I'm going to put some thought into it and write a whole blog on it… Thanks to you. Great idea. Hope you're having a great day. You didn't leave your name so I'm going to assume your name is Mabel because I love that name. XOXO

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    2. Ha Ha. My name is actually Kelly but I think I will change it to Mabel now, it's a much better name, Kelly is always the dumb blonde on the daytime soap. I post anonymously because I don't really know what happens if I don't post anonymously - there are just too many options. Clearly I'm a technophobe. I look forward to your thoughts on this. I'm very confident that I'm a lazy cow that is taking my health for granted. Also, my husband just bought me a bottle of Calvin Klein obsession for my birthday - for the forth year in a row and I genuinely want to go and stab him in the eye - now that is ungrateful isn't it? Australian Kelly xx

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  31. Hi There, I tried to leave a message earlier, but not sure it went through. I just watched the most recent housewives and was touched by Yolanda's kind act with the ice bucket challenge. I am also touched by your honest writing on your blog. I have been dealing with some unknown neurological issues of my own this past year. In my research I came across a book called "Eric is Winning" about a man who has reversed his ALS. I have not read it, but did read is protocol on his website. There is a lot of great info on his site that may be helpful. Thank you again for your honesty and raw truth in your writing.

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    1. So sorry you are dealing with a neurological illness. I hope you figure out what it is so you are able to treat it. Yes, I have been following Eric since the very beginning of my disease. I think he has good advice for people even without ALS! His advice is basically to get rid of toxins and have a positive attitude. I was just on his website over the weekend. It's fantastic. Hope you feel better. XOXO

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  32. Ellie, I hope there'll be no posting when Jenny visits. We will be quiet with you.

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  33. Please ship Jenny and Yogi Bear to the beach here, (I bet they will love it, shopping is great too, sunset, great happy hours, ha ha ha) I am super sick! I can lay in bed for hours, not talk, and flip magazines…Had a friend like that once, never thought we would part, we did, maybe pooh will send us back together again…life without a loving, "loyal", trustworthy, "shows up for the sunshine and thunderstorms" friend is beyond words of expression how sad it is without a friend or friends like this…it's a mutual love, a two-way friendship…so beautiful to have a girlfriend that "gets it"….Toast to Jenny and Yogi Bear! xoxox

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  34. LOOOVE this Ellie ! Chin Chin chicken salad and the Leon chopped salad , the 2 things that I must bring back to all the ex LA pals here in SB ! Wish that I was sharing them with you and Jenny ! Big Love , A

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  35. Ellie,
    I wish I had a friend like that. I keep praying for one. Maybe one day I will. It is said you are very lucky if you have just ONE good friend. You are lucky Ellie.

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  36. Ok, now it’s my turn.
    Truth is, I fell in love with Ellie before I met her. She would call the house looking for my brother and I’d answer the phone. These calls quickly became chats, which quickly became Ellie calling for me instead of Jamie. We made plans one weekend and I was so excited I could hardly handle it. She was a funny, older, smart Malibu girl and I was an insecure, boring, 14 year old North Val. But we clicked immediately and so began a beautiful friendship.
    When I think of Ellie she visually comes to me with her thick, long, beautiful blonde hair, and her pale, freckle dusted, gorgeously flawless skin. She belongs in a Ralph Lauren ad- no other way to describe her. Also, she’s always barefoot. In the living rooms of mansions, in line getting a smoothie, picking up Gracie from school- no shoes.
    The thing is, Ellie’s got this amazing gift of being comfortable in her skin and making people around her feel at ease. Whether it’s a parent, a new boyfriend, a housekeeper- none of it phases her. She is kind to everyone and generous of spirit and people just like her.
    Some years ago my then boyfriend and I visited Ellie in Santa Barbara. She had us meet her at a popular Montecito restaurant. When we walked in we saw her seated at a table filled with obviously high powered and intimidating people. Ellie greeted us and announced to the table to “scoot over and make room for Jenny and Trent”. We uneasily sat on slivers of booth and awkwardly crowded men & women while they ate, but after a few minutes we were all friends and went on to have a wonderful evening. That’s my Ellie. She does stuff like that and it’s amazing.
    She is a treasure to us all.

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    1. You aren't so bad yourself Jennifer Lattanzi Frink O'Connell Decret Copeland Brisick. I love you so hard. :-)

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  37. I discovered you about a month ago and am slowly going back and savoring all your prior posts. You often make me laugh. You often make me cry. Today--it's tears! Thanks for what you do--it's touching my heart.

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  38. By the way, I'm also a former Chin Chin addict, having lived in Coldwater Canyon for years. Now, living in Northern California, I think about that Chin Chin chinese chicken salad a lot and wonder if it would still taste as good as my memories. I also used to take cooking lessons from Hugh Carpenter at Montana Mercantile. He developed that salad for Chin Chin. Yummy!

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