Elton John recorded a song years ago called "Friends". It was for the movie of the same name. That song became the theme song for some friends of mine at Kilbourne Park Baptist Church, and it spilled over to friends at Anderson College. It started with Sonny, Ellen, Karen and me. It spread to my new friends of Sandra, Talula, Mary, Jimmy and me.
Mr. Vivian was in charge of the Chapel Committee for AC. He needed student volunteers to work in the chapel office during the chapel time. Attendance was mandatory for chapel, so the volunteers had to check the rolls taken in chapel. Sandra, Talula and I were the volunteers. It was really a way to get out of chapel, but we were also the ones most involved in the drama programs, and we were also very good friends. Sandra was from a very small town in Anderson County called Sandy Springs. Talula was from a very small town in Orangeburg County called Bowman. We used to kid Talula about cows, as she was a farm girl. As it turned out, Bowman's street signs had cows on them. Sandy Springs had a mill nearby, but it was mostly just a crossroads. Sandra and I were sophomores, while Talula was a freshman. I became their brother, and they became my sisters. It became a time, where we got very close.
As time went on that sophomore year of mine, Sandra and I became closer. I helped her prepare for both the Miss Anderson College and Miss Anderson County beauty pageants. She was first runner-up in the first one and fourth runner-up in the second. I prepared her with stage presence and talent. Talula would later compete in the Miss Orangeburg County pageant, and she got Miss Congeniality.
Mr. Vivian was taking a group of people to Europe and the Middle East the summer of 1973 and asked us if we wanted to go. We said yes, because it would be one last hurrah of the three of us being together. It was not hard to convince our parents to also say yes. They also knew how close we were, and it would be safer if we went as a group. More on that trip later.
Mary was from Greenville and a sophomore. She had a hippie spirit, and so did I. We were buddies. Her father was on the radio and TV in Greenville. We hung out a lot.
Jimmy was from a small town in Pickens County called Easley. He was also involved in the drama program. He was a freshman, but he seemed older than he was. He also signed up to go to Europe with us that summer.
I was no longer the loner who was hated by everyone. I was no longer the one who would never amount to anything. I had friends. Real friends. Good friends. Loving friends. Caring friends. It felt good. Real good. Amazingly good.