Rhonda and Lanore
-The Real Golden Girls
Way back in the 80’s when the television show, The Golden Girls first aired, I fell in love with the idea of sharing a home with my best friend when we were older. Once our kids were raised and moved off into their own lives and spaces, Rhonda and I, friends since infancy, made time to do things together: vacation trips, campouts, sleepovers. We managed to get together for meaningful life events such as weddings, birthday parties, surgeries, and graduations. The idea of living together in our Golden Girls’ house was a pleasant, but distant, and mostly forgotten fantasy. I had probably never even mentioned it to my husband, J., but it must have still lived as a vague hope somewhere in the back of my mind.
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and Rhonda was one of the people who lost her job as a result of the damage left by the hurricane. She searched for over a year but could find nothing close enough to home to allow her to work. In the meantime, J. and I were scouting for a new home a hundred miles to the north. We were determined it would have sufficient room for family and friends and it had to have a room for us to continue practicing our dancing. We finally found a five-bedroom home with three full baths and a den that could be used for a dance room. We closed on the house before the end of 2017. In the meantime, Rhonda was draining her savings without a paycheck and after no job prospects for over a year, she feared she would eventually lose her home.
It began to dawn on me there was a clear solution but I would have to talk to J. He was onboard with the idea that was a dream come true for me.
Still, Rhonda had lived independently for years and was uneasy about moving in with me and J. It’s understandable. It’s always a risk to live with someone else–until you’ve tried it, you don’t know how it’s going to work out. You don’t know if you’re going to get on each other’s last nerve or if one is too noisy for the other, has too much laundry or body odor or bad language or religion. Being friends is one thing. Living together is another. And there wasn’t just one person to consider how she might tolerate. There was my husband J as well. I’m sure each of us had similar concerns because there were so many unknowns. This had just not been done by any of us before. It was a risk. But we hashed over the parts that might have given us trouble beforehand. We all agreed on the particulars and Rhonda moved in the following May.
As it turned out, it was a wonderful arrangement for all of us. For me, it is fabulous living with my best friend, knowing she has my back, no matter what. For J, he has two cooks and two housekeepers and a room he can escape to if we become more than he can tolerate. For Rhonda, she has her own suite on one side of the house while J and I live mostly on the other side of the house. We all share the kitchen, dining and patio areas. For some reason, Rhonda seldom ventures into the living room. Well, neither do I, for that matter. We all enjoy our time on the patio and working in the yard and we all enjoy our time alone. We all have jobs, we all pick up behind ourselves, and we all eat very different diets–so we all cook. Rhonda helps me keep up with the house and laundry. She’s a godsend for laundry, I tell ya. She also has pretty much taken over feeding our 2 dogs and cats. In fact, the dogs have each gained four and a half pounds since she has been here. We have regular discussions about that.
And regular discussions about anything that is on our minds is part of what it takes to make it all work. We are a very lucky trio. I’m sure our setup wouldn’t work for everyone. It helps that Rhonda and I have been friends since we were born and that Rhonda has been a friend to my husband, J. since he and I became a couple. In fact, we got married in Rhonda’s house. I stood my husband up for our first date so I could be there at the birth of Rhonda’s son. So ours is a longterm, time-tested relationship. It’s a friendship that is precious to all of us and one we do not take for granted. That fact helps us to be considerate and respectful of one another no matter how different our personalities may be. I believe it’s the secret that makes it all work so beautifully.
It would seem natural, even likely that we have our trials in living together as we do. But I have to say, not really. It’s pretty much been one joy after another. I hope we can stay like this forever.