Musings + Essays

When We Were Young.

By: Jen Shoop

When we were young, we would laugh at the same inside jokes over and over — “put that thing back where it came from, or so help me!!!” — and they never got old.

When we were young, we rushed and pledged sororities together and attended date functions with our beaus together and would purposefully skip Sunday chapter together because, “ugh, we can’t be bothered.”

When we were young, we would talk in shorthand about the boys we were seeing and you would occasionally intervene to suggest that maybe I shouldn’t spend so much time with that boy in that super Southern frat who had just made me a mixed CD full of Van Morrison because he was maybe not the best of guys — delivered in your characteristic delicate but direct way — and also, because he dipped.  And we both agreed that dipping was disgusting.

When we were young, we would occasionally go to Catholic Mass together at the ugly Church on Alderman that we would walk to and laugh about “Catholic hair.”  Why was it that every other girl in the pew had the same haircut — a straight cut midway between a bob and shoulder-length style?

When we were young, we would go on spring breaks together, all pastels and madras and Lilly Pulitzer and youth, and we were reckless, careless, tan, and happy.

When we were young, you always felt like home, even when we were far away from it.

When we were young, we spent summers with our high school friend groups coalescing and intermingling, wearing too-short Abercrombie skirts and too-high platform flip flops, spending evenings in grimey Georgetown bars like Rhino or on the back patio of my childhood home, hushed in conversation so as not to perturb my parents.

When we were young, you told me I needed to buy a pair of Rainbow flip flops.  “You haven’t noticed that everyone’s wearing them?” you asked, in disbelief.  I hadn’t.  (A blogger was born…?)

When we were young, you would drive the scenic way back from Charlottesville when we carpooled home those many autumns, winters, and springs.  I always loved this curiously sentimental preference about you — you were otherwise so very pragmatic.

When we were young, we would pour vodka into cherry coke slurpees and crawl through the second floor window of my second year house leading onto the rooftop and sit in the warm spring air, waiting for the boys to arrive.

When we were young, you drove me to the hospital when I had a fever of 104 and stayed up until well past two a.m. on a school-night to make sure I was OK.

When we were young, we studied abroad for a semester — in two different countries — and I visited you and you showed me around in great style, generously parading me around in front of all of your new, cool European friends while we both nursed heartaches of different sorts.  When I left for the airport early on Sunday morning, we clung to each other in the early, gray Rome dawn.  I didn’t want to leave.

When we were young, you would drive me to my 9 a.m. history class in your feminine but sporty gray Jetta, which always smelled like crayons, because “ugh, no one wants to walk to class at 9 a.m.,” you would say shruggingly, unbothered by the imposition in your schedule.

When we were young, we would pile into our friend’s two-door red car — the one where you had to push the front seat all the way up to the dash to climb into the backseat — and drive around Charlottesville collecting the rest of our friends, and then head to Bodo’s bagels on Saturday mornings, an errand that — done solo — would take about 15 minutes.  With the whole gang in tow, it was an hourlong laugh-fest.

But now we are not so young.  We are navigating the complexities and disappointments and aspirations and realities of our 30-something lives.  Today is a hard day for you.  And I just thought you should know that even these many years later, when we are not so young anymore, that I still think of you as I did back then: full of promise, destined for good things.



The best baking gear.

Beautifully designed everyday objects.

Some of my absolute favorite items.

Getting out of a reading slump.

Great gifts for little girls.

Post-Post Script

What to say when you don’t have the right words.

My sister is the

You probably deserve a gift.

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17 thoughts on “When We Were Young.

  1. This is such a sweet post, and dredged up so many memories I have from college with my own girlfriends. I love this, and wish only the best for your dear friend. <3

  2. I remember your post on the right words to say to someone who is facing a difficult situation a few months back. Today’s post is a great example of what to say to people you love. Tender, thoughtful, and supportive. Best wishes to your friend.

    Re: The Ordinary. I have made two purchases of multiple items and wasn’t too impressed. The moisturizing serums all felt sticky, even hours later. The dark spot fading serum worked okay, but I was left wanting something more effective and luxurious. My favorite products were the exfoliating serums. Those are worth trying.

    My skincare routine took longer while using their products because it took so long for my skin to absorb it. Also, I found it hard to figure out what each product is for and what order to apply the products.

    All that said, their products are so cheap that you should definitely give it a shot! It was fun to order six products for like $40 and try something new. I used up everything I ordered, so I wouldn’t consider it a waste of money!

    1. Thanks, Kate — and I’m sure my friend appreciates all the good vibes from you and the rest of the Magpie Tribe.

      Good to know about The Ordinary! Seems like there are a lot of different views on the brand. xoxo

  3. this was so touching- your friend is lucky to have you-sending her all good thoughts! i’ve been looking for a little “happy” to bring along as party favors to my upcoming girls weekend and i think those diamond cleaners are going to be just the ticket! thank you for sharing your brilliance, as always.
    and i’ve been loving the ordinary’s rosehip oil FWIW

    1. Thanks, Daphne, for the good thoughts for my friend! 🙂 What a great idea for a little gift for your galpals. Love love love.

  4. this was so touching- your friend is lucky to have you-sending her all good thoughts! i’ve been looking for a little “happy” to bring along as party favors to my upcoming girls weekend and i think those diamond cleaners are going to be just the ticket! thank you for sharing your brilliance, as always.

  5. What a beautiful post. ❤️

    Ps my Jetta smelled like crayons too!! Never understood why!!!

    And bodo’s …. ahh how I miss thee!!

    1. HAHA OMG! Really?! Maybe it’s a thing!

      And thanks for the note on my post — it was an important love letter to an important friend and I’m so glad it resonated with so many people!

  6. Such a beautiful post. While this is written about someone specific in your life, it made me remember some of my favorite moments with my closest girlfriends and think about how those relationships evolved. We are both lucky to have such great friends, and your friend is lucky to have you!

    P.S. I also have that Diamond Stick and LOVE it. I would probably not clean my ring but it makes it just so darn easy! Highly recommend!

    1. Yes, so true. Those memories really opened a floodgate of emotions for me. Good girlfriends are a special breed 🙂 xoxo

  7. Beautiful post and I hope all ends up well.

    Re: comment above, I too have been interested in The Ordinary skincare line but don’t know anyone personally who’s tried it. Would love reviews…

    I love love Nest candles and regularly stalk because they go on sale every once in awhile there, and then I stock up!

    1. Thank you! And thanks for the tip on BurkeDecor. Will do the same!! My sister LOVES Nest candles, so it might be a good way to snag her some gifts on sale 🙂

  8. Beautifully written post. I wish I had a friend who could write as well as this and took the time to send this to me when I was going through a rough time! Totally unrelated: I am wondering if you’ve tried any skin care products from “The Ordinary” and whether you liked them or not. They were sold out on Sephora for weeks but just got restocked today so I bought a few. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Sara 🙂

      I haven’t tried anything from The Ordinary yet! Please keep me posted. I’m always sucked in when I see something selling out quickly…makes me think I’m missing out on something great!

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