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Portraits Of Boston: Extraordinary Friendship

This article is more than 6 years old.
extraordinary friendship

“We’ve been best friends for 40 years.”

“We met in the ’70s when we were 3 years old, as we like to say.”

“Ha ha, you certainly look great. Why do you think your friendship has lasted so long?”

“I met her when I was going through a very difficult period in my life, and she helped me survive. I was going through a divorce.”

“We saved each other.”

“How often do you see each other?”

“Probably not as often as we should. We live in different states. Sometimes we don’t see each other for years. I lived in Hawaii for 10 years, and he came to see me three times. But even when we don’t see each other for a year or two and we meet again, it’s like time never passed. We can talk about anything. I can tell him things I couldn’t tell anyone else.”

“We also bonded through work. We met when we were working in juvenile delinquency back in the ’70s, and we helped each other.”

“How long did you work in the field?”

“I only lasted five years. I left in 1978. She stayed for a couple of decades.”

“Did you leave because it was too difficult?”

“I felt, we both felt, as though we weren’t making as big a difference as we wanted to. During the five years that I stayed, we lost five children—either OD’d or shot by a cop or something else. That’s one a year. But she can tell you if things got better later.”

“I think they did, at least a little bit. When Jerome Miller arrived, he got rid of the big prisons for children and replaced them with a community-based system. But back then things were a little different. There were no gangs and murders; kids were getting arrested for stealing cars.”

“So, that’s it. Nothing special, just a good friendship.”

“Well, I think that what you have is rather rare.”

“You know, now that I think about it, what we have is, indeed, extraordinary.”

“She is extraordinary. And because of this friendship we’ve aged very gracefully, I should say.”


Portraits of Boston is a project of independent photographer Ivan Velinov. He is regularly sharing some of his favorite portraits with WBUR. Visit his website to see the hundreds of portraits he has taken on the streets of Boston.

This program aired on October 14, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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