Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

Celebrating 25 Years of Friendship

Cast Your Vote for Jennifer Goodman Linn in the 2010 Energizer Keep Going® Hall of Fame By Clicking Here. PLEASE VOTE 1x a DAY EVERY DAY THROUGH AUGUST 20th . GoodmanLinn It is remarkable to me that over the years I have never dedicated a blog entry to my nearest and dearest friend Alicia. Well, I realized the other day that we have been best friends for over 25 years so please apologize for my delinquence in not raving about my dear friend earlier. Perhaps it is because her presence in my life is such a given. I don't mean that I take her for granted at all...I just mean that I truly can't imagine life without her. She is the blood sister I never had. Alicia and I met when we were 14 years old on a cross-country "teen tour" during the Summer of 1985. It was the summer when St. Elmo's Fire and Back to the Future ruled the box office, feathered hair was "in" as were the infamous royal blue & white Bennetton Rugby shirts (oh yeah, I remember those!). We met on a bus on the first days of our teen tour in 1985…Alicia was assigned to the back of the bus and I was assigned to the “front.” Two hours into the trip we were sitting next to each other and that is how it all began. And it’s never ended…and our friendship has always gotten stronger. As my brother declared at our wedding rehearsal dinner, "Jen never got into trouble or was boy crazy until that pivotal summer when she met Alicia!" For the past 25 years, Alicia and I have been thick as thieves. • From “studying” at Wellesley College’s summer program to studying the cute Australian men on Coogee Beech…. • From traveling in a beat up car across Tasmania to traveling on the 1/9 line to visit each other in NYC…. • From “downing” Cabury chocolates and Cascade Beer to going down the Jersey shore • From dating musicians to dating MBA’s (not to mention the hundreds of guys in between!) The truth is I probably have about 1000 pictures of the two of us and at least 1000 stories. Maybe that's why we are so close...we realize that if we didn't get along we could blackmail each other with all of the stories we could share! What is amazing and so gratifying to me is that we have only gotten closer over the years. I keep a hat box filled with all of the beautiful letters I have received since my diagnosis in 2004. The other day I was reading them and I was so touched by just how many there were written by Alicia. From DAY ONE, she has been with me in my battle. From visiting me in the hospital the day after surgery #1 to visiting me last month for surgery #5, Alicia has never left my side. Although we are no longer the boy-obsessed, Bennetton Rubgy-wearing, feathered hair girls that we were in 1985 (for the record, I was the one with the horrible feathered hair, Alicia's was always classic), we make time for each other. Despite going to colleges far apart (she in Wisconsin, myself in North Carolina) and being busy with our jobs, we always prioritized each other. I have such fond memories of Alicia coming to visit me in Boston during grad school or of our letter writing days when she was building homes in Atlanta while I was starting my first internship in NYC. And when I met Dave, I think he was more nervous to meet Alicia than he was meeting my parents. I made it quite clear that if Alicia doesn't approve, you might as well pack your bags! Luckily, Alicia, Dave, Rob and I love spending time together and started an annual fall outing in 2004 to watch Northwestern play Wisconsin. It is a wonderful weekend that we all look forward to (Alicia will thank me later for not putting incriminating pictures from the last trip on my blog!) We got married within 3 months of each other and naturally were each other's Maids of Honors. Looking back, it's amazing how many hours we spent discussing crazy wedding details like color schemes, playlists, hair styles, make-up etc. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Alicia is now a mother of 4 amazing children and I have been blessed to meet each of them within 24 hours of their arrival. I love Matthew, Daniel, Malena and Delilah as if they were my own and was honored beyond words when Alicia and Rob chose to honor me in the naming of their daughters. Now that the children are all forming their own personalities, I love seeing what Alicia has "handed down" to them. Matthew's joy of sharing and his natural sensitivity to people's feelings are pure Alicia. And Daniel's dynamic energy and "performance skills" remind me of the days when Alicia and I participated in camp sing-alongs, talent shows etc. And the twins are physically beautiful as well as kind, sweet and loving. What truly amazes me is that since my cancer diagnosis, Alicia has ALWAYS known exactly the right thing to do and the right thing to say (or not to say!). It probably helps that she has training as a social worker but I truly believe it is because of her amazing intuition and listening skills. I always know that she is 100% with me even if we don't talk about my situation at all. When we launched Cycle for Survival in 2007 (then called Spin4Survival), Alicia and Rob were one of the first teams to sign up. They haven't missed one year and Alicia has hopped on the bike at least 2x when she was in her last trimester. Their actions convey how committed they are to any cause that matters to me. Alicia has taught me so much over the years. She has taught me how to be a good friend and she has served as an amazing role model for when Dave and I have children of our own one day. Alicia is, no doubt, the most compassionate, generous, selfless person I know. It is so hard to put into words the love that I have for her. Alicia, thank you for enriching my life and the lives of everyone who meets you. It is an honor and a privilege to be your friend.