This is a big weekend for me. I am attending my high school reunion in Coral Gables, FL and I am very excited. I am one of those people that loved my childhood—I was very blessed in so many ways. My family was of very simple means but we had a good home in a great neighborhood which allowed me to attend incredible schools and make lifelong friends.

I have even a friend today that I met in kindergarten—Abby Kolber Ross. Her son graduated from Wash U Law School last year and we were able to reconnect. I had dinner with her and her husband David last month when I was in Miami for the Silver Knight Awards. Joining us for dinner was Jeff Rosinek and his wife and we had a great time. Jeff was my high school government teacher and what an incredible teacher he was!

I was very lucky to have guy friends as a young girl and it is these particular friendships that had a huge impact on my sense of self. Mike Davis and Ron Hagen were two of my best friends and I think my image of myself as a viable and credible person was molded by the fact that we were such good friends. They never treated me like a third wheel or a dumb girl but as a friend, an equal. Mike and I were friends since the 4th grade and Ron joined us when we went to junior high. We had great times at each others homes with other friends like Jeff Apple and Laurie Ross. We often talked into the night via telephone. For the life of me I cannot remember what we had to talk about because we had seen each other at school but we never seemed to run short of thoughts or dreams to share. Mike is a doctor in Houston and Ron a dentist in Miami and Jeff a movie producer in Los Angeles. We have all had our share of ups and downs –mostly ups I am glad to say, and while we don’t see each other often, we are able to connect immediately when we do reunite. I can’t wait to see them and spend time with their wives too.

My best, best friend Connie Knight will also be there. We first met in the 5th grade and have been friends ever since. Connie lives in NC now and is an incredible artist. She has two grown children. Her daughter Ariel looks exactly like her mom! It is pretty amazing when your friendships can span nearly 50 years. Now Facebook is making it easy to reconnect with old friends. That to me is the best party of Facebook—being able to reconnect!

Lucky me… thanks to Build-A-Bear Workshop I also have many more wonderful friends– my work partners and our Guests who add so much to my daily life. Thanks to my childhood friendships I know the value of having and being a friend and I do not take it lightly. In fact BABW is founded on friendship and therefore our tagline…”Where Best Friends are Made.”

On I have lots of friends, young Guests who have a similar passion for stuffed animals and friendship. The internet and especially virtual world communities makes it very easy to make “friends.” The verdict is out on whether lifelong friends can be forged this way but who knows. I do think it is important to be the same kind of friend to your online friend as you are to your real world friends. In fact, the true test of a person is how they act when they think they are not being seen or when they are actual almost anonymous. That is when your true nature shows up. I do believe you can make many acquaintances this way, don’t get me wrong but true friends take a lot more effort. I am still a believer in being able to look someone in the eye and say, “I am your true friend.”
Some people think no one will ever know how they really are so they can be a bully and act like a big shot.

I do think the virtual world, one like, is a place to relax and pretend and have fun. Why not pretend to be a better person, a more charitable person than you are in the real world, a better friend, a harder worker, a better sister or brother or son or daughter and see how much can trade off to your real life. Set even higher standards for being true to your word. Imagine if all the online friendships that were forged were because we wanted to become better people, not jerks or bullies? Maybe the virtual world behaviors we can create will stamp out people who want to be mean because random acts of kindness will be so much easier and fun and rewarding and maybe contagious and habit forming.
I look forward to that day. Thanks to all the BEARY good citizens of BABV who set a high standard for being good citizens and good friends real and virtual!

Love. Hugs. Peace to all,


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  1. AllisonBearPaw1 Says:

    Thanks, Maxine, for the post! You’ve sure been going to Florida a lot lately, haven’t you! 🙂

    Hopefully, I’ll see you around one day in BABV!

  2. bearfun Says:

    Hi Maxine,I was just windering when you smaller did you like animals because you came out with buildabear and there animals I just wanna know like what inspired you so much because your so succsessful!

  3. bearfun Says:

    Also Maxine I live in Florida too so that is great and it is really hot here!Its about 98 degrees……..Hot!Bye

  4. AllisonBearPaw1 Says:

    Cool, I live in Florida, too! I’m going to Disney World on Friday! Yay! Yesterday, it got up to 108 degrees! HOT!!!!!!!

  5. linda Says:

    I live in Florida too! 😀

    That’s nice that you are still friends with people you met in kindergarten! I’m actually going back to where I used to live and visit some of my old friends this weekend. I can’t wait. I haven’t seen them in four years.
    Have fun at your reunion, Maxine!

  6. tweety9102 Says:

    Your lucky you even have friends. 😦 People judge me cuz my skin is albino, I am african american, and the people who mainly pick on me are african. My last two years of elemtery school, people decired they would just be nosey and look through the cracks of th bathroom stall doors. Just last year, I met 8 people who didnt care, but one person, I actually now hate , well she always avoids me, she keeps secrets from me that I find out later from other people. Why do people judge me like this?

    Looks dont matter, only the person inside should matter, bullies need friends too, everyone needs a friend but it just seems like people only care about looks. Especially boys. I would always get cussed at, some boys start to look at me then they say oh sh** and run. I actually have a group of kids that hate me, and I hate them. I just dont know how to deal with it, people just seem to stare and avoid so i dont know what to do.

    Maxine, your actually lucky that poeple are really nice to you. You have the life I wish I had, accept being busy all the time.

  7. tweety9102 Says:

    Oh and p.s my name is Ariel too! LOL

  8. crystalcute444 Says:

    Wow Cool! Your very lucky to have friends Maxine! =] I live in Florida too!

  9. destinygirlsrock10 Says:

    I used to have a friend who I really like but she has changed alot I can’t be friends with her any more it sad I’ve known her sence I eas 4 but she is really mean

  10. destinygirlsrock10 Says:

    I wish I could have kept all my old friends but I guess people chasnges I had know this girl sence I was 4

  11. makenzieblue11 Says:

    The title of this song reminds me of a girlscout song, because I’m in girlscouts. “Make new friends, and keep the old, one is silver while the others gold.”

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