GREENVILLE, Mich. – The year was 1953. Eisenhower was President, Pat Boone was becoming a star, and Elvis had just graduated high school.
In West Michigan, two saddle shoe-wearing teenagers attending Muskegon Catholic had become close friends. “We would go to the basketball games to watch the fellas play,” remembers 76-year-old Donna Poliski.
“St. Mary’s used to have dances on Friday nights,” recalls former classmate and close friend Dawn Drent, 76.
It was that same year that Donna decided to send her pal Dawn a Christmas card.
“I just kept the card and sent it back her the next year and back and forth it went,” said Poliski.
Fast-forward 59 years, the two great-grandmothers are still friends and they are still exchanging that same card.
“We always refer to it as the card,” said Drent.
The simple card with a lighted candle on the front is so valuable to them and delicate, they no longer mail it. Instead it is
hand-delivered every year.
During the off-season, Donna keeps it in a safe in a spare room. Dawn, when it is her turn, places the card inside the Holy Bible.
“We had a house fire and the bible came through,” said Drent.
The piece of paper represents their lives. It is nearly at capacity with signatures and dates. Over time, their maiden names changed to their married names and children’s names were added too. Four each.
“I had three boys and a girl,” said Poliski.
“And I had three boys and girl,” laughs Drent.
In 1997, Dawn and her family were living in Florida while Donna was back in Michigan. Separated by distance, Dawn added a little note to the card reminding her friend just how much their friendship meant.
“Dear Donna, this card covered many miles from Muskegon to Florida to cities in Illinois. It has endured as well as our friendship. Love Dawn,” she wrote.
Through the decades, they’ve experienced happy times and loss, but always sharing their lives along the way.
“We aren’t together all the time, but just knowing that she is there,” said Drent.
“It’s unbelievable for sure, we’ve been friends this long and this has held up and we’ve held up,” joked Poliski.
The card, much like their friendship, is priceless.
“Oh yeah, I mean,” Poliski choked back the tears.
They plan on keeping both things going as long as the can.
“Until we die, or go bananas. Or not remember to send it,” they laughed.