“I felt … this is a kindred spirit.”
Eileen Kavanagh '75 and Loy Lewis '75 met the last week of their freshman year and have been best friends ever since. Their friendship has taken them from Bryn Mawr to all over the world and back. Their interview was full of so much laughter and love.
On how they met:
Loy: We both lived in Erdman Hall. They had a room just beyond the bell desk called the “typing smoker,” because typewriters made a lot of racket when they struck the paper. So if you had to stay up late to write a paper you went to the typing smoker. It was the end of freshman year and I, a math major, was in there writing a paper. I hated writing papers. And there she was.
Eileen: Had you already written it out, handwritten it? Of course you had.
Loy: Yes, wrote out on legal paper.
Eileen: I was in there because I had 21 papers to do in about 10 days. I might have left a few things to the end of the semester. So I’m in there because I don’t have time to hand write anything. I’ve just got to type it out. And I’m in there and I meet Loy. We had known people in common the whole year, but I’d never met her. And I remember, just a few words and I felt, this is a kindred spirit.
Oh my god, I just met somebody who I want to know for the rest of my life, and it’s the end of the school year. And then we went away, obviously, for summer vacation. But as soon as we came back in the fall I went looking for her.
Loy: And she found me.
Eileen: In Erdman. I found her on the lost corridor and we’ve been best friends ever since.
"She’s my oldest friend, my dearest friend. She’s the person who absolutely gets me and likes me anyway, which is such a shock to me over and over."
On traveling together:
Eileen: They say you never know somebody until you live with them. You really never know somebody till you travel with them. And we are so different in so many ways, but we mesh so well as travelers.
Loy: This is not to say we never get to the point where we say, "I think I’ll go out for a little walk."
Eileen: But to be able to travel with somebody who says, you know, I really want to see the Museum of X and you think, you couldn’t pay me to go to that museum. But that’s OK because she’ll go to the Museum of X and I’ll go to the Museum of Y. Or the time when we were in Paris and she did go to a museum because I stayed in the room to watch the Champions League football game. She said, “We’re in Paris. You’re going to watch a soccer game?” I said, “It’s Liverpool-AC Milan. It’s the Champions League!” She said, “Yeah. I’ll see you in a few hours.” So she went out and I stayed and watched the game. I was so happy.
Loy: And so was I.
Loy: I like when we travel together and we can sit up and knit and talk and, you know …
Eileen: .. solve the problems of the world.
Eileen: She is the most important person in my life. Right up there with my husband, and neck and neck with the kids. She’s my oldest friend, my dearest friend. She’s the person who absolutely gets me and likes me anyway, which is such a shock to me over and over. You know, when you’ve said something truly honest to somebody and it’s OK and they don’t think any less of you? Everybody should have a friend like that.