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Friends really can be forever. In 1963, on the campus of South Carolina State College, four women with diverse backgrounds, yet mutual interests, might not have guessed they would still be friends more than 50 years later.

Before modes of communication like text messaging and social media, there was face-to-face communication, which began a lifelong friendship among Pauline Brown of Richmond, Virginia, Dr. Patricia Hall and Gardenia Sligh of Columbia, South Carolina, and Leigh Nesmith of DeLand.

Nesmith grew up in South Carolina and has lived in DeLand 31 years. She recalled her time as a student at South Carolina State College.

“There was a sense of security amongst friends, despite the challenges of life,” she said.

Nesmith grew up in a family of 12, with five sisters and six brothers in Deweys Hill, North Charleston.

She was the seventh child and the only one who attended college. It was important that she found a family away from home.

At the time, the bright-eyed and college-focused women didn’t exactly know what they wanted to do, but they found support in one another while pursuing their dreams.

Hall was 16 when she came to college and was focused on being an educator, a path she successfully completed.

Brown was a business major and became active in her field by pursuing a career in business.

Sligh was also a business major, and later shared her love of teaching with her students.

Nesmith also became an educator and continued in this career for 36 years.

The four women recently published their co-authored book Friends R Forever, to portray how valuable friendship is during the college years and beyond.

“It was also important for people to know that you can have long-lasting friendships through mutual respect, trust, love, kindness, and understanding of one another,” Nesmith said.

On Oct. 20, the ladies had their first book-signing at Greater Union First Baptist Church of DeLand.

If you are interested in learning more or purchasing a copy of Friends R Forever, call 386-956-7505.

— Cameron, a longtime educator, lives in Orange City. Send email to cameronchronicleslive@gmail.com.


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