Each installment of “The Friendship Files” features a conversation between The Atlantic’s Julie Beck and two or more friends, exploring the history and significance of their relationship.
This week she talks with a group of friends who went to the same Jewish elementary school, the I. L. Peretz Folk School, in Winnipeg, Canada, through seventh grade. Some kept in touch throughout their lives, and others reconnected when a group of students hosted a 50-year reunion. Now in their 70s, they still recall their elementary-school years as a special time that helped them become who they are today, and they cherish the friends who knew them 65 years ago.
Ron Charach, 70, a psychiatrist and an author who lives in Toronto, Canada
Reesa Devlin, 71, a retired kitchen-store retailer and food writer who lives in Vancouver, Canada
Ethel Kofsky, 70, a retired teacher who lives in Vancouver, Canada
Sharon Love, 70, a retired customer-service representative who lives in Winnipeg, Canada
Bailey Rayter, 70, a semiretired psychologist who lives in Winnipeg, Canada
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Julie Beck: How old were you all when you met?
Reesa Devlin: We were in kindergarten, most of us.
Ethel Kofsky: I wasn’t. I started Peretz school when I was in grade two.
Sharon Love: I started there in grade one.
Bailey Rayter: Sharon, my cousin, I knew from birth. I have a memory of meeting Ron when we were in strollers somewhere between the ages of 2 and 3. And I too started kindergarten at the Peretz school. Most of us go back 65-plus years.