Friends meet later in life, like ‘two peas in a pod’

Photo provided
Carol Roach, left, and Pat Rocca touch hands through a window at Carol's home in Jasper.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

They are two close friends who talk every day on the phone, see each other weekly and support each other through their various challenges in life.

What makes this unique is that they met in their later years in life.

They weren’t friends as children, or besties while in the 20s or even 30s.

In fact, Carol Roach, who is 71, and Pat Rocca, who is 79, actually met 16 years ago.

“We just never let each other alone,” Carol said. “We took care of each other a lot.”

Pat, who lives in Huntingburg, and Carol, who lives in Jasper, are proof that you can find your best friend later in life.

Pat and Carol met through a mutual friend and started talking. Then they found out that they shared a common love.

“Well I had a car. And she couldn’t drive,” Carol said. “So we got together because we love shopping.”

“We’re shopaholics,” Pat said.

“Retail therapy is what I like to call it,” Carol said.

They both had worked in different stores. So “we knew all the brand names, and we go to Goodwill or St. Vincent [de Paul],” Carol started.

“And then we’d just take off to Evansville and spend the day,” Pat continued.

They also spend holidays together and celebrate milestones. “When my mother-in-law would have Christmas and Easter I always bring her over,” Carol said. “She’s always more than welcomed all the time.”

But their bond goes beyond fun times. Over the years, each lady has gone through various medical conditions. And the other one was always there for her friend.

“I had leg surgery in 2018. And she came to visit me and stuck with me,” Carol said.

Pat has also had various issues, including pneumonia and breast cancer. “She was at the hospital, and she doesn’t like to be at the hospital,” Carol said. “So I went up there every day to be with her, so that she would stay.”

“I’ve been in the hospital several times,” Pat said. “And she’s always been there with me.”

“We just you know we just [go] together,” Carol said, “helping each other and having fun and whatever. We just did it together [and it] just worked out that way.”

Carol hasn’t been able to start driving again since her surgery and is currently in a wheelchair. But they continue to call each other daily. And Pat comes to visit her, with the help of her health aide. Pat must take her portable oxygen machine everywhere she goes. So weekly, along with the machine, she takes a meal with her to Carol’s.

“Since this corona stuff, she drives by and waves, and comes to the window,” Carol said.

Pat leaves the meal for Carol at the door, and the two visit through the window. “It’s just to have a little social get-together,” Pat said. “Because I can’t get out as much now. And Carol can’t either.”

The two admire each other.

Pat said that Carol has a great personality. “She likes to shop. I like to shop,” she said. “We have a lot in common. And she cares about me. She is a good person and good friend to me.”

“Why do I like Pat? Well, she’s different,” Carol said with a laugh. “She’s a good person. And comes to see me because I can’t get out. We’re a lot alike, really. We’re really like two peas in a pod, I’d say.”

The two said they purposely worked at their friendship, staying in touch and being there for each other through important life events.

“You have to make time for each other,” Carol said, “no matter what.”

“Yeah,” Pat said. “We make time to talk to each other, check on each other, to see each other.”

Pat and Carol’s friendship has lasted through good times as well as challenging times, including the current virus. And they know their bond will last for the rest of their lives. They’re going to make sure of that.

“We’ve been close friends for many years, and we still will be, after all this,” Carol said. “It’s been 16 years, and I say it will be ongoing.”




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