By Veronica Leigh
The Urban Diction describes the term kindred spirits as: two people that make a special connection by sharing a bond that has joined them by the means of an experience that has drawn them together on a higher level of consciousness. We often spend our lives searching for that one special person who understands us and whose devotion will stand the test of time. Prior to her life in Avonlea and at Green Gables, spunky red-headed Anne Shirley longed for a kindred spirit/bosom friend. For a while she made do with “mirror friends” and her own imagination to cope with her unhappy situations. Then when the orphanage sent her to Avonlea and the Cuthbert siblings adopted her, she found her first kindred spirit in Matthew. The second kindred spirit she found was Diana Barry.
A girl near her own age, of more traditional inclinations, Anne was ecstatic to get introduced to Diana. Anne had to work hard to earn some of the Avonlea locals’ trust. After criticizing Anne’s hair and freckles, Rachel Lynde encounters the girl’s fiery temper and Anne must offer a theatrical apology. At one point, Marilla suspects Anne of stealing and losing her special brooch. When he teases her and calls her carrots, Gilbert Blythe more or less had to have sense knocked into him via a school slate. However, from their initial meeting, Diana offered Anne friendship and showed her kindness others had not shown her before.
For the first time, Anne is allowed to be a kid and she blossoms. For the first time, Diana embraces her own imagination and creativity. Together they become young ladies, go to parties and dances, have girlish adventures. They indulge in romantic fantasies, write stories, read poetry and novels. It is all very idyllic, but not without a few woes. As with every friendship, they went through troubling times.
One day when Marilla is away, Anne invites Diana over for an afternoon, and mimicking the ladies of Avonlea she serves her friend cake and cherry cordial. Or so Anne believes. In reality, it is a bottle of Marilla’s currant wine. Diana is soon intoxicated and for a time Mrs. Barry forbids Anne to see her bosom friend/kindred spirit. They meet in secret, for a last farewell, and pledging their love to one another.
Anne redeems herself in the eyes of Mrs. Barry when she saves the youngest Barry girl’s life. When Minnie May Barry is dangerously ill with croup, Diana comes to Green Gables for help. Matthew goes for the doctor, but knowing it is hazardous to wait too long, Anne takes matters in her own hands. Armed with ipecac, Anne and Diana go to the Barry’s and Anne works tirelessly at nursing Minnie May back to health. With Mrs. Barry’s blessing, Anne and Diana resumed their friendship once more.
Anne and Diana’s friendship continued into their adult years; however, for a while they took different paths. Anne advanced her education and had a teaching career, writing and publishing occasionally. Diana doesn’t attend college and accepts a proposal from Fred Wright, to settle down and have a family. After chasing her for years, Gilbert Blythe wins Anne Shirley’s romantic heart and they marry and have a family of their own.
Their love and devotion enduring, eventually Anne and Diana had daughters… daughters they name after each other. If that is not proof that they were kindred spirits, I don’t know what is. It offers hope to the rest of us that someday we will each find a kindred spirit of our own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Leigh has been published in several anthologies and her work has appeared on GoWorldTravel.com and the Artist Unleashed, and she has published a couple of fictional stories. She makes her home in Indiana with her family and her furbabies. To learn more about her, visit her blog.