Friendship blooms

The pandemic had a bright spot for a two-year-old boy in Minnesota.Benjamin Olsonand his next-door neighbor,Mary O’Neill,have become best friends. Their friendship is unlikely, since she’ll be celebrating her 100th birthday in December, but their 97 year age difference isn’t a problem for them.

At first, Mary would wave to Benjamin from her window, then she started coming outside to say hello and soon the pals were meeting regularly at the fence between their homes. Now they enjoy sitting on the steps and blowing bubbles together and playing a game they made up called cane ball, where he kicks Mary a ball and she uses her cane to pass it back to the tot.

Benjamin’s mom,Sarah, says he didn’t see other kids for more than a year and only interacted with the family and Mary. “They ended up forming an incredibly strong bond,” she says. “Mary really is Benjamin's best friend. She’s his first best friend.”


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