From A Book Report to Decades Long Friendship
By Cynthia Robinson
Photography by Mike Force Photography
When Beckey Bullard and Julie Lord met and became friends in seventh grade at Risley Middle School, they had no idea their friendship would not only survive, but also thrive, for decades.
“It was 39 years ago,” Julie said of the two meeting and becoming friends. “Oh my God. You had to put it in numbers! Uh!” Beckey added, laughing. “We had to do a book report together with some friends about Gandhi. Julie’s sister was married to a man from the Middle East, and she let us borrow some of the clothing they wear in Pakistan.”
“So that’s how we became friends—with a book report,” Julie said, smiling. “Homework brought us together, Beckey!”
While they remained friends, the two lost touch somewhat when Julie went to Brunswick High School and Beckey went to Glynn Academy. “There was a connection between us we didn’t know about. I have a sister who is handicapped, and she and my grandmother lived on the Island (St. Simons) and Julie’s sister, Cheryl Ann, was their caregiver. We never made that connection until later on in life. It was kind of weird.”
“We met up again at a friend’s wedding, and that was sort of it. It was like no time had gone by. We were just instant sisters,” said Julie, adding the wedding occurred about 25 years ago, and their friendship is still going strong. Not only did they rekindle their friendship, but they also went into business together.
“Julie was directing the wedding, and I was catering it,” Beckey said. The two then opened their own catering business. “We were throwing shindigs,” Julie said. “Beckey was back! We’ve just been in each other lives forever.”
“In 2002, we opened Twinkle Van Winkle (children’s consignment shop),” Beckey said. They ran both businesses until “the recession of ‘09 hit. We ended up closing everything, but we kept each other,” Leslie said.
“We’re like sisters,” Beckey said. Leslie agreed. “We talk to each other at least once a week and stop in and see each other,” she said. They also keep up with each other’s “big events, like broken bones and surgeries,” Beckey said, adding that Leslie is currently healing from a broken foot. “I’m in a big old boot,” Leslie said.
Both women say they share most of the same interests. “We’re crafty, we like junk food, yard sales, thrifting and antiques—the weirder the better,” Leslie said. Beckey agreed.
Beckey and Julie are in-sync with each other. “Beckey and I have been on our own weight loss journeys,” said Julie, who has lost 58 pounds. “We both started the same program, Noom (an online weight-loss program), but we didn’t tell each other. Then we were talking one day and found out we were both on it. I’ve lost 50 pounds so far,” Beckey said. They also have similar taste in clothes. “I would go shopping in Wal-Mart, and she would go shopping at Wal-Mart, and we’d come back with the exact same outfit,” Beckey said, laughing.
“We like to go on what we call little adventures, or field trips,” Julie said, while Beckey nodded in agreement. “We like to try new restaurants. I know if my husband doesn’t want to try one, Beckey will be up for it. We like to hang out at bookstores. We also like to go to TJ Maxx, get a coffee, then hang out at Home Depot. We don’t have to do too much to enjoy our time together.”
While they are both looking forward to more adventures together, including family cookouts, they said having each other during the pandemic was so important. In addition to dealing with Covid, the two said they leaned on each other through multiple surgeries, including Julie’s husband having to undergo open heart surgery during the pandemic.
“It was nice to have a friend when the world is going crazy around you. She’s my security blanket,” Julie said. “Beckey is my best friend, but she’s more like family. We always have each other’s backs. If I need anything, she’s there for me, and if she needs anything, I’m there for her. No questions asked.”
All in the Families: Julie is married to Jeff, and they have two daughters, Christine, 28, and Peyton, 20. Beckey is married to Troy, and they have two children, son Nick, 22, and daughter Grace, 21. “Julie introduced me to Troy at Wal-Mart!” Beckey said laughing. “Our husbands went to high school together. I call Jeff ‘my other husband.’” “Troy is my brother from another mother,” Julie said. “Our kids like each other, too.”
Jobs: Julie currently works as an executive assistant at MK Industries, while Beckey is the manger of the Brunswick location of Tuesday Morning. “My favorite store!” Julie said.
Gifting: The pair love to buy things for each other. “Every time Julie goes somewhere she buys me spoons and forks to put on my wall.” “Beckey buys me copper gelatin molds to put on mine.”
Addiction: “I have a vintage Pyrex problem,” said Beckey laughing. “Julie’s daughter Peyton has gotten into it, and I’ve been buying her Pyrex when I find it, and I’ve given her some of mine.”
Travel Plans: “We both like Disney. I told my husband, ‘Look, I’m just going to kidnap Beckey and go to Disney without anyone else when my foot is fixed!’” Julie said.