HOW THEY MET: The gift of a 40-year friendship

From left, Margaret McGuire, Leslie Eddy, and Sarah Neal at a Coldplay concert in 2017 Photo by Courtesy

Eighteen-year-old University of Florida sophomore Margaret McGuire said yes when a friend asked her a favor. The request was to meet his hometown friend who was transferring into the school. The girl was from outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., and happened to be in the same sorority as Margaret. 

“I grew up in South Florida and all my siblings went to the University of Florida. I’d spent my whole life in Florida and didn’t know anyone at UF who wasn’t from Florida, except for the guy from Pittsburgh named Rick,” Margaret recalled of the eccentric boy who sat next to her in geography class and lived in her dorm. 

“One day, Rick asked if I’d take a friend of his to dinner at my sorority house,” she said of the awkward request. The girl grew up with Rick and had just transferred to UF from a small school in Ohio. 

Margaret invited another friend, Sarah Neal, and to their surprise, the three girls found themselves immersed in laughter, with an instantaneous connection. “Leslie was so fun and funny, and we made plans to get together again,” Margaret said. “But Sarah and I got busy with the usual college things and I didn’t follow up.”

A few weeks passed before Margaret saw Leslie Eddy at the sorority house again.

 “I felt so bad that I hadn’t reached out. We really wanted to be friends with her, so Sarah and I invited her to a fraternity mixer that weekend,” Margaret said. “Our friendship really began from that moment on.” 

Margaret, Leslie, and Sarah wound up living together in the sorority house the following fall and continued living together for the remainder of their college days. After graduation and a summer in Nantucket, the three moved to Aspen, Colo., where they spent the ski season waiting tables. 

When their snow days came to an end, the three traveled the West in a tiny blue rental car, eventually landing on Sarah’s brother’s couch and floor in San Francisco. Margaret remembered the phone call from Leslie’s dad, who was furious that she hadn’t yet found gainful employment. 

“I didn’t raise you to be a gypsy,” she imitated, remembering the ensuing laughter. “But we knew it was time to come up with a life plan, and we had to decide where to live.”

That place was Boston.

The years brought changes, with Sarah moving to Florida, Leslie to New York City, and Margaret to Marblehead. The time and the distance apart did little to prevent the three from remaining one anothers’ closest confidantes. 

When Leslie came to a surprise party for Margaret in 1996, she told Margaret she was pregnant. A week later, Margaret shared her own news. She, too, was expecting, and a house across the street from her in Marblehead’s Old Town was on the market. By June of that same year, they were neighbors. Margaret’s and Leslie’s babies were born within a day of each other. 

Margaret holds her and Leslie’s newborns in 1996. Courtesy.

“Leslie came to visit me in the hospital after I had my son. She brought us each an RJ’s Special from Marblehead Munchies and, within minutes, she went into labor. We decided to call it the Labor Sandwich,” Margaret laughed.

With 40 years and nine children among Margaret, Leslie, and Sarah, their friendship has proven to be the gift of a lifetime.

Leslie Martini is a freelance writer and children’s book author. Though she and her family have lived in Marblehead for more than 26 years, Leslie is still discovering countless untold stories. If you’d like to share your story, please contact