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Grace Frierichs and Katherine Wallman sit and visit at Samaritan Springs Assisted Living. They first met each other when they were 15 and 13 years old, respectively.

Not many people can say they’ve had a friendship spanning 88 years, but Grace Frierichs and Katherine Wallman can.

These two 101 year old women first met each other in 1931, when they went through confirmation classes at Zion Lutheran Church in Pickrell.

“We had to go to confirmation on Wednesday and Saturday mornings for two years,” Frierichs said.

Wallman said that the students had to learn High German in order to get confirmed.

“Unless you absolutely couldn’t learn it then some [people] did it in English,” Wallman said.

Wallman and Frierichs were confirmed in 1933. Out of the 30 people in their confirmation class, Wallman and Frierichs are the only ones alive.

Years later, both women moved to Beatrice and joined a group that met to play pitch. Once a month in the evening they took turns playing at each other’s houses.

“Then we got too old,” Frierichs joked.

“Then we would meet in the afternoons and have a light lunch,” Wallman added. “Then we got too old for that, and we met at the senior center. Then one by one we disappeared, and now we’re here.”

Wallman is referring to the Samaritan Springs Assisted Living facility, where she and Frierichs both live.

They still occasionally play pitch on Frierichs’ enlarged deck, but more often they can be found working on crafts and playing bingo together.

Wallman said it was nice to have a close friend living in the same facility.

“But we both can’t hear. And I can’t see,” Wallman said.

As far as the secret to living a long life, Wallman isn’t telling.

“Then it wouldn’t be a secret,” Wallman said.

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