RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Time now for StoryCorps. This project is traveling the country collecting interviews about loved ones.
Today, a story of two best friends. Mandred Henry and Otis Wade knew each other for more than 60 years. They remained close even when living in different cities. Mandred Henry died earlier this year. On the day before the funeral, Otis Wade remembered his friend in an interview with Mandred Henry's granddaughter.
Mr. OTIS WADE: Even as a young kid, he was very direct and kind of forceful. One day, we were around about seven years old, Mandred walked up to me and grabbed me by the shoulder and said you know what you are? He said you're my best friend in the whole wide world. I said, okay. He was my best friend in the whole wide world but, boy, did we have a lot of arguments.
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Mr. WADE: We just used to argue just for the argument's sake. It was like entertainment between the two of us. You know, Mandred never had a brother and I never had a brother, and we adopted one another. Mandred and I on a couple of occasion that we took our mothers out for Mother's Day, and that was such a special occasion, you know, with our mothers together and the two of us together. And I don't know if you can get closer than that.
I remember one day, his mother - I was talking to her and she said, you know, Mandred and you are very good friends. I said, yes, we are. She said, you know what? You two look after one another. And we have been ever since. The last time I spoke to him, he was really ailing. He was really sick. And he said, if I come home, will you come and see me? I said, no, no, no, no. Not if you come home, when you come home I will be up there to see you. Well, he did come home and I'm here.
Ms. BEATRICE PERRON (Granddaughter of Mandred Henry): Within the last couple of weeks, he was really worried about how Otis is going to take his death.
Mr. WADE: Was he?
Ms. PERRON: He was. And what will you miss most about him?
Mr. WADE: We confided in one another and really believed in one another. And so I lost that presence of a person being there that had that confidence in me and I had the confidence and belief in them. That's what I miss. I've had family members that died. But this is the first time I lost a friend, and a greater part of me is gone.
Ms. PERRON: What would you say his legacy is?
Mr. WADE: A legacy of love. Not too long ago he said, Otis, there's so many people who are calling me while I'm sick and they're expressing their concern and love for me. He said I didn't know so many people love me. I said, you know more than that love you, Mandred. And he'll, you know, he'll stay with me. He'll live with me, my best friend in the whole wide world.
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MONTAGNE: Otis Wade talking with Beatrice Perron at StoryCorps on Martha's Vineyard. This interview will be archived along with all the others at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Subscribe to the StoryCorps podcast at npr.org.
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