Making Friends:

Clare Magee of Portadown, Northern Ireland

By Richard M. Romney

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    Clare Magee has lots of friends. One of her best friends is her mother, Sue. They enjoy working together in the kitchen, where they often make one of Clare’s favorite treats—banana sandwiches.

    She is also best friends with her older sisters, Sara and Emma, who help her get ready for dance concerts. Clare (11) has been dancing since she was four years old. Her dance instructor, Sharon Moore, is also one of Clare’s good friends.

    Another of Clare’s best friends is her father, William. He is a fire fighter, and she loves to go with him to the station, just down the street from their home, to see the big fire engines. “The fire fighters let my dad and me climb up in the engine, and they don’t even say anything!”

    She and her father often take their dog, Wags, out for a walk. Wags is one of her best friends, too. “We rescued him from the pound. He was an abandoned pup, only 12 weeks old. His tail hasn’t stopped wagging since we first met. That’s why his name is Wags.”

    As a family, the Magees like to go bowling, go to the movies, spend summers at the seaside, and go camping. “It’s a wonderful thing to spend time with your family, because they are your eternal friends,” Clare says.

    Her father is the bishop of the Portadown Ward, Belfast Northern Ireland Stake. Her parents have taught her a lot about other friends, like the Prophet Joseph Smith and the living prophet, President Howard W. Hunter. She has learned of great heroes and heroines in the scriptures; and, most of all, she has been taught about the Savior, Jesus Christ, and about Heavenly Father. “I know I can trust Heavenly Father and Jesus. When I say my prayers, I know they are heard.”

    Clare also likes Primary, where she has been excited to learn about temples. “The Church is building a new temple near Preston, England, and I know I’ll be going there someday.”

    The Magees live on a busy street in a house next door to a chemist (pharmacist) shop. “Our neighbors and friends accept us as a Mormon family,” her father says. “They are kind to us, and we try to be kind to them.”

    Clare makes friends wherever she goes. She has friends she met in Brownies and in Girl Guides. She has friends she has made while swimming or playing field hockey. And she has friends she met while doing a pantomime show at the local town hall, where her mother helped make costumes for everyone in the cast.

    When her mother learned that some of the cast members had questions about the Church, she invited them to visit the Portadown Ward meetinghouse. While they were there, many of them and their mothers noticed pictures of the Savior and learned how deeply Latter-day Saints love the Lord. “Some of them didn’t know that Latter-day Saints are Christians,” Clare’s mother explains. “Now they understand that we are.”

    Does Clare have some secret that helps her in making all these friends?

    “I just remember that we’re all children of the same God,” she says, “so that means we’re all brothers and sisters.”

    And that’s not really a secret.

    Clare, right, with Wags, the family dog. From top: visiting her dad’s fire station; with her fireman father; Magee family portrait; in front of her house; and making banana sandwiches. (Photography by Richard M. Romney.)