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Posts Tagged ‘Best friends’

Best Friends

My children – those for whom I am writing these memories – do not know much about Lisa. I think I’ve hidden her in my heart, much like keeping a Peculiar Child in one of Miss Peregrin’s “Loops” – timeless, protected, and – peculiar. I have not written much about Lisa on my blog because she is still living, and telling tales about the living is much more complicated than telling tales about the dead. The living can come back and be angry at you.

Not that I would ever say anything bad about Lisa, but some of the secrets we shared are… well, not so much “secrets”, but I don’t know how much she would like shared about her life. It’s sort of a judgment call. Do I write about inventing air guitar, writing plays for the librarian, or forcing our mothers – and her Nana – to sit through some inane play we put on in the apple tree? Our little world of “make-believe”? The dreaded “Blue Cape” (which will get a blog post all it’s own)?

Lisa is two years younger than I am. I was in 3rd grade and she was in 1st grade when we first played together. Her sister was a classmate of mine and my sister was a classmate of hers. In the 1960’s, there were social “rules” about playing with kids younger than you: it made you “immature”. It was a stupid social more. Lisa and I just had a bazillion things in common, more than any other person I have known in my entire life – including my beloved husband.

We drifted apart after I became a Christan, and more so after I got married. She traveled the world, read deeper books, and gained different friendships. I did a little traveling, was a free spirit, but ultimately, I married my soul mate and my focus turned to raising my children. I went without close girlfriends for a very long time.

I don’t know how to sort out and categorize and classify this friendship. Lisa is – and was. Together, we were strange kids. Apart, we were – what? Just as strange, but without each other. Ours was never a lesbian relationship, but I can see how it may have appeared to some – and how, given another set of circumstances (say, neither one of us liked men), we may have gone that path. We were both wired heterosexuals and that door never presented itself (although we were sometimes called other names).

Goddammit. We were GIRLFRIENDS. Best friends. Bosom buddies. We told each other our deepest secrets. We were the Divine Secrets best friends.

We played pretend, dress-up, air guitar, and hide-from-Jaci’s-little-sister. We wrote the weirdest plays. Our Breyer™ horses were in love with each other (actually, Blackie was/is a Hartford™ plastic horse; Kamie was a Breyer™. They were both Tennessee Walkers). We had a collection of little plastic animals we actually named (Jasper the cat was a green cat in the pile of toys; later I named my first cat after it). Lisa owned a grulla Shetland pony named Lollipop that we rode everywhere.

Lisa and I were sometimes bullies. There was a girl – MAL – who lived next to the Little Store and who was an idiot when it came to animals. When her German Shepherds were growling and wrestling, she thought they were fighting. Lisa and I berated her from the alley. MAL once showed us a very dead horny toad she’d caught and placed inside of a sealed coffee can. “YOU IDIOT!” we screamed at her, furious that she’d failed to think of air holes for the poor creature.

We took a 4-H class together for a few years: photography. We were the only members of the club and the local photography shop owner was our leader.

I lived at Lisa’s house, relishing in the Catholic rituals and the 6-o’clock on the nose dinner times. Lisa loved coming over to my house and playing until dark before my parents remembered anyone needed to eat.

Lisa was my Maid of Honor when I got married to Donald. I missed her wedding due to children, lack of cash, and a bazillion other stupid obligations.

It wasn’t just Lisa – but her entire family. I was part of them. Her dad was as much a father figure to me as my own. Her mother once looked at me and said, “Please call me Marie. You’re old enough that I don’t have to be Mrs. T.” Nana made me a quilt to take to college. I watched the Olympics – in color – at her house. (We had a black and white TV and I don’t remember my folks tuning in to the Olympics.)

Lisa had a running joke with my dad. There was a blackboard in the kitchen where Mom and Dad left us notes. To write on it was verbotten. One day, Lisa wrote a note – unbeknownst to me, or I might have stopped her: Krazy Kat was Here. My dad loved it and wrote her a note back. They wrote notes to each other during the years we lived in that house, much to the amusement of all of us.

Last story for the night – we were at the public swimming pool. Closing time. Everyone had been hustled out of the pool and we were in our separate changing rooms, trying to squeeze out of wet suits and into dry clothes. One of the lifeguards yelled down the hall, “Hurry up and change!!”

A tiny voice – Lisa’s – piped up. “Into what?”

001Lisa in 1966? with my mother’s Schnauzer, Mr. Tack.

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