My Best Friend

I decided to join in once again for this week’s Remember the Time, wild card edition! This week we get to choose our very own nostalgic theme. Yay, us!

As I was pondering what to write about a face popped into my mind and I remembered the day I walked into Ms. Petite’s 4th grade class and met the “new girl,” C.

In elementary school, I was SHY. These days, I like to think of myself as a non-shy introvert (you know, the ones who have all the annoying “15 ways to tell if you’re an introvert and AWESOME” blog posts written about them?). Anyway, there was a time when making new friends (or my lack thereof) left me scared and lonely. I spent much of third grade crying to my mom about how I didn’t have any friends. I may have even caused my parents some marital trauma, insisting I sleep in between them every night.

C was different. We hit it off immediately. She needed an audience that adored her and I needed someone to follow to bolster my confidence that I was friend-worthy. Best Friend Worthy, even. Our friendship was immediate and lifelong. And full of the stuff that made up my childhood. Such as:

Baton Twirling Class. Every week one of our moms would drop us off at the local Boys and Girls Club for our baton twirling class. C had taken lessons before and talked me into taking them, too (of course). Our instructor was Rory Hood, a former national baton twirling champ, and really great teacher. I still remember the “dip of vanilla, dip of chocolate” method of teaching us how to twirl a figure-8! The two of us would practice at recess, which really didn’t do much to help our popularity ranking. But it was something that was ours. There’s a really awful photo of me in my sequined and fringed twirling costume, which I tried unsuccessfully to find for this blog post. But that’s okay, it really doesn’t need to be out there in cyberspace. After all, I hope to make friends in the future.

Starline baton

I still have my Starline baton, which was once a most prized possession.

Band. Obviously C and I were never meant to be popular. Besides being in the same 4th grade class, the other thing that cemented our friendship was learning to play woodwind instruments. In 5th grade, C’s parents rented her a flute and mine rented me a clarinet. We would take home our beginner practice books and serenade our parents with the most epic of adolescent sounds. Eventually I gave up on baton and when the time came to join marching band it was me and my black plastic instrument all the way.

woodwinds

Believe me, the music we were playing DID NOT resemble this music!

Grease. Is the word. Honorable mention to Dirty Dancing, Can’t Buy Me Love, and the Beach Party movies. We watched these movies over and over, long after the VHS tapes had worn out. We tried to establish our own version of the “Pink Ladies” at school by wearing similar jackets. It didn’t catch on. We didn’t know what fanfic was back then, but we were prolific at dreaming up stories; I was usually Sandy (pre-makeover) and C was Rizzo.

Grease

We go together.

The Monkees. Perhaps our greatest shared love was the original, made-for-TV boy band. We had cable and we loved all things retro. What a great time for Nickelodeon, which began airing The Monkees every day after school (maybe even back-to-back with You Can’t Do That on Television–what could be better?). C’s mom had been a first-generation fan and her enthusiasm for their revival quickly spread to her daughter and her daughter’s very-impressionable best friend. Together, we went to our very first concert and my life-long obsession was born.

Chicago Prudential 1966

“Hey, hey, BFFs, this one’s for you!”

C and I are still friends, despite not having lived in the same state for the last 18 years. We may only talk once or twice a year, but our forever bond is cemented as we both go about our daily lives. And I still have my half of this:

best friends

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10 responses to “My Best Friend

  1. Some non solicited advise from an old(er) guy….nurture those long term friendships. I’ve had many come and go, but there are a few that I cherish and it’s important to touch base like you’re doing a couple times per year. If something very important happens, maybe fly out to see her – you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

  2. I love this. But I am sad that you couldn’t find a picture of that twirling costume. 🙂 I used to have one of those best friend necklaces with a friend who moved away when we were in 4th grade. I may still have it somewhere. All someone needs is one good friend to help them discover all the wonderful things about him or herself. And friendships like that that stand the test of time and distance are beautiful.

  3. This totally brings up memories of my childhood BFF 4-Ever (we lost touch but have reconnected on Face Book). We spent hours watching the 1984 Summer Olympics gymnastics and would practice our handsprings in her back yard, convinced we could make the Olympic team ourselves in 4 years. Shockingly that didn’t happen…. Also, I’m old. Sigh.

  4. Can I be y’all’s friend too? I totally tried to get my friends to form a local chapter of the Pink Ladies when I was a kid, but I couldn’t get any takers at all. I think this may have been because I also required that we wear poodle skirts.

  5. My childhood BFF was also because of band. 🙂 We both played clarinet too. And, we also live in separate states and still call each other up from time to time and pick up right where we left off. Yay for BFF’s! 🙂

  6. I’m not sure if I’m doing this ‘right’, but I’m just going to hop in and if I’m doing it ‘wrong’, someone please let me know, so I can learn more about this blogging deal!

    My very BFF was/is my beloved sister, born just 13 months after me in the mid 1940’s. Because she was a second RH positive child born to a RH negative mom and RH positive dad, she should have not survived, but she did and had a pretty tough first 2 years – in and out of the hospital, getting really bad treatments (like x-raying one of her very important glands – just can’t remember which one now).

    Anyway, we grew up almost like twins and loved each other so very much. She was a scrawny girl and I was a ‘big girl’ as in tall – not as in fat. Sure we fought as any two siblings did. I love my mom’s best way of dealing with this – she would make us sit on either end of our couch until we could be friends again. Took about 2 minutes of pouting and arms folded before we started giggling and BINGO we were friends once again. Laughing and giggling hard and not being able to stop was something we did her entire life. I was known to often wet my pants! Somehow she avoided that . . . We were together for 46 years, both marrying wonderful men and having 6 children between us – 3 boys and a girl for her and one of each for me. They were all born within 10 years – her’s being the first and the last! As they grew up they would just look at us like we were nuts when we got into a giggling episode or started talking about our experiences as kids! She now has 8 GRANDS, ironically 7 girls and one boy! She is their Heaven Grandma and they are also blessed with two live grandmas who love them all dearly!

    In 1988 she was diagnosed with and beat breast cancer. In the fall of 1990, she was diagnosed with Leukemia, just 6 weeks before our mom died. I could get into that but this is HER story. She received a very successful bone marrow transplant from a male stranger west of the Mississippi on 10-7-91. He was a perfect match to her! 29 days later she was allowed to leave the hospital to stay in a tiny apartment just a block from the hospital. All 4 of her kids (14, 15, 21 & 23) and her wonderful loving husband were with her there for 10 absolutely perfect days and nights of hugging, laughing, reminiscing, loving . . . on the 10 day she fell going into the hospital entrance (she had to be seen in the clinic each day for medical checks.) She fell a few more times, then had a seizure, so she was re-admitted to the hospital. The docs knew the problem was in her brain and they thought it perhaps the breast cancer had metastasized. They performed brain surgery and found a fungus growing that was very rare (she was the 9th person ANYWHERE to be diagnosed with it) There was no treatment because it was so rare. She died 9 days later. She gave me a more than I can ever say amazing gift of being with her those last days. I had to fly to get there and I cried all the way. I got there very late on Friday night and a dear, dear friend picked me up and took me to the apartment where my sister’s husband was. All the kids were coming back on Saturday. We decided not to go to the hospital until early Saturday AM. When I walked into her room, she was lying in bed looking our way and her eyes just lit up. Truthfully, I didn’t recognize her at first . . . until I saw her hands – there was no mistaking them. Then her swollen face and bald head transformed into her and I can still feel her arms around me, just as mine were around her.

    I think I’m writing too much, so I’ll end this quickly. She lived for 8 more days, in and out of consciousness. I rubbed her back with lotion, talked to her with tears falling when she was awake, helping her eat a bit when she was willing to, constantly told her I loved her and hugged her and just wished we weren’t there with her in this situation. We were supposed to become old, rascally ladies together . . . It’s hard to do that alone, but I’m trying . . . I was out of the room when she died – down at the apartment doing laundry and as I sat on the couch I kept looking at the clock as if I was supposed to do that. At 12:01 PM her husband called and said “She’s gone.” When I didn’t/couldn’t reply, he said “you need to come back to her room.” I knew then why the clock had all my attention . . . She was with me in spirit just after she left her husband and eldest son. During the 2 block walk, I hummed off-key (the only way I can) and loudly just to make myself keep walking. She was in her bed with all the ‘stuff’ removed. She was so peaceful looking, which I expected. I hugged her once more and told her I would miss her so very much and that she would NEVER be forgotten and, of course, that I loved her. That was 22+ years ago and she is ‘always on my mind’ every day, every moment. AND I ache with what we can’t do and with the pain of missing her. Time may heal, but it doesn’t take away the memories, for which I thank God each day. OK DONE!

    • What a lovely story! You were very blessed to share the time you had with your sister. My sisters are 12-16 years older than me and we didn’t have the benefit of growing up together but I love to spend time with them.

      This would make an excellent post on your blog site–you can do that by going to your “dashboard”–>Posts–>Add new!

      “Remember the Time” is a blog hop where they present a different theme to write about each week. If you click on the graphic above, it’ll link you to the site that tells all about it. You can follow The Waiting blog to find out what the next theme is 🙂

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