Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When We Were Girls

I just saw a girlfriend of mine yesterday. She came by with her husband and two little boys, who are both very close in age to my two. I hadn't seen her in eighteen years. Wow. She was my best friend when we were in elementary school, but then with the tumultuous changes that highschool brings; physical, social, etc, we drifted apart. Her parents moved to the U.S. for her dad's job, and she and her brother joined them.

Eventually though, we reconnected. Good old internet. We used to hang out all the time. We'd ride our bikes together, as I did with all my friends. We'd play tennis together, and make sure to go home when it was "dusk." We used to climb the pine trees in the park and hold secret conferences, spying on the unwitting people below. Those trees, incidentally, are huge now--too big, I believe, to reach the lowest branch. I'd go to her house, or she'd come to mine. Usually she'd come hang out with me at my house when my parents would be out on a Friday or Saturday night, and we'd do what most 13 year olds would do: pierce our ears. It's kind of ridiculous, but she had peroxide at her house, and we did not. So, it was the old ice cube and safety pin trick. Then a few days later, I would invariably brush my hair out of the way and my dad would zero in and say; "is that another hole in your ear?!?" We only created two new piercings in our ears. Still, it seemed to be a good bonding experience.

We would watch Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club over and over again, and let me tell you--that guy "Jake" in Sixteen Candles is STILL UBER HOT. I was one of the tallest kids in elementary school, at one point, and she was short. I HAD to start wearing makeup in grade 6, and styling my hair not long after, and C. was never that interested in makeup, or styling her long, shiny, un-hairsprayed hair, which she'd pull into a messy ponytail on top of her head for bed.

We went away on a summer vacation together at her family's friends' cottage a few summers in a row. C. had become a proficient sailor at summer camp, and parents (apparently) were a lot more permissive in those days, so we'd put on our life jackets and head off on the lake in the little sail boat. Geez, but I can't remember the warning C. would yell out to let me know to duck before the sail came around and whacked me in the head. I missed her when she would go to camp each summer, but she'd send me amusing letters, and made me a craft one time, which I still have: a little pillow stuffed with balsam chips. It smelled so pretty, for so long. She even sewed a "k" on top.

When she arrived yesterday I was grinning, because she really looks just the same. C. told me I looked just the same too, but I'm pretty sure that's just something nice you say, like when someone's made you a really crappy cake.

To my delight though, she brought a little bag FILLED with highschool letters I had written her (the vast majority of them written sneakily while I was supposed to be paying attention in class)--a huge stack. I'm floored. I have no memory of writing so many letters, and I'm also angry at myself--why don't I have any of hers?!?

Last night I sat reading those letters for a long time, because I couldn't sleep anyway. They were very repetitive, and spoke nearly obsessively about "cute boys" that were at school, getting those cute boys to notice me, working up the nerve to get them to notice me, when the next dance was coming up, how boring my classes were, etc. It was strange; on one hand, highly amusing in their teeangerish dramas and yearnings, but on the other hand it also reminds me how nothing really ever happened. That cute boy who asked me to dance ONCE, never became my boyfriend. Un-requited everything.

And then by about grade 11 it was all fading away. We started to get boyfriends, and forgot that we were such good friends, because now opposing views and personalities were emerging. One of the last times I saw C. was at a gathering of friends. I was 20 and my boyfriend and first love had just died. He had a rare form of cancer. We also worked together at the same hotel one summer as chambermaids. And then she was gone, for years until one of those websites that reunited old school pals came along.

Those letters though--they kill me. And my short, cute childhood friend--now a mom as well. Most amazingly though were the feelings that came to me. My mind was whirling with memories and long-forgotten thoughts. I have become so wrapped up in my adult life, as we all do I suppose. I don't go on the swing any longer, I push the swing for my children. I don't have a lot of time to stop and play because I have dishes to do, and dinner to make, and a load of wash to hang out.

So, as I started to write this blog, yesterday, I suddenly began to cry. Jack, who has a sixth sense it seems for when I'm crying, was suddenly at my side. He asked me if I was crying about Grandma. No, I told him, I was crying because suddenly I remembered. I remembered that I was a young girl once, and I was 13 once, and I had good friends. Crazy. I had forgotten so much about when we were girls.
Nov 18/86

Dear C.
I am doing boring, pathetic geography work--as if I really care about wheat & grain & grain elevators! I had my health test today--pretty easy. Only 11 minutes left and then Yay! French! Dave P. is gorgeous and piss me off--CK isn't here today! I could cry! But maybe (just maybe) he is here and I'll see him on my way to french. Blah! Yuk! Gag! I have to stop now because Mr. L's putting a note on the board about "Ranching in the West" doesn't that turn you on (Oh C--control yourself--calm down) I HATE this class - BLAH! Ha Ha Ha! It's over and I'm in French now (which by the way also sucks mass). OOOOOO! GUESS WHAT - CK IS HERE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (By the way - there are 50 exclamation points) I hope the punctuation explains how happy I am that he's here. He is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo (36 o's) handsome today - he's wearing a yellow t-shirt (polo shirt) but I didn't get a really good look cause he was getting his books & (sniffle) I didn't see him at all today because I don't think he was here! Waaah! I was gonna smile (sexy smile) at him because he was busy at his locker (I could cry) I'm also quite sad cause I NEVER see him after school, so that means I have to wait till tomorrow to see my baby. By the way - I'll forgive you for the short note- this time! (just kidding) and about you going into enriched english --
I think that if I were to see CK with another girl - heart would brake [sic]!
Oh well gotta go babe
Hugs & kisses
Image reference:


  1. for some reason, I could not put my image reference in any READABLE sized font, so here it is just so's I'm 'on the level':

    Image reference:

  2. I had a good friend like that once. At about the same age. it would be weird to see her.

    I don't miss being a girl though. Life was a train wreck back then.

    Nice post!

  3. Ohh thanks for sharing :)

    This was really lovely. I have a collection of highschool letters somewhere too! Although it's only been about five years since they were written, so I can't bring myself to read them yet! *Shudder*



    Jake Ryan (Squee!!)

  4. Jen, you have that shirt?!? Why don't I have that shirt??? Yeah, you know what--I read a STACK of those letters at once, and I don't know if I'll even read the rest of them. They are indeed fairly shudder-worthy.

    Cranbery: oh gods no--I don't want to be a teenager again. It just seems idyllic as I look back on it now, then look at the peanut butter grease on my shorts, then back on my 'carefree' teeanger life, then at the bags under my eyes...oh man, I need a nap.

  5. How wonderful karen to be reunited with a best childhood friend! I love summer and it always brings back the best childhood memories especially the ones of dad still at home!

    Peter sounds like quite the cook! I will have to try the bread flour.

  6. yes, apparently the bread flour makes a big difference. Peter is quite the cook. If he'd had more time today, I'd have forced him to make his bolognaise sauce.

  7. Thanks for talking about the importance of remembering to play, even as adults. We fill our lives to the margins with responsibilities, balanced with fantasies of escape, but we rarely as adults take moments of play. Those moments leave me rested and better able to do work, family, bills, etc. It brings me great joy when I see Paula laughing and playing with Gabe. Since I did not know her as a kid, I can now imagine it. We joke that she skipped childhood completely, but now I know better. I think dads are better at remembering to play than mom's overall. (Don't throw anything at me ladies!)

    Also, I was greatly relieved that nowhere in the note MT was mentioned! lol I am also relieved that I cannot decipher who those initials are (other than C, of course!) Consider yourself on notice to arrange a wider reunion next time, okay?

  8. LOL I looked at the initials and tried to figure them out too. LOL.

    When I bought a huge wooden playset for the backyard a few years ago. I made sure I got one big and strong enough to hold 2 adults. 7 years later I still go out there and swing by myself and the dogs. Sometimes after work and sometimes in the quiet at dusk. Tennessee is too darn hot to be outside in the summer, but fall is coming and I'll be back out there in the evenings. : )

  9. Matt, you are completely right, I believe, that men--in general--tend to not lose that spirit of childhood. I think that's one of the charming qualities about men--and annoying at times when you want your man to stop being excited about video games. But I digress. You nailed everything else on the head; filling our lives to the brim with responsibilities and worries.

  10. Lisa, I'll have to email you and Matt the initials, and maybe you can remember one of the guys I was BOY CRAZY ABOUT and now haven't got a clue who he is. That's great about your swing. I can't believe, still, that you're all the way down in Tennessee now!

    Matt, you WERE mentioned in one of the letters as being evil with your friend at the time--RV. Har har.

  11. Wow, when I read your posts all I can think is that we have so many things that are the same. My best friend and I grew up pretty much the same. I was remeniscing about when we both had summer jobs and we would write notes to each other on whatever we could find, she worked at a ice cream stand and would use their foam cups. We spent almost every summer together until she started dating, I was a late bloomer in the boy department. We lived down the road from each other, during school year we each had different friends because I was a grade older and she was into sports. But come that first day after school we were always together. I usually get to see her once a year during the summer when she visits from California with her children for 3 wks. It is as if I just saw her the day before, we start up where we left off the year before.

    Just so you know you are normal, my kids are driving me crazy, I am not one of those mom's who wishes school never came after summer. Get those kids off to school ASAP. I went back to work part-time and I LOVE it. Hang in there, keep on swimming.

  12. Thanks Alaina, yesterday was particularly revolting. Hm--better blog about it.
    That's nice about your friend, and funny too about having to write notes to each other on anything you could find. I know that well. I used to write notes to a friend at work on the back of cashier "float" sheets.
    I also noted when you said you were good friends until boys came along :)

  13. RV?? So that had to be high school. I had been thinking elementary for some reason. Well, being described as evil back then doesn't surprise me. I was major lost at the time and had no personality other than rude sarcasm. "What's changed?", I can hear you asking... :)

    And Lisa: well done. I relax just thinking about the swing.

  14. no personality other than rude sarcasm? That is not true. Geez, don't forget we were teenagers--nuff said.

  15. This makes me want to dig out all my old notes from friends!! Found you at The Suniverse! Love!

  16. thank you Sarcasm Goddess, you're very kind :) Yes, those highschool letters are GOLD now. Or maybe not, considering highschool sucked, but they sure are interesting.


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