Tuesday, January 4, 2011
My Childhood Garden
My first friend, Mary-Kay, was the daughter of my Mom's best friend. She was a few years older than I, and I was always so happy to receive a box of her hand-me-downs every season. My Mom and I would go through the box as though we were opening a treasure chest. I'd immediately pick out my favorite dress and insist on wearing it the very next day.
But my closest friends in my early childhood years were the neighbors who lived on my street: Peter, Dougie, Amy, Suzanne, and a few years later when I could travel a few additional blocks by foot and/or bike, Cheryl and Maureen. These were the people who came with me on my greatest adventures as we rode our bikes, sang and played on the swingset, made mudpies, or traveled through numerous games of make-believe. Peter and Dougie helped me get grounded for the very first (and believe it or not, LAST) time in my life. You see, Dougie lived around the corner and that was out of my Mom's range of vision. Still, on one rebellious day I dared to see if I could get away with following my boy friends to Dougie's. Little did I know that my Mom was watching me. She even saw me stop to do a double take to see if she was being vigilant. I lost my bike for two long weeks.
Amy was the beauty who lived across the street. Amy had the gorgeous fringed dance costumes that I adored. And then there was Suzanne. Suzanne was an awful lot of fun to have as a friend. She was agreeable to almost any crazy imaginative game I came up with, and she thought I was hilarious. I most remember making her laugh and enjoying being the funny friend.
Times with Cheryl and Maureen cannot be summed up in a sentence or two, but I will say that I don't think I'll ever forget my earliest years with them. Cheryl and I continue to be the best of friends, 35 years after our first meeting, and Maureen and I remain in touch too. I don't see either of them often enough.
Elizabeth Lawrence once wrote, “There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again". It's true. My childhood's enchanted garden, full of wonderful colorful friends, was on a beautiful avenue named Katahdin.