Monday, September 19, 2011

Remembering Fourth Grade at Forty-Three

For Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fourth grade year brought many challenges. When my parents decided to move from the house where I’d lived for my first nine years to a home across town, it was necessary for me to move to a new elementary school also. For the first time I was looked at with scrutiny rather than being just “one of the guys” who had grown up with everyone in my class. At my new school I was placed in an advanced reading group and I felt intimidated by the eye rolls and comments from fifth grade girls in my group who indeed had to wonder who exactly was this “new kid” being promoted to the fifth grade for reading and who was being so kindly praised by their teachers. If things could not be more uncomfortable, fourth graders also began square dancing with the boys! Just when I thought I would run away from home to return to my old neighborhood to hide out forever, a girl named Carolyn entered my life. She was a godsend. Easy to befriend, Carolyn had a sweet smile and sharing the same silly sense of humor, the two of us quickly fell into fits of giggles, time and time again.

Through the rest of elementary school and even into middle school when I was reunited with friends from my old school, our friendship was strong. We roomed together at music camp, began riding bikes around town together, and made up creative games which we played for hours. Time with “CG” was always easy going and full of laughter. Whether we were talking about boys or doing our Howie Mandel impersonations, we frequently giggled so much that we lost our breath.

In high school, Carolyn and I remained friends, but we spent less time with one another due to friendships with others and our different interests. Carolyn became quite an athlete while I threw myself into more and more music and theater groups. Still, we came together at concerts, show choir competitions, and plays.

Today is Carolyn’s 43rd birthday. Although I have been 43 years old since March, there is a funny feeling I have thinking today that Carolyn is this age. I realize we all grow older and I have surely seen Carolyn over the years at various times, but when I think of Carolyn I still imagine her as that little blonde nine year old girl with the cute smile and the adorable giggle. She was a friend who set my world right again and who offered me a warm hand of friendship when I needed it the most.

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