Childhood memories

Some people are able to remember everything about growing up. Unfortunately for me, I am not one of those. I blocked a lot of them out, so consequently what I have is a kaleidoscope of images, feelings, and names, and am never sure if they match, are true, or, are wishful. Moving so often growing up was not good for my soul. In order to protect it, my brain erased (for lack of a better word) the experience of the “before” when we moved to the “next”. I guess to protect the soul from hurt. Early on one learns that “we’ll keep in touch” is just a polite saying, and that “I’ll never forget you” is just one way of saying “goodbye”.

Now as I enter the last quarter of my life, I have plenty of time to try to sort of the shards of memories like an archeologist with numbered bits that eventually will become a vase. I conjured up an image of an early adolescent friend. I remembered loving her and her family for many reasons, mostly connected with their “exotic” to my family’s “staid and practical”. We had no distinct regionalism in our ways, speech or food. They were from the south, proud, loyal, and had the distinctive “accent” (my mother’s word, and SHE had an accent, albeit German). My friend’s parents were older than mine (again if I remember correctly), and doted on her. She was their southern princess, and the family exhibited southern charm and breeding, something out of a Tennessee Willliams’ Novel (or so it seemed). My family was obsessed with practicality, rules, and stress levels of meeting the outside expectations of life.

My new friend had a dog, a car, and was dainty,feminine and fair. I was without a pet (too impractical), too young to drive (and in fact didn’t drive until 23), and clunky, brash, and dark (including my mood).
My memories of our friendship are clouded in laughing and being a passenger in her car. (was it a white convertible mustang?).

What I did remember was her name, and where she came from in the south, and where she boldly said to me she was going to go to college when she got “home” to the “states”. I had no “home” in the states and as for college, my parents thought that was impractical for a girl, so they and I made no plans, other than perhaps going to the University of Maryland’s extension college in Europe somewhere vague. After all, “your father’s in the army, and you don’t know where you will be when you graduate high school” was the prevailing sentiment.

My friend knew exactly what her plans would be. And thank G*d she did, because those goals were so ingrained in MY head, I was able to find her on the internet, and we have reconnected, and are catching up. We are exchanging the “nows” of our lives. Hopefully in due time she will be able to fill in the blanks about the “thens”.


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