Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Childhood Friends

I was thinking about a question I read somewhere
I don't remember the exact wording but it was something like :
What book represents or reminds you of your childhood.
So here is a question I pose to you....
What Book (or movie) most represents your interaction with your childhood friends?

My answer is The Body (aka Stand By Me) for my book choice or Then and Now for my movie choice.

Why The Body?
To me the body was more then about the boys going out in search of the body of a dead neighborhood kid. It was about exceptance and adventure. It was about finding friends you could count on and being able to just be yourself.

Growing up I had two great friends Kathleen and Karen. They are sisters Kathleen my age and Karen one year younger then us. Their grandmother lived two houses away from the house I grew up in. Which is how we met Kathleen and I just toddlers thrown together by our mothers probably so they could have a minute to themselves. We ended up attending the same Catholic elementary school and our friendship grew within those walls during the winter months when we only saw each other during those school hours.
I picked this book because it is set in the summer and when we were growing up....
 the summers belonged to us!
Everything about us changed in the summer. We had no school worries. No thoughts of not fitting in. Our parents barely existed in our summer world. We were the queens of the neighborhood.
Summer Life was an adventure to be had and it seemed to stretch on forever.
Back then all we had was our imagination and we made up games, invented danger, drama and ways to scare ourselves. Behind the house Kathleen and Karen shared with their mother and five brothers and sisters was a tall stone wall. It rose at least ten feet high but back then it was like looking up at a sky scarper. Their house sat low on a hill so the top of that wall on the other side was only waist high. To access the other side of the wall you had to go down an alley between two houses.
We were not supposed to go there.
We were not supposed to sit on the wall.
We definitely were not supposed to slip over the wall and climb down into their backyard.
But we did
And we always got caught...a ratting sibling...a big mouthed neighbor....

Like The Body our adventures involved camping out.
We lived in the city so we slept in sleeping bags on small patches of backyard grass or laid across wooden front porches. Also like The Body my older brother made it his goal to torment us as much as possible without getting caught by my mother.
We were inseparable. We were the keepers of each others deepest secrets and darkest fears.
 I never felt left out by not being their sister.
Our story doesn't involve the discovery of a dead body
Although we did think we killed my little brother once
We blamed Karen
Every summer we found ourselves. We were brave, smart and funny. Slowly we started to carry that confidence into the school year. And when we forgot we had each other to help us remember.
The Body ends with with the friends going their separate ways and sadly all but Gordy die young.
Our story ends happier
We all have families now and although we don't see each other very often we can still count on each other
 They were both there for me when my Dad died 14 years ago.
And I hope they felt my love and support when their Mom died last May.
My children know their names and have heard the stories of our adventures.

We are legends if only in my own mind!

So how about you?


Author Dawn Brazil said...

Gosh, I can't think of any now. I moved far from where I grew up originally, so I don't see them often. We try to catch up with phone calls, and Facebook. My college friends are the ones I'm super close with. While in school I would describe us as "The Sex in the City" gals but now, with hubby's and kids we're more like "Steel Magnolias"...we always have each others back. No matter what. Great Post.

Unknown said...

Great post!!!!! I think about the Sweet Potato Queens, the Tammies. The loyalty the friends had for each other... amazing the way they had each other's backs! (Love the photo, too!) :-)

Andrew Leon said...

I would have to go with Stand By Me (I've never read The Body, so I have to go with the movie) and Bridge To Terabithia (the book (because the movie failed to... capture the book). I've always resonated with Stand By Me. And I think the death of the friends is really just a metaphor for how we lose touch with them. It creates the same sort of sense of loss in us. Sometimes, even if we still know them as adults. There's this episode of Leave It To Beaver where some friend (maybe Whitey?) he'd had when he was several years younger but had moved away was coming back for a visit. They had great plans to do all the things they had loved doing together when they had been friends, but none of those things were fun anymore. It's like that; we can never re-capture those moment.

Samantha Sotto said...

I think it's lovely that you've stayed connected with your childhood friends (and that your story didn't end like The Body did! Phew!) The book that reminds me of my life in general (I can't think of one specifically for my childhood. Hmm...Harry Potter? I WISH. LOL) is Hope for the Flowers. I was pretty driven in my past life as a marketing exec, but like Stripe, I realized what was on top of my Caterpillar Pillar. :)

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