When I was their age, I wrote in homemade diaries, I noticed boys and hung out with Lynn at the schoolyard on Tuesday evenings to watch the town's marching band practice. I got my ears pierced and my period. I started babysitting. The extraordinarily compassionate Jack Barnes was my teacher at Amherstburg Public School. Thank goodness, because it was the only time in my life I was not self-assured.
We went roller skating at the Amherstburg arena over the summer and wore homemade halter tops tied around the neck with shoestrings. I wore eyeshadow for the first time; it would have been blue. We still listened to CKLW AM radio, and the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family were still the shows to watch on Friday night.
And funny – looking back on the movie screen in my mind, those days were always sunny.
Paige and Elaine on the cusp of teenagerhood: beautiful thing number 47.
It’s December 1st. Today is the birthday of one of the most important people in my life – my oldest (though younger than me) pal, Lynn.
Lynn is the most loyal friend you could ask for. We first met in kindergarten, and we're still like sisters today. She moved with her family to a city about 30 minutes away from our town just as we finished our first year of high school, but ever since then, despite those gaps in time – some larger, some smaller – we never let go of each other. And the best thing about us is that, EVERY SINGLE TIME we’ve got together, particularly after those longer gaps, we’ve marvelled at how comfortable and real it is together. Like time has evaporated.
Lynn, I know we’ll be still finding those times after the gaps when we’re 80. I can’t remember life without you pal. I can remember you and your girly sniffing into a hankie when you fretted about how you were going to get home from school on the first day of kindergarten. You still talk about that time a year later when I announced in grade one that my sister Jane was born.
I remember us mostly in the seventies. When CKLW ran Top 40 songs over the AM waves to our little radios – people like Paul McCartney and Wings, Gordon Lightfoot, Mac Davis, Terry Jacks and Elton John. I remember when we both had bedrooms covered in orange wallpaper. I can still hear the sound of the spoon stirring the tea when your mom brewed us a pot after school.
I remember when we stole a couple of cigarettes from your mom’s Rothman’s pack and took them and “smoked” them behind our school before the weekly watching of the Amherstburg Band practice. I remember both of our first kisses. I remember that we both got our periods two months after our 12th birthdays. When we had sleepovers at your house on a Friday night, we got to have coke and Lays chips. When we had sleepovers at my house, we had under-the-broiler grilled cheese sandwiches.
Happy birthday sister-friend. I hope you had a good day. If we don’t see each other real soon – I know we’ll both be comfortable in the knowing that when we do, it’ll be as fun and familiar as it ever was.