I am realizing that it is rewarding to group my childhood experiences into topics and themes. So now I feel drawn to recall my memories of dear friends, which there were many.
I don’t remember many friends before I went to Muncie, Indiana, when I was in the third grade. The only one was Rebecca. I don’t remember much–but I remember her name.
Even now, I clearly remember all the good friends in Muncie, Indiana. I have always felt grateful to have lived in San Diego area, but being born in Lafayette, Indiana, and then returning to Muncie at age 8, gave me three years each of a huge blessing–uninterrupted time with my father. You see, since he was in the Navy, he was often gone “to sea” for 9 months at a time. So for me to have him with me during those special times in my life was a blessing.
Peter and Eddie were my buddies because I was definitely a tomboy and loved to play boy stuff. We would play catch for hours–either foot ball or baseball. I can’t remember what other activities we did, but I clearly recall them being kind, gentle, and fun. My friends, Jan and Deborah, were cousins. They would often invite me over to their homes to play. Dixie lived closer than anyone. I would just go to the end of our acre yard and her house was right there. She wasn’t my favorite friend–but she was close and accessible, so I imagined we played a lot together.
One of the things I did with friends and siblings was to play in the woods between the next house and hours. The woods were only about 20 or 30 feet wide and about 100 feet long. But to us it seemed like we were in a forest. I remember playing pioneer, making our wagon into a covered wagon. We also made beds out of pine needles.
My very best friend was Karen. She was small, slender, with beautifully rosy cheeks and jet black straight hair. I did not associate with her much outside of school for some reason, and we were almost inseparable playing hopscotch, four square and tether ball during recess and lunch breaks. I still remember just feeling so much love for her, and I would very much like to know what it was that made her and her older sister, Christie, so special. Christie played the clarinet, and I remember wanting to play the clarinet because I liked Christie so much.
When I left Muncie at the end of the fifth grade, I had a really hard time because I had made a lot of friends, and our neighborhood was just teeming with all kinds of things to do–like collect pop bottles for money, go sledding and ice skating in the winter, selling ice cream social tickets to the dorm students, and playing in our great back yard. I also organized at least one neighborhood festival. Our school always had a Halloween event, and the city as I mentioned sponsored an annual Christmas sing.
Now I just remembered my best friend in the 6th grade. Lucy Rodriquez. Wow! I actually remember her last name. She was not Hispanic–but I think was Filipino. Seems like I spent the night with her at either my house or hers almost every weekend. I recall that she loved the Beatles, and I loved Hermans Hermits and the Monkeys. But we still got along!
I think it was around this same time that we lived in an amazing neighborhood in National City. It was on a hill, and there was no reason for anyone to go into this neighborhood unless they lived there. Thus, the roads were quiet and safe. We lived near a family, the Robisons. I still remember their name because there was no “n” in the name. They had horses. I remember Tumbleweed, Eddie, and their big sister. We played after school just about every day. There was another little girl I am remembering. Seems like her mother was an alcoholic, but I did not know about such things then–I just knew something wasn’t quite right.
We had to move from this beautiful house and wonderful neighborhood when the 805 freeway took our house and many others, as well as making it into a very noisy neighborhood. I lost a lot of friends and a nurturing place. From then on, I never lived in a neighborhood that was as close and connected. I think that those memories must have been rekindled when, about 15 years ago, I found out about how important neighborhoods could be to help heal people and bring them together to cooperate. I have had a hunger to help neighborhoods become thriving, self-reliant communities which I now do not focus on so much–but it is still there.
In Junior High, I had a lot of close friends. They were all in the honors society, and got even better grades than I did–and I got all A’s and B’s. Lois was a straight A student, and I think Patty Forbes was also. Joyce was very smart, and so was Dolores Flores. I recently met Dolores Flores after not connecting for about 43 years. She has an amazing memory, and reminded me that we were in the same English class with Miss Miller in the 7th grade.
Jerry Santos was a really great friend. He was an amazing musician playing baritone saxiphone. I could write a whole blog post just about him.
Yes, stories about friends take up more time than I have right now. I feel grateful that I had such good friends who had very positive influence on me through high school and college. When I was in college, though, I got away from most of my good friends, and I think I wasn’t a very good influence on the friends I was hanging with.
But that is another story.
thanks for reading this. I would love to hear your response to my stories, and hope that you will write your own as a legacy to give your children, as well as a way to tune into being grateful. And perhaps re-awakening talents and goals and passions that have been for whatever reason suppressed.