We met when we were six and seven and grew up across the street from each other until I went to college. We were fast friends. We were part of one another’s families and our presence at either of the two houses was considered being home.
We had limitless imaginations and such conviction in our ideas, that never occurred to us we couldn’t pull off even the craziest of our schemes. My 9 and 11 year old are impressed with our adventures, but these are some of their favorites:
We were daring! My grandparents were very fancy…they had a garage door opener for their condo garage. And it was less than a half mile from our house. Katie and I, being extreme hooligans, hopped on our bikes and rode with the borrowed garage door opener to the condo. We opened the garage and pedaled away! (giggling with excitement and the fear of being busted) Oh yeah, and then we did it again!
We were Makers! The lemonade stand on the corner on Cottage and Grove was a staple of our summer plans. We were shrewd with our marketing. I’m certain that pretending to be customer and pretending to buy lemonade created buzz and demand for our Country Time sugary treat. We had only one failed venture. Our expansion into individual packets of condiments was a rare and dismal failure. It turns out people don’t want to buy relish or mustard on their drive home.
We were constructive! We could build a fort anywhere and out of just about anything. And we did. We had forts in our backyards, in other people’s backyards, under porches, and in people’s backyard sheds. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I saw neighborhood kids bringing a rolled up carpet through my yard and moving into my tent. I suppose it would be one thing if my kids were with them, but by themselves? And the fort / wall which we constructed out of snow across the entire street raises the most questions at my house. ” You stopped cars? You tried to charge tolls? You lied down in the fort on the road?” and “Your parents let you do that?”
These are just small bits of our adventures. There were roof tops and attics, trees climbed and holes dug, potions and plays made. And there was a lot of hopscotch.
For happy go lucky sorts of kids, Katie and I would transform into intensely competitive rivals in hopscotch. It would be all fun and good when we were in the easy stuff – the onsies, twosies, but but 7’s and 8’s – forget it. No mercy. If you were near the chalk line, you were done. By the end of a heated hopscotch match our friendship would dissolve. We’d stomp off to our own homes with screaming declarations of officially being enemies and “never, ever, being friends ever again!”
The next day, all would be forgiven or actually forgotten. We’d be best friends in the whole wide world like there was never a doubt. There were more adventures. There was a lot more hopscotch.
March 7 is Katie’s (aka sister Kate) birthday. And every year on this day I think about how lucky I am to have these amazing memories and stories and how joyful we were. I also think about all the other things that happened in our lives along the way in each of our childhoods. Having my best friend in the whole world right across the street always made me feel okay and normal – even when things weren’t.