We get Jen two months in a row, as there are some changes ahead. She's here today to talk about her best friend and the fun they had as kids. I'm sure we can all relate!
Friends 'Til the End
If April showers bring May flowers, then I guess it’s still the month of April in Indiana. I’m not sure what the skies look like in your neck of the woods lately, but mine are dreary. I mean March-like grey days, perpetual raindrops falling; overwhelming icky-ness hovers in the air. C’mon summer, where art thou? I’ll tell you where summer is. It’s waiting to announce its arrival on May 20 at 3:30 PM. The last school bell will ring here enticing children and teachers alike to croon the Alice Cooper anthem, School’s Out For Summer. My children’s anticipation for no more pencils and no more books started churning my grey matter as I recalled my own summer vacations. I wanted to share one with you that rose above the others. Mostly because it was the summer I discovered I wanted to be Olivia Newton John; hot pants, hair, red heels, and all.
In 1978, with first grade officially under my belt, I became a Mud Rat. A proud moment for my parents as you can imagine. I joined the swim team at Centennial Beach in Naperville, Illinois where my inner fish could be released. Backstroke, freestyle, relays, Marco Polo—you name it, I loved it. During one early morning drive to practice, a thermos my mom had filled with coffee spilled onto my hand when our chocolate tinted Pontiac LeMans took a corner a little sharper than usual. This left me with second degree burns on my left hand and provided the important sympathy card I cashed in the rest of the summer. I procured it to see Grease in the theater four times, frequent visits to Grandma Gert’s candy shop, and racked up a nice stash of new Barbie dolls.
My best friend, Nancy, lived across the street from me. She loved Bonnie Bell lip gloss and Shawn Cassidy as much as I did. We played hopscotch, ate mac and cheese Mug-O-Lunches, jumped rope until sundown, and caught fireflies after dusk. A lanky blond who pinned her bangs back with barettes, Nancy was the youngest of three in her family. Her older brothers loved KISS, Farrah Fawcett, and torturing us until we tattled or screamed. Both effective ways to catch a break from them when we’d had enough. Being an only child, this concept of torturing siblings for sport was foreign to me.
We’re Capricorn sisters yet I relished being nine days older than Nancy. Being more mature time wise was a big deal when you were seven-years-old. We had our secret jokes, loved collecting Grease movie cards, and couldn’t get enough Fun Dip from the concession stand at her brother’s baseball games.
I remember those times as magical. Cutoff jean shorts and Charlie’s Angels T-shirts. Mosquito bites and pink tinted noses from long days of playing outside. Kool Aid drinking until we could drink no more. Endless summer days without a care in the world, except for parking in front of the TV in time to watch Happy Days.
A year later, when the moving van pulled away from our home overflowing with my family’s belongings, I remember thinking Connecticut was too far away. Too far to drive. Too far to comprehend. Too far from Nancy.
Yet here we are, years later, still the best of friends. We lost touch yet found out we were both attending the same university as undergrads. Years later, we both resided in Indianapolis. Not everyone has the chance to keep their childhood BFF in their life. I know how lucky I am. And as the years tick by, summers seem to breeze through at lightning speed, don’t you think?
As we ready ourselves for the dog days ahead, I encourage you to reflect on some of those precious times. The experiences, great and not so great, that were a part of your childhood. I’m just thankful I can remember them. I have a difficult enough time figuring out why I walk all the way upstairs in my home. The task I was taking on seems to escape me the minute I reach the top of the stairs.
Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of Salt. In September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at Twitter, Facebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.