Have you ever tried to recall the first time you met a friend? Maybe I’m alone in this, but sometimes when traffic is moving along slowly and the radio isn’t engaging me I start thinking about various people in my life and I try to remember that first time we met. Some people just always seem to have been in my life, while there are a handful of folks where I remember the moment.
Like my friend DeAnne (or HRH DeAnne, her preferred title). The first time I remember meeting her was when she walked by and dropped her business card on my desk – a lavender thing with a border that I want to say had maybe a floral pattern (I may be misremembering that bit). What caught my eye was what it said in bold type: “DeAnne X” followed by “Queen of Everything” (err, the X is obviously not her last name, but I don’t think she wants you dropping by her house and genuflecting, which you would feel compelled to do). How could I possibly NOT like someone who had a card like that?
But for the most part, the rest of my friends are just blurs of early images. Anna coming back to the dorm early during the Christmas holidays and flinging her stuff on the TV room floor – Jonathan being briefed on our first RA assignment at the dorm where we were supposed to keep the rabble from tossing kegs on the passing UT football parade (the annual parade had been re-routed in previous years because of keg tossing issues from our dorm) – quiet April (so you know the memory is very old) – escaping from a goofy Jr. High slumber party with Julie in the middle of the night – Seth showing up in English where they announced he was from the exotic land of Canada (look, I hadn’t traveled out of Texas at that point and Canada seemed really cool – Canadian friends, I mean “Canada IS very cool” *cough*), but then there’s my friend Ernie. I remember the day we met quite vividly.
Mom and I had just moved from Dallas (remember Dallas > Houston) and it was the last few weeks of second grade. Ernie was assigned to be my guide that day. He showed me around the school, took me to my class and then waited for me after school to make sure I got on the right day care shuttle. Ern failed to get through my head that there were two shuttle pick-ups, so when he went off in the first one, I had a panic attack where I sat against the wall, freaked out and hoped everything would work out.
Poor Ernie, after that I followed him everywhere to the point that the day care staff would try to put a foot down and declare. “No, Beth. You may not follow Ernie to the bathroom.” (I just wanted to sit outside and continue to blather at him and haha to them, I did win that battle. Lucky Ern! No escape!) If there was Ern, there was me close on his heels gabbing away. (I used to be more gregarious.) I made him play all of my stupid made up games. I made him dig elaborate tunnels for army men in the sandbox and I probably even made him listen to show tunes when we were allowed to bring records to day care. (I can be somewhat relentless and somewhat overwhelming when I like someone.) The guy really had no peace.
It’s funny. I’ve listened to Ern tell stories about what he was like as a kid. He’ll talk about being apart from the other kids – somewhat aloof and very studious, which is all very true. But I remind him of playing “Bonnie and Clyde” or our amazing bus scraps which usually involved someone drawing blood and he’ll smile and say, “you brought out the worst in me”. I like to think that’s called “grounding” someone.
Do you remember the day we met?