Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy birthday, old frenemy!

Recent entries on this blog would suggest that I'm a huge proponent of change. Well, that's certainly true at the global level, but on a more personal level, I continue to be astonished by the miracle of things that don't change--or rather, change so gradually and so organically that their growth can easily escape your notice.

It's been at least thirty years since Christina, Kristin, and I first met at Mrs. Wilcox's house, where fifth- and sixth-grade band members from our hometown's three elementary schools practiced during the Carter-era energy crisis. The public schools were operating on what they dubbed the "Viking Schedule," which basically meant that the physical school buildings were closed for weeks at a time during winter, and all extracurricular activities--like the band--were farmed out to willing homeowners, god love them.

Christina and I struck up an acquaintance that blossomed into a full-blown adolescent "frenemy-ship" when we all started attending the same junior high the following year. Specifically, Christina and I became enmeshed in a (mostly!) friendly competition to see who could get the highest grade in Mr. Chappelle's 7th-grade English class. At the end of the year, I learned that Christina was going to London on a family trip, which prompted me to write the following letter:


Wow, was I a bossy 12-year-old, or what? This letter goes on for quite awhile, providing specifics about the charm in question and hypothesizing about several other scenarios that might play out with the $5/London/charm mission. You may recall that Christina has served as the official friendship archivist for these 30 years. On the occasion described in the preceding link, she re-gifted me with the "charming" letter you see here, which I remembered but hadn't seen since I sent it. It ends as it begins:


Though I can't find it, I'm pretty sure I still have the postcard that Christina sent me in reply: a photo of the chopping block in the Tower of London, bloody hatchet and all, with a note reading "Wish you were here so I could chop your head off," or something along those lines. Needless to say, after this epistolary exchange, a life-long friendship was born.

So, Christina, a very happy birthday to you! Here's to at least another three decades of accumulated memories.

4 comments:

Erica said...

*wow*... stuff like this (plenty of which is found in my own childhood) is why I always laugh when people claim girls are so much nicer than boys :)

Christy said...

In a funny bit of serendipity, Christina's name (at least I assume it's the same Christina) came up in conversation *this very morning!* I ran into a neighbor who offered me a ride downtown to work. We got to chatting, and it turns out she went to Miami of Ohio from 1980-1984. Am I remembering right that Christina also went to school there, and overlapped by at least a year? Hope so, because if not I told an egregious lie.

Anyway, many happy returns, Christina. And kudos to you for keeping evidence that as hip as we all may seem today, we--astonishingly!--were all closet dorks.

Jane Kokernak said...

What a great archival item.
Coincidentally, in a conversation I had with one of my daughters over the weekend, she was explaining "hate friends" and "frenemies" to me. The context was a movie we had just seen, in which best friends (a man and a woman), were always badgering each other. At the end, of course, they fall in love. I told Grace, my daughter, that I had mixed feelings about the movie: why did they even get together? they were mean to each other. She said, "They're hate friends. They show each other love by being rough." Hmmm. But, maybe so. Am guilty of this myself occasionally, and I'm not 12 ! (Btw, Rosemary, I'm so impressed that your 12-year-old self properly used "you're.")

Rose said...

Christy, this is indeed that Christina, and she did go to Miami, though she would amend that by emphasizing that she was part of the recently (and sadly) defunct Western College program there.

BTW, you may have been a "closet dork," but I'm afraid my dork-flag was un-closet-able, and still is. :^)

Jane, "Hate friends" is a new one on me--interesting! I hate that cinematic cliche too, though.

As for "you're," what amazes me is I got that right but couldn't spell "bracelet" or "rotten." Duh.