My sister Micki had an assortment of friends about on a par with the Whitman’s Sampler box of candy, except hers was heavier on the nuts. Knot-head Mixon lived a couple of doors down and she was a typical over-indulged, spoiled only child of older parents. Her mom and dad probably weren’t as old as I remember them, but older than my parents and that, in anybody’s book, is OLD. Judy Kay, Knot-head’s given name, came to play every darned day, all summer long. It got to a point where she was in our bedroom more often than in her own and she chattered incessantly. It wasn’t that she occupied so much space as that her Texas-twang wore on my very last nerve.
Then there was Sara. The Shrefflers lived a few doors even further down the street but Sara had the added disadvantage of having a younger brother who was my brother’s good friend, so both of them amounted to a plague in my otherwise-very-important life. Sara played a mean game of hopscotch but she couldn’t draw the graph required for the game worth a doodley-doo so I was forever being called upon to re-draw the previous game’s boxes.
Chubby little Bonnie was a dimpled blonde friend that Micki consulted every evening to make their wardrobe decisions for the next school day. I refused to walk with them the day they appeared wearing purple skirts with yellow blouses and red socks. They giggled inanely all the way from home to school. Bonnie was only marginally better than the Saunders sisters. Happily, only Dottie was old enough to fit into the Sampler box but if we were going ice skating or to the swimming pool, often as not, Kathy had to drag along. By the time they were in junior high, Dottie’s mother allowed her to have a real boy-girl birthday party. Micki had her first crush on a cute kid that Dottie had invited but, as it turned out, a new girl in school also liked this boy, and Dottie had invited her to the party. Micki was crushed. I haven’t spoken to Dottie Saunders since, and would have smacked her a good one then if my dad had not threatened to ground me for life if I did. I’d smack her a good one now if I saw her, unless she can out run me, which isn’t too difficult anymore. Never underestimate the love of an older sister!
So, to catch you up on just these few: Knot-head graduated Summa Cum Laude from Louisiana State University with two degrees and moved to Alaska to work with wildlife. Sara is a very well-known artist who now lives in Santa Fe and is curator for a famed hotel’s fine art collection. I’ve lost track of Bonnie, but she’s probably a fashion designer. More joyously, I know where to find Dottie but use that information to avoid her. And two of her ex-husbands are “friends” on my Facebook page. We compare notes. The evil we create lives after all else is forgotten.
Both of my brothers had equally disturbing collections of friends through grade school and into high school. Some are still around but they mostly avoid stopping by if I’m visiting one or the other of the brothers. I was, however, fond of Duh-Richie, another genius who hid his light under the bushel basket and the Courtney brothers who seemed bent on launching my brother Lonny into a life of crime. They also stuffed my younger brother, Steve, up a chute at the ice plant to bring down free ice for their camping trips: his price for admission, so to speak. At the time, I’d have smacked them, too, but they’ve always been able to run faster.
But Phillip was my very favorite. He’d saunter into the bathroom, glass of water in hand (his reason for coming into the house in the first place) while I was in the tub with a good book and ask, “Can Stevie play?” “No, Phillip, he’s not home.” “Well, can you play?” OUT, out, damned spot!!!