by Jen on March 29, 2011

This post was inspired by a memoir prompt from The Red Dress Club.  The assignment was to write about kindergarten.

New dress.  New shoes.  New gray and pink backpack.  I stood at the base of the biggest elm tree in our shaded front yard while my mother forever captured this moment on film.  She’d taken extra time with the blow dryer this morning and had turned my long brown hair into silken perfection.  I posed with pride.

Kindergarten, HERE. I. COME.
I’d already met my teacher.  In fact, she’d also been the kindergarten teacher to both my mother and my father.  Plus, I liked to learn.  My parents had made a game out of education from the very start, making school seem hardly itimidating.  And finally, and most importantly, Casey was going to be in my class.  And she was already my best friend.  Awesome.
Six months my elder, Casey was God.  She had the perfect matching headbands and jellies.  She had freckles.  Oh, I can’t tell you how badly I wanted freckles.  She had fancy Barbies and scented stickers, and expired, but REAL credit cards to play with.  She was bossy and assertive, and I idolized her for every bit of it.
Having her in my kindergarten class made for an instant clique and gave me a built in ally.  Together, we took on the play kitchen and the teeter totter.  We bartered white milk for chocolate.  We learned the joy of graham crackers in the afternoon and show and tell in the morning.  We became familiar with stubby fingers positioned on fat pencils that wrote wobbly letters on Big Chief tablets.  We crouched in the head lice infested coat closet, where we giggled at the expense of our loving teacher, calling her Mrs. Blanken”shit” instead of Mrs. Blankenship.
I’d known Casey my whole life, but kindergarten is where we truly became partners.  Fast forward 24 years, and she stood beside me while I vowed to love George forever.  Still freckled and assertive, with four beautiful children popping the heads off of her formerly fancy Barbies.  I enjoy her more now than ever.  Instead of sharing tiny cartons of milk and graham crackers, we share secrets and recipes.  We still participate in show and tell, only now we talk about careers and children and their stubby fingers positioned on fat pencils writing wobbly letters.  She still whispers “shit” as she has tiny, absorbent ears waiting to take naughty words to their own coat closets at school.  Nosey boogers.
In 50 years, she will still be my ally.  She will still be freckled and assertive.  She will still have four beautiful children, and a heart full of grandchildren and possibly great granchildren.  We will still share milk and graham crackers, and secrets and recipes.  Our show and tell will be about our book club and crafts made from stubby, arthritic fingers positioned on wobbly knitting needles.  We will be giggling old ladies, telling stories about the head lice infested coat closets and the beloved Mrs. Blanken”shit”.  Only now we won’t whisper the cuss words.  Because we will be too old and will be laughing too hard to know the difference.  And just like in kindergarten, she will still be my best friend.
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Galit Breen March 29, 2011 at 3:43 am

Oh sweet friend, you threaded this memory beautifully with the magic of friendship.Words like silken perfection, idolized, head lice infested closet were so well chosen!And those last lines really brought out the warmth of your memories and this piece.


2 BalancingMama (Julie March 29, 2011 at 4:30 am

I have a friend like this! Friends since age two. I really enjoyed this post. I could see you two in kindergarten, and now.


3 amygrew March 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

This is such a great story! I love the progression! You can feel how strong your friendship is through your writing.I love this line:She will still have four beautiful children, and a heart full of grandchildren and possibly great grandchildren. Love it!


4 Debra Ann Elliott March 29, 2011 at 9:08 am

A great memory


5 Nicole March 29, 2011 at 9:42 am

OOOH Jen – what an amazing post! I giggled at the mention of Big Chief tablets. Man – I bet you and your friend were an intimidating clique for us shy kids.. LOL


6 Adelle March 29, 2011 at 10:30 am

This made me remember: "She had the perfect matching headbands and jellies. She had freckles. Oh, I can't tell you how badly I wanted freckles."I wanted braces because Judy had braces, and Judy was bossy and assertive and IT.How lovely to have friends with that kind of history!


7 I write March 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Hi Jen! I found you on the link up. I enjoyed taking this trip back in time. What a great memory and life story!


8 Anonymous March 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Love love love it!a.t.


9 Elaine A. March 30, 2011 at 8:44 am

I love how long you've been friends and how you plan to continue on into your older years. I got chills with that last paragraph. Very sweet!


10 Jenna March 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I love the sweet beginning of friendship here and how you wove it into your present and future!!


11 Rebel Chick March 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

What a great piece. I wish I had friends that I've known forever!


12 andygirl March 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm

completely lovely. I wish my brain was working better so I could give you some concrit, but I enjoyed this. I fell in love with your friendship and your young worship of your friend. so much love.


13 Maggie Smith March 30, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Jen, that is a great post and couldn't be more accurate about Casey! You both are amazing….


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