I’m writing this post because I’m afraid I will do what I do every year, and forget the birthday of someone I love. Anyone who knows me knows that I am inordinately bad at remembering and contacting people on their birthdays, let alone sending a card or a gift.
When I was in first grade, I had a crush on a boy. (In retrospect, what the *&%#? My son is now in first grade.) Anyway, his name was Rodney. He was soooo cute. Little did I know, someone else in the class also had a crush on Rodney. We would play kissing tag, but if I was ever caught, I would just writhe and kick and never let anyone get to me. If I ever caught a boy, I would punch him and run away. It was great fun. So Karee hated me because I liked Rodney.
In second grade, Karee and I became best friends. I would walk the half mile to her house, which took about a month each way, and we would play all afternoon. When her mom married a man who lived a block away from me, our lifetime friendship was solidified. Karee and I grew up on the same street. Curiously, we only went to the same school until 4th grade, but that didn’t matter. We spent nearly every day together. We spent the weekend together. We watched “Somewhere in Time” possibly 9,000 times, while eating red vines and Chinese take-out from Smith’s.
Both of us had other friends, and separate lives, but we were still sisters.
There are some things that Karee and I still share, as a result of those formative years spent together. One of them is a freakish love of candy. She and I spent all our kid-money on penny candy. There were two special places we walked. Sam’s market, on the corner of 11th East and 13th South, was one of those tiny neighborhood markets that’s pretty much non-existent anymore. They had a big bowl of Swedish fish and another of raspberries. We’d dump out our pennies and count out the fish.
Jolley Drug was our other haunt. About a half mile away, across from the awesome 80s health food market, Jolley’s was a mini-chain, with two or three locations. They were pretty much like what CVS is now, except they also jumped onto the video rental bandwagon in the mid-80s. They sold those striped candy sticks for 10 cents, and those mini-boxes of Lemon Heads and Red Hots for the same. I think the only reason Karee and I didn’t become overweight was because we had to walk to those places.
Karee and I shared clothes. Really, she shared her clothes with me. I’ve never had a sense of fashion, and she always has. We did makeovers, listened to INXS and Chicago, she even cut my hair when I decided that I needed to go from waist-length to chin-length. We made peanut-butter candy. I was at her house often enough that her mom would come home sometimes and ask me to vacuum. We sat together in church and gave each other head massages.
We never had a crush on the same boy again. (Possibly owing to the fact that we were never acquainted with the same boys again.)
Karee moved away when we were 19. She got married and started a family, I went to school and traveled and couldn’t decide what to do with my life. She always called and came to visit when she was in Utah, and has always remembered my birthday. (I never actually forget the date, it just passes while my brain is swimming in the clouds. Can you forget those things that you learned as a child? I still remember her phone number from when we were kids.)
When my third child was being incubated, and I found out that she would be due on Karee’s birthday, I thought about how to incorporate her name into my own baby girl’s. In the end, I chose a name that’s pretty darn similar, with a transposition of the vowel sounds. Kiki wasn’t born on Karee’s birthday (but I have to admit that her coming on Friday the 13th of October has its charm).
Will this help me remember to call her on the 11th?