Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Just when I think I'm all totally grown up and able to clean out my closets and basement and purge my life of extraneous crap, I run into something I've been saving since sixth grade. And I can't throw it away. It's a note that was somehow intercepted by my friend Russell who got it from his friend Mike.
Background: I had a huge crush on Dan (the subject of the note) since fourth grade. We were good friends because in spite of the fact that I talked a lot, I also listened. So that made me the confidant of almost all the boys because they could tell me with whom they wanted to go steady or were going to ask to go steady (whatever that meant!) and up with whom they were breaking. (I'm pretty proud that I did not end that sentence with a preposition. Where are you Mr. Scheckler?)
ANYway, Katy and Martha were two girls in my class who were best friends. What I remember about Martha is that she talked about how she put her pubic hair in doll hair curlers. What I remember about Katy is that she had beautiful handwriting. They too had a crush on Dan until THIS NOTE.
In case you can't read it:
Don't tell Dan Our dreams. You can tell him we are loseing [sic] interest in him because he doesn't like us anymore and he loves Debbie Jarvis. We would like him if he liked us. (Tell us what he says!) We would tell you more but its [sic] embarrasing [sic]("forget it" is crossed out). Don't show any body [sic] this note, please.
From, Martha and Katy F.
I remember getting such a thrill when I read that. He loves Debbie Jarvis? He loves me? He loves me?
Of course everyone saw this note including Dan and that's when he stopped talking to me. He mostly talked to me about "loving" Nancy G., but now he didn't want anyone to think he "loved" me. But for one day I believed that I was the object of his affection. I read that note over and over. And in a very weird way, reading it now still thrills me, but for a different reason.
It thrills me because I can see how from the beginning, as far back as I can remember, kids, people liked to talk to me about their secrets, their desires, their hopes, their fears. This is pretty much what I do now, just be a friend and listen. I hated this in Jr. High because I wanted a boyfriend, not a "friend" friend. Thank God I went to a different high school from my childhood friends. Nobody at the new high school knew I was the girl who was "just a friend" to all the guys---although that's how High School turned out too.
This note takes on a special poignancy because a couple months ago I reconnected with an elementary school friend who let me know that another boy on whom I had a crush was still living in the area. He married his high school sweetheart and she had just had a recurrence of cancer. I immediately sent them a copy of my book. But last night I found out that she is dying and has just entered the hospice program.
How can this be? I can only see him and his wife as Jr. High school students and Jr. High kids don't die of cancer. News Flash, Jarv: You're not in Jr. High school anymore. My friend requested prayers for them. So of course I will pray for them, that they would have courage, and peace and comfort and ease.
I'm keeping that note and I love that forty years later I can still be a "friend" friend and offer up prayers. I wouldn't want it any other way.