for some reason lately, i've been remembering my best friend from childhood. it's a rite of passage to have that one FIRST best friend, the one that you brag to everyone you meet, "THIS is MY best friend."
her name was angelique michelle litten, but everyone called her angel. i met her the summer that i turned six when my family returned to suburban indianapolis from our summer place on lake michigan. the evening that we got back was always a time when my older brother and i would wander the neighborhood... seeing what had changed, who had lost teeth, what new toys our friends had gotten. a summer away from home is an eternity to a kid, and we had to get back in the loop before school started. as i walked in front of richard jackson's house, i saw a girl being tied to a tree with jumpropes. i didn't recognize her, but was so desperate for friends that i told her captors to untie her since they weren't being nice to the new girl. "oh, no, i LIKE it!" she proclaimed with a big grin.
now, i had met lots of different kids, but this one was an enigma. first of all, she had been born in a foreign land... ALASKA! how romantic was that? and she was a TWIN! the stuff of novels to a six year old. but most of all, she lived 2 doors down and she wanted to be friends with ME... incomprehensible to someone a year and a half younger than she.
although she only lived in that house for a year, then moved aaaaaallllll the way to the other side of the elementary (a huge distance to me at 7, but going back there now, it was no more than 1/4 of a mile), we were inseparable for several years to come. my best memories of her are on vacation... she frequently joined our family on trips to my grandma's house, and to the summer cottage. one time at my grandma's, we thought we were so sassy and dressed exactly alike for church. we giggled and whispered about the little girl that said about us, "them two girls are TWINS!"
we were probably a great nuisance to our parents since we were constantly asking them to judge one of our myriad of contests. a drawing contest, a coloring contest, a dance contest, a swinging contest. my dad had hung swings in our basement when we were kids, so we would come up with elaborate "swing routines" and gather the troops to watch us perform.
one time we nearly drove a babysitter to tears with our taunts... her name was wendy, and we kept singing jingles from wendy's restaurant commercials. for hours. all night long. such evil little girls.
she moved away in middle school to a town not too far away, but we had drifted as friends by that point... always staying in touch, but never really close again. she came to see me when i returned after a year in l.a. when i was 20, and even met t at that time. she came to our wedding in 1995, but that was the last i heard from her. i've googled her name and come up empty.
all the photos of us together are on slide (yes SLIDE) archives at my folks' house. maybe someday i'll find a funny picture of us and have it printed so i can remember the good old years of my best friend from childhood.
did you have a best friend, too?