Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Small World, Big Memories

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of supporting a friend.  I met this friend in January of this year.  We have the same non-Lyme passion of early childhood education.  I knew God had big plans for her from the very first day we met.  Long story short, she's the director of a new child care center that's faith based.  They haven't had their first official day, but yesterday was open house.  She asked me a few weeks ago if I would be interested in coming up and having dinner afterwards with our former professor (now friend).  I typically say I probably can and then health reasons lead me to cancel.  I said I probably could and waited for the other shoe to drop.  Although I didn't feel my best, I put on my big girl britches (yes I said britches) and drove out to the boondocks (yes I said boondocks) to see my friend get her groove on at her open house. 

When I meet new people for the first time, I can be awkwardly shy.  I'm not sure if they notice and it maybe that I only feel awkward on the inside. This was going to be a night of awkwardly shy.  I knew it, but I also knew that I would at least know two people there and once you get to know me good luck getting me to be quiet if I'm feeling chatty.  I was there for quite some time and had spoken with the associate pastor several times.   At one point, we were alone in the hallway and he asked me where I was from.  Well, the funny thing around here is that most people are "from" somewhere else.  So I simply use my two word answer, "North Carolina."  He said he realized that, but where in North Carolina. 

It's at this point I have to really dig down and think.  It was obvious he knew I wasn't from the county I live in (those born and raised here in this county have a most definitive accent), but what do I say because it's kind of a story.  Well, I decided to be honest because well I was in a church and I was speaking to a pastor.  So I blurt out that I'm from ( J - - - - - - ) until I moved to ( O - - - - -) and then I went to Western Carolina and finally moved to where I live now.   Well the first town I list, no one ever knows where that is.  Ever.  Most people have it confused with another town which is much much bigger, but then he said something about it being near the border.  I was impressed with his knowledge of my little tiny town. 

I'm not sure if I've ever shared, but I have these dreams.  I can dream about something and it either has happened or will happen.  Not every dream comes true, but some do.  It's very strange.  Some are very specific (like the time I dreamed that I met my friend from childhood as an adult - I hadn't seen him since we were children - yet in my dream I could see exactly what he looked like as an adult - then when I saw him and it wasn't a planned meeting, I knew it was him because our happenstance meeting happened exactly like my dream).  I can go months and months without dreaming about people from J - - - - - - and then I'll dream about it for a week at a time. 

Back to my story.  A little bit after I told him a little bit of my story, I left him to talk to my friend.  We're hanging out when all the sudden the pastor walks in with another lady and her child and says that we need to connect.  Most of the time when this happens, it's about Lyme Disease.  He knew about my Lyme Disease and I was just assuming that maybe this lady was needing some information.  I was already thinking in my head about whether I had any advocacy stuff in my car when he said something about how we needed to connect because we were both from "J - - - - - -."  Honestly my first thought was that she was probably from the "other town" because people get *that* confused.   

I introduce myself and tell her my maiden name and she tells me hers.  Well her name sounded familiar in a way that I knew we probably knew her, but that we weren't close friends at the time simply because our ages were different (4 years in elementary school is a huge difference). We started talking about the area.  It was awesome.  Even though we didn't get to talk very long, it was nice knowing someone that knew all the areas I remembered. I explained where I used to live and she knew exactly the house I was talking about.  I told her my friends and she knew most of their names.

I think we are shaped largely by where we spend our youth.  Some of my most vivid memories come from the time when I lived in J - - - - - -.  I missed it so much when we moved so I would relive things in my head every night before I went to sleep.  I would say my friend's names over and over again so I wouldn't forget.  As an adult, I remember the weirdest things.  I remember the really really really long metal slide at the church.  Now I will tell you that I thought I was just thinking it was extremely long because of my size and things as adults often look tiny in comparison to what you remember, but I mentioned this slide recently to someone and they too commented on it's extreme length when I said I remembered the metal slide at the church.  I remember sliding down this slide in my blue snowflake dress and getting rust on my dress.  I remember eating pancakes on Sundays at church and once they were running out and my friend (who was a boy, but not my boyfriend) gave me his pancake because I wanted another one.  I remember taking communion on the 5th Sunday of a month.  I remember being shocked when they allowed me to be an acolyte and actually carry a flame down the aisle and light a candle.

I remember the fun summer of swimming.  I remember my favorite pink bathing suit which was a two piece.  I remember walking from the pool to the store across the street to pick up candy (Now & Laters, Fun Dip, Razzles, Boston Baked Beans, Pop Rocks, Big League Chew, etc. and my brother loved to get Atomic Fireballs).  I remember having to sit on the side of the pool once every hour.  The lifeguards said it was  necessary, but I thought it was because the adults wanted some adult pool time without us kids in the way.  I remember being scared to dive off the board.  I remember really only doing it twice in my entire life.  The last time was such an mortifying moment that I have refused to dive or jump in a pool since.  I remember the basic instinct of trust.  All of my friend's moms were my extra moms.  I remember eating the best banana pudding on the planet from a restaurant that I can't remember.  I remember HUGE trees.  These things were massive and I would love to know if they were truly as massive as I remember. 

I have a wish.  I would love for all of my old friends to be in one place and for all of us to get together as adults.  I've seen a lot of them in the last few years, but I haven't seen all of them.  Now I'm not naive, I know we aren't 10 to 12 anymore.  I know people have changed.  I would like to think that if I had stayed there that we would have all stayed best friends through high school.  I realize now that we got the best of each other before the drama of hormones and influx of new friends at middle school.   However, it would be nice to create new memories with them instead of the images I have in my head of all of us being 10 to 12.

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