It was a warm, late summer day. The sun was shining through the large, fluffy, white clouds. It was the first day of school! Many students were being dropped off. One young girl was given a kiss on her forehead and was dropped off by her mother at her new school. As she was walking down the crowded hall, all she saw were different faces. Not a single soul was recognizable. She had just moved to a new school to start second grade. She could feel her heart beating up through her neck. Her palms were all sweaty holding tightly on to her new backpack. That young, little girl was me!
As I walked down the hall looking for room 108, a young girl with sandy, brown hair and light little freckles across her nose asked, “What’s your name? I’m Melanie!” It was friendship at first sight! She was friendly and happened to be walking to find room 108, too! Melanie and I were BFF’s from the first day of school. She asked me where I lived. I told her I didn’t remember because we had just moved in. I told her I would let her know tomorrow.
Well, tomorrow came and I told her my address. The most amazing thing happened! Melanie told me her address, and we were neighbors. She lived two houses away!!
From second grade on, Melanie and I would play outside together, ride bikes together, and even play Barbie dolls together! The best fun was the sleepovers!! That was the only house my mom would let me go for a sleepover! We had many of the same friends and would talk about all the fun we were going to have growing up together. Boy, we had plans!!
From second through seventh grade, Melanie and I were pretty much inseparable. Things began to change a little in seventh grade. Our interests became a bit different. I joined the pom-pom team, which took up a bit time after school. Homework got harder and was taking much longer, and Barbie dolls weren’t cool to play anymore.
The years leading into high school spun around quickly, Melanie and I began to have even more activities and people that split our time from each other. We still lived close, but we were doing so many other things with our time. Junior year of high school rolled around, and my mother decided were moving to a different town. The move pretty much severed our ties. It was an era before cell phones, texting and social media. Yes, there were home phones!
Communication with Melanie was very sporadic! I started college and heard from friends that Melanie had moved away. A few years after college I got married, to the boy Melanie introduced me to in high school! Melanie and I reconnected. She was back in town. We only spoke a few times. Some decisions in her life had taken her on some unexpected journeys and a few challenges. Our choices had taken us on different paths than those we planned at 8 years old and 12 years old.
I think of her many times. Not quite sure what sparks those thoughts. Many times I go down our old neighborhood streets where we used to play, and I think about those times that were fun, simple and unplugged. Times when kids would sit and talk and conjure up wild ideas about what life would be like when they were 18 and 21, because that was OLD when you were 8 and 12.
Well, with this new age of technology, I got on Facebook a few years ago. Melanie came across as a person I might know!! I friend requested her! She accepted and we chatted back and forth a few times. Then a few months ago, I saw a post that said, something like, “Tag a childhood friend, if you are still friends.”
So I was going to tag Melanie and post. As I was searching for her, her name was not coming up as my friend! She had launched me! I have to admit I was a bit devastated! I still wonder why. It’s not easy trying to figure people out. I gave up on that a few years ago.
Sometimes I'd have to say that I miss the feeling of those simple, childhood days of unplugged play. Where the entire world was your oyster, and you knew NO limits on what you could achieve. I miss those days when you thought that all the good you knew would last forever. Some days, I miss Melanie and Barbie dolls.