Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Peanut Butter, Fluff, and Farrah Dolls

I found out the other day that my childhood friend's mother died recently. I hadn't thought about her in years. Have you ever missed someone even though you hadn't thought about them in years? She was the mother of my friend, Cindy. Cindy and I did not go to the same school, so we lost touch every school year. But come summer, we were thick as thieves again. We played at Cindy's house more than mine, I think because she was the third and youngest daughter -- more cool toys and more freedom at her house. But what I remember most vividly about Cindy's house was her mother. She was a wonderfully warm woman who almost always had a smile on her face. She had a high-pitched voice and burgundy hair and she was always nice to me. I can still remember . . . Popsicles the backyard Impromptu ride-along trips to the farmer's market Peanut butter and fluff sandwiches (never seen or heard of at my own house) She could always be talked into a a quick game of "I Spy," even if she had a full basket of laundry in her arms. The way she just shook her head and snickered while she watched us "dance" to Michael Jackson's Off the Wall LP. (We thought we were so hot, doing The Bus Stop!) Riding our bikes up to the school to surprise her when she started back to work a month before school started -- she was the head cafeteria lunch lady. She had a pretty baby-blue uniform. Her constantly imploring her own daughter to let me play with the Farrah doll sometimes rather than always being relegated to the less desirable Cher doll. The way she always seemed happy to see me even on a busy day. You know, there are some people you just assume to be in this world, even if you haven't seen or thought about them in a long time. But when you find out they're gone, the world feels a little different. A little rougher, a little lonelier. Thanks for everything, Mrs. B. Even after all these years, I'll miss you.

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