Last fall we went to visit my girlhood friend Patti and her husband, Steve, who live in Greenbank, WV. When we get together it's like going back to the late fifties. We went all through school together so share many memories. Mostly what I remember about those grade school years was the teacher constantly saying, "Patti and Bobbie, move your seats away from each other. AND stop that talking." We shared Girl Scouts, learning to put on make-up, cutting our hair, and trying to smoke, among other things.
Below is one of our many adventures.
PATTIE AND I BETWEEN THE AGES OF 8-10
Patti and I sneak out of her bedroom in the early morning hours into the parking lot of her dad's car towing business.
Several wreckers hold court on the lot as we creep along looking in car windows.
Our goal is to find the car that was brought in after last nights wreck.
We find the car and crawl around inside. Patti mostly wants to be the driver and steer the car. I'm intent on finding out about the people who own the car. The people who might have been killed or mangled in the very car in which we now sit. Shivers run through both of us as we tell each other stories about who they might have been. We have no idea if anyone was injured but we always imagine they were - the more tragic the story the better - we're sure that someone might have even met his death in the very car in which we sit.
We are not smart enough or old enough to learn the identity or identities of the people in the wreck. So we make them up. I imagine it is a young couple on a date, so in love they cannot contain their passion.
I open the glove box and find a red lipstick. I promptly pull the rearview mirror over to the passengers side where I am seated and manage to draw on luxurious lips with the creamy red stick. My real lips are pink and undeveloped. But now I am beautiful. Hollywood bound. Another Marilyn Monroe except my blond hair is cut in an uneven Dutch Boy. A bowl cut. I flick my hair back and pretend that it is long and flowing down my back.
I find a bracelet in the back seat. I imagine the guy in the car was preparing to give his girl the beautiful bracelet which I am sure contains diamonds and not rhinestones. I snap it onto my skinny girl arm which is covered with light peach fuzz.
Patti squeals for me to hold on. We are rounding a serious curve. Perhaps we too will meet our fate behind the wheel of the old blue Nash.
But she manages to pull us through and I continue my searching. My loot contains- besides the bracelet and lipstick- a pack of breath mints, one stick of Juicy Fruit, several pebbles underneath the drivers seat, retrieved by sticking my head under the seat on which Patti sits. She complains that I am pushing on her seat and messing up her steering.
Patti begins to complain she has a headache from the gasoline smell in the car and we decide to continue our adventures inside where we will pester her older sister until she lets us try on her clothes. We slam the car doors and break into a run when her mother calls us for pancakes.