So Bone was posting lovely stories of his childhood and recently someone on Facebook was asking folks to tag their friends from when they were 8 years old. Remembering the old days is kinda fun so here goes...
My best friend when I was 8 years old was Leigh. We met when I was 4, she was 5. My family had just moved into our first house and my cat Michael had gotten out...so I caught him in Leigh's yard. And as a kid you make friends when you have proximity...we were close in age and location. And at first all things were great, but as I have learned as an adult now...it really stinks when the adults don't get along.
My mom didn't like Leigh's mom so she didn't really want me and my brothers to be friends with their family... (another proximity thing...Leigh also had the same number of younger brothers...all of our ages almost lining up!) It was pretty difficult to keep us apart though because of us living right there. Especially when we could be together all we wanted to at school. ;)
Leigh's house was two houses down from mine... there was an old retired couple (The Gardners) in the house between ours. The Gardners HATED that we used to run across their yard to go and see each other. ("Hey you kids! Stay off my lawn!") and with 8 kids running back and forth, who can really blame them. In an effort to mollify the Gardners my parents offered to put up a fence around the Gardners yard if we could combine our backyards to give my mom more room for her dogs. We would of course clean up after the dogs, but the Gardners would have a fence out the front yard that would prevent us kids from running across the front yards to go see each other.
Well the back yard fence didn't last all that long because the Gardners were forgetful and kept leaving the gate open, letting our dogs get out. So my father ripped up all the fence around their yard and moved it over to just our property line.
Leigh and I would be together all day during the summer. I had a bike, she didn't. So we shared my bike with one of us on the handle bars and the other pedaling. We would ride around the block for hours taking turns. On the other side of Leigh's house was this girl Lydia. She was a few years younger than us, but we still hung out because her mother gave us a bunch of her old skirts to play dress up with and we had this cool story of how we were all princesses and had handsome princes to marry in our "gowns" (those skirts!) So we would plan over and over our weddings, making honeysuckle wreaths for our hair.
In the years that my mom totally banned me from playing with Leigh... we played at Lydia's house.
This lasted forever ...or until Leigh got to the 9th grade in school. That was officially high school in our town.
When we first moved to this town there were 3 schools... the elementary school for K-6th grades, the Jr High School for 7-9th grades and then the High School. The Jr High School was pretty new when we moved there, but around the time I was in 5th grade or so it was burned down. The story went that the drunk father of a Jr High student was at the school. He couldn't read (this was a poor town in the south where many people didn't get a chance to go to school and apparently this father was one of those.) He set fire to a book and left it to burn down the building. Since the school district couldn't afford a new building (oh our fire department was all volunteer so the fire was out of control before they could get to it) they did a shift of grades... the kids who were already at the Jr High's grades were moved into the High School building and then each year those grades were moved over to the Elementary school...so at first there was elementary + 7th grade and then the next year 8th grade was added and the name of the school was changed to Town Elementary & Jr High. 9th grade stayed at the High School.
When Leigh entered the 9th grade she decided that she was not too old to "play with babies" and ditched me as her bff. #childhoodisrough Don't worry too much, I made a new bff Susan that year.
The summer before my 9th grade year is when my mom (who had divorced my father) took us to live with her in Florida...so I never saw Leigh again. I learned years later that Leigh's parents had also divorced (note: Leigh's mom liked to copy everything that my mom did which is why my mom didn't like her) and Leigh with her mom moved to Texas. The moving to Texas story didn't come from very reliable sources, so who knows what really happened to her.
We had old neighbors on the other side of us that we used to irritate as well. And our town was so small that we could ride our bikes everywhere...library, bank, B&B grocery store for a bag of chips and a coke (generic term for all carbonated beverages...not just that brand).
I've kept tabs on my old hometown using Google maps. The town apparently grew a significant bit and then everyone seemed to move away. My old street and "stomping grounds" look way different now...even the old grocery store is gone now...it's a garage the last time I checked. Sigh!