Thursday, November 6, 2008

Here you have her.


Meet Mandy. She is a long time BFF, from grade school, middle school, high school, adult school. Like how I threw that last one in?

She trumps all. She's first, and here is her beautiful post.

And, by the way, she is the BEST photographer I know. Check her blog out: http://labellavitablog.com/ . Do it now.

And now, my dears, here is what she had to say!

{a.not.so.short.essay}

By: Amanda Burse

“There is a garden in every childhood…” {Elizabeth.Lawrence}

Let me preface this essay by saying that I have no sad tales of my childhood. There were sad things that happened, as I am sure they happen to all children, but I have no stories of woe to embrace, overcome, or muddle through. By all accounts my youth was semi-charmed, with divorced yet loving parents, doting grandparents, and many friends. So, I am sure at this point you are asking why I bother write an essay on childhood if nothing dramatic occurred for me to persevere though. Well…for one, I like to hear myself talk, and two, I think that there really is a shortage of happy childhood stories these days, so I am adding my two cents to hopefully leave you with a warmness in your heart.

My name is Amanda. I am 28 years old. Before I was old, I was young. 28 is old. Ask any 5 year old, and they will tell you. I grew up in a little town called Thomaston in a little state called Maine. My neighborhood was a place filled with kids my own age, or around my own age, and all the houses looked the same, and now that I look back on it as a mother of two girls, I am pretty sure it was perfection. My skin drenched with warm sun, my cheeks rosy from the fresh sea-salt air, and the tan line from my sandals…I would spend every day outside until the sun disappeared under the ocean, and the sky went black with night. Daily adventures spent in rustically built forts behind the subdivision were only to be interrupted by snack, lunch, another snack, and dinner. Like I said, it was perfect.

My father, a simple, quiet, just all around good man, was a supervisor in a local fish plant before it was shut down in the early 1990’s. He left every morning at 4:30 am. My grandmother, a rotund and well dressed, probably crazy woman, who lived in the next town over, would get in her car every early morning to come and take care of me. She would sit out in the yard with her ridiculously fancy sun hats and read a book, or knit, or do the crossword in the Bangor Daily, or just contently watch and grin as I played with my friends. Afternoons were always for swimming lessons at Sandy Shores, a nearby lake that is now not swimmable because of profuse pollution. After an hour long of intense swimming with a kickboard, and learning to master the basics of holding my breath underwater, we would get ice cream, or go back to her assisted living community and gossip with the other older ladies in the lobby about the ladies who weren’t there at the time. I knew how to bake biscuits by the time I was 6, and any type of berry pie by the time I was 6 ¾ years old. I was spoiled with attention and fresh air. My dad would pick me up at 4:30pm and we would go home to our little ranch style house, to our menagerie of animals (a dog, 2 cats, and a bunny named Cottontail, who by the way, lived until I graduated from high school), and to our little, happy life.

My mother wasn’t around, but that’s not sad…it just is.

I was in the 3rd grade when I met Misty. I am pretty sure I was a snob then…actually, I am quite sure of it. Locked in the isolation of a coastal town, blanketed by unending attention will do that to a 9 year old, only child who was bound to be a snob anyway. Pre – adolescence being what it is, I am sure that didn’t help matters either. When I met Misty on the play ground out at recess, I was pretty sure she was trouble from the start. She was practically from a different planet (or just out of state). Only she can recount it better than I can, but like I said, I wasn’t nice, and I went on my merry little way until we met again the following year in Mr. Beckett’s 4th grade classroom at Thomaston Grammar School (a newer, bigger, more horrifying place that our Laura Libby Elementary had been).

Mr. Beckett was a man…a historian, unmarried, still picked up his lunch from his mother on the way to school every morning, and was dreadfully boring. Although I don’t think I was a big fan of his at the time, I can now see that he was patient, understanding, and outnumbered by several head strong 10 and 11 year old girls and one kid (boy) named Jamie Schurman. He really didn’t have a chance, poor guy. And this is when I really met Misty. Any of you who know her, know her life, and to me it just sounded unreal. To a girl who had never been out of the state of Maine, she was extraordinary really; a world traveler (although not by choice), and by all accounts, a survivor. The most I had ever had to endure was a not-so-amicable divorce with two loving, yet confused parents in their late 20’s, and a really bad case of the measles. Even then, I couldn’t help feeling that she was a bit of a super girl (now woman). Misty wanted to be a mother when she grew up. I don’t remember her ever wanting anything ever as much as that, and to this day, I can remember her saying it to me out at recess later on that year. I wanted to be a writer, a teacher, a doctor, and I still believed in Santa Claus. We truly were from two opposite ends of the spectrum, and even though we would have our times of pre-teen drama, I always felt that there was a tender, genuine connection between the two of us.

That was 18 years ago. Misty would move away, and then flow back into my life; a tide moving up and down the rough sand. She went to Texas, moved back, stayed a while, and then left again. Her absences have never left me empty, because true friends never leave your heart. All I could remember was her talking about her dreams under a desk in Mr. Beckett’s 4th grade, and I knew where ever she landed, she was moving mountains to achieve them. Misty is the only friend I have kept in touch with since I left my little, sheltered, coastal town existence. 18 years is a life time for two little girls who came together unexpectedly (but not by mistake, I am quite sure of it), who have grown up together, shared heart brakes, tears, dreams (about life, goals, and boys *sigh*) tragedies, secrets, and even some words of anger at times….who have shared countless hours laughing (mostly at ourselves), who became wives, and then mothers. What’s next, I wonder…

18 years is a long time to be friends…just a beginning really.

9 comments:

Lara said...

Absolutely beautiful post....made me cry! Misty IS wonderful.

Kat said...

Wow! What a post! Absolutely gorgeous!

Are You Serious! said...

♥ Very nice! I love her photographes too!

Kami said...

How beautiful! I have no doubt your meeting was not chance, it was meant to be.

That was lovely Amanda, thank you for sharing your friendship with Misty. You are both lucky to have each other.

Danielle-lee said...

Beautiful! You both are lovely. Thank you for sharing!

LaskiGal said...

Wonderful story. I'm so happy you have one another.

It was in third grade where I met *my* Mandy . . . her name was Kelly.

Our stories are SO, SO similar.

Marie said...

Beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Kindred spirit friends. Everyone needs one of those.

I have a good life said...

What a beautiful post! I am certain that our "forever friends" never come into our lives by chance. What a great writer, too!

TUTU Monkey said...

How beautiful........I really appreciated this post...thank you!