Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Followers.

I just checked on the other blog I write, and noted that I had a new "follower".  It's kind of a weird term - but really, what would be better?  You do, in fact, follow a blog - follow the life of the person, or follow their thought train, or follow their photography or their artistic journey or their weight loss story or what have you.

The new follower sort of made my heart skip a little bit.

She is a friend from my teenage years - one with whom I grew apart, but one I never really stopped thinking about.

Stephanie and I were PK friends.  That's "preacher's kid" for those of you unfamiliar with the term.  It's an interesting life to lead, as my other PK friends will be quick to tell you.  A lot of life lived "in the fishbowl", so to speak, and so, though few and far between, my PK friends have always been especially dear to me.

Stephanie and I met at the District Christmas Party on my father's district and we were in the same grade at school and seemed to have quite a bit in common.  For awhile, we only saw each other at the Christmas party, once a year.  Then Stephanie invited me to come to baseball/softball camp with her and another friend (of hers) and I went.  I found the experience outstanding.  One of little self-consciousness and much self-confidence - which was especially important for middle school me, who felt awkward and strange in too big feet and enormous glasses.

For reasons I'm not sure I can explain, Stephanie and I grew apart.

Even upon attending the same college, we never really talked much after her dad moved to another district.

I mourned the loss.

At each Christmas party we would exchange M&Ms.

The tradition was born when we realized that every year the favors were the same: red and green M&Ms.  And so, one year, we each took one, and promised to bring it back the next year, as a tradition.

I still have the M&M from the last party we both attended.

I guess that's pretty sentimental and maybe a little dumb.

I keep it in a wooden box labeled:  Girl's Treasures.  My dad got the box for me when I was a wee thing.  I don't remember how old I was.  It was always a stalwart on my dresser or buried deep in a drawer as I got older and the things inside seemed more sacred to me.

It sits on my dresser now.  My adult self barely glances inside.  Just every so often...

It contains the M&M from my friendship with Stephanie, who is now following my blog about my family.  It also contains:

-  a photograph of the first boy I ever REALLY liked
-  a pin from my first serious boyfriend
-  a tiny plastic elephant with a blue bow around its neck from the baby shower thrown for me when I was pregnant with my son
-  a baby tooth from my dog, Cricket, who grew up with me and died while I was in college from cancer
-  a champagne cork from a wedding I attended as flower girl at the age of six - the bride and groom popped the cork in the parking lot and champagne was passed around.  I scrounged up the cork from the pavement and kept it.
-  a Play-Dough "orange head" wearing a red sweatshirt with a "W" across the chest - an "artistic" representation of our arch swimming rivals from my high school days - made for me by our team captain and good friend, Jessica

I think that might be all that is inside the box.

I couldn't tell you why I keep all of those things.

They are somehow special in their own ways.  Things I can't bring myself to throw away.  It seems like tossing the memory.

Someday I will probably end up having to explain the items to my children or grandchildren - or maybe they will find them after I'm gone and wonder what I wanted with a dog's tooth or a champagne cork.  Maybe they'll apply some strange significance to each item or make up a story.  Maybe I will have the honor of telling them myself.

I will say one thing for sure - M&Ms certainly have an extensive shelf life.

1 comment:

tpeterr said...

I have so many random little memory items floating around. Having moved so many times as a kid, there are a lot of junk things I hold on to because that's the only connection I have to a specific place or friend. It's funny how something like a bag of M&Ms can grow to be such a strong (if small) part of your self-identity.

I should do a post like this sometime about my memorabilia.

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