The story goes that when I was two, my mother’s friend and co-worker, came to our house with the child that she had adopted. It was, I believe, in 1953-4. The little blonde one year old had blue eyes and blonde hair, just like me. They laughed about how we could have been sisters.
I don’t remember that encounter. Then, again, I don’t remember NOT knowing Vicki.
Because I was born in late December, I started school the same year Vicki did. I can’t remember specifics of being in elementary school with her. I just know she was there. She was a part of me. Like my arm or my leg.
I think I have always been a part of her as well.
We lived on opposite sides of town. She on a ranch on the east side; me on the edge of town on the west. It didn’t matter.
We would ride with our mothers to the hospital where they worked and walk into school together. We gathered a few friends along the way.
We slept in each others homes. I would go to the ranch and play with Shadow, her German Shepard. We would jump in the weir where the freezing (well, it was awfully cold!) irrigation water started its journey into the orange orchards. We feed her pigs.
At my house we slept on the living room floor, next to the fireplace. My mother would forget we were there and trip over us in the night. Mostly, we talked and giggled.
We hung out on the phone. (LONG before cell phones) Our phone was in the kitchen on a little yellow shelf. The cord was just long enough for me to lay on the floor. We would stay on the phone for what seemed to our parents, hours. Not saying much. Just being connected.
We were college roommates for a year. (That is a WHOLE nuther story) Despite that, we remained close.
I got married and our ways parted. Our friendship remained intact. To this day, she is the person I can call at three in the morning and KNOW that she will answer.
To this day, if I am on the phone and giggling, my spouse KNOWS who is on the other end of that call.
It never matters that we haven’t spoken for long periods. Or been together. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing. The friendship, this thing that binds us and has always bound us, remains.
Solid, omnipresent. Just there.
On this day, several decades ago, The Universe gave me the greatest gift that could be given.
It gave me Vicki.
Happy Birthday to you, my friend.