Note: All names have been fictionalized for confidentiality.
In the 1990s, my neighborhood was full of active children and young families. From what I recall, we were all pretty close. One girl I saw all the time was named Brooke. My family seemed to do everything with hers — dinner, holiday parties, church, barbeques, movies, vacations, etc.
When Brooke and I were in preschool, we did ballet together. It was terrible! We preferred to play in the mud. When the rain poured outside, the volleyball court flooded. Brooke, her brother Ethan, and my siblings swam in it. We had a blast!
Another thing we loved doing was putting on weird shows for our parents. We dressed up in bizarre “costumes.” Sometimes we created our ensembles out of each other’s clothes. Then we skated and rode bikes around the cul-de-sac.
One of my fondest memories was celebrating Halloween with Brooke’s family and some of our neighbors! The week before the holiday, we went to the pumpkin farm. We, kids, buried each other in the hay. Then our parents helped us pick out pumpkins. By nightfall, we all ate cinnamon donuts and taffy apples.
On Halloween, my and Brooke’s parents took pictures of us and our neighbors in our costumes. After trick-or-treating at as many “rich” houses as possible, we divided our candy and said goodbye.
In 1996, Brooke’s family moved away. Thankfully, we were only 20 minutes apart from each other. So we still got together often. We continued to celebrate holidays, have sleepovers, and attend church every week.
After my father died in 2008, Brooke’s family supported mine by going to the wake and funeral. Brooke’s mom made teddy bears and pillows out of my dad’s flannel shirts. The sentiment helped me feel like my dad was still with me.
Around 2012, our families drifted apart. I have not seen Brooke’s family in years. The last I heard, Brooke became a lawyer. Ethan became a doctor. Even though we have not seen each other in a long time…