Thursday, January 6, 2011

"We Are Okay"

. . . Simple times now seem so far,
Used to be in my backyard,
Yeah, the world was still in my backyard . . .

These lyrics are from a song written by my absolute favorite contemporary alternative singer/songwriter, Josh Radin.  It was just playing a moment ago as I went about my household duties for the day, and when the song We Are Okay began my thoughts turned to yesterday afternoon's conversation which with one of my dearest childhood friends, and our memories of the seemingly simple, idyllic childhood and adolescence we shared together growing up in Bountiful, Utah.

I haven't seen my friend Wendy for over two years, and was so happy she was in town for a few days and I could finally take her to lunch to celebrate her 40th birthday.  I honestly can't believe this year all my comrades and myself turn forty - ugh - seriously, I remember when my parents turned forty and they seemed SO old.  While at Wendy's parents' home I couldn't help but stare into the faces of her family in a picture taken about 30 years ago, when they had children ranging in age from about 6 to 16, a picture I remember well hanging in the hall of her childhood home.  Unbelievably, that family portrait now mirrors my own family, my own children celebrating the freedom, discovery and simplicity of youth, and I'm suddenly thrown into the role of responsible parent and mature adult preparing my children for the world that faces them.

The greatest part about spending time with Wendy is the flood of childhood memories that come back when we are together and how fun it is to relive some of our adventures.  We met when our family moved into our Bountiful home (1467 Vineyard Circle) the fall of 1978 when I was seven years old.  Wendy lived down the street on Seville Way and we began 2nd grade at Oakhills Elementary, walking to and from school together every day.  We continued into Jr. High at Millcreek Jr. High and were locker partners all three years.  We endured those awkward years together and spent practically every weekend with one another, and with our friend Rachel, usually ending up at one of our homes staying up all hours talking about the very most important topic of the day (which cute boy smiled at us or what music we like), making up dances to our favorite music (the BeeGees come to mind), playing cards (what? no face cards at girls camp - what's up with that!), singing showtunes, playing pool or pingpong, baking cookies, playing Atari, or making forts out of the couch cushions.

Our summers were spent wandering the neighborhood and ending up in anyone's backyard that sported a trampoline or basketball court and didn't mind we were there (the Gibb's yard was a popular spot).  We endlessly explored the hills looking for old isenglass mines and collecting as much as we could carry home.  We played games of "capture the flag" in my backyard with the neighborhood kids, we rode our bikes everywhere, we hiked up the streams in the woods near Rachel's house and would conquer climbing the "B" on the mountainside . . . all without much adult supervision.  I remember being dirty quite often and rarely spending much time indoors.

By the time we entered Bountiful High School we drifted somewhat to different groups of friends, but always remained close.  It was Wendy who, with her pertinent advice and wisdom guided me through some difficult times and always made sure I wasn't doing anything too stupid, as I was wont to do at times.  She and Rachel were my beacons of goodness and maturity, while I still had a lot of growing up to do.  I know my mom never worried when I spent time with my two childhood friends, like she did with some other characters I befriended during those years.  By the middle of my senior year, I had once again formed the strong bond with these friends that we had shared during our elementary and early Jr. High years, and I count it as one of the greatest blessings of my life.

Wendy was my roommate our freshman and sophomore years at BYU - by far some of the most endearing and sweetest memories of my life took place during those first years at BYU.  Wendy actually met Chris before I did when he stopped by our apartment and I wasn't home.  She was the only friend who was able to come to our temple ceremony, as she was preparing to leave shortly for her mission, and was there that day, along with Rachel sharing the excitement of my marriage to Chris.

Now, we're wives and mothers of our own little broods, hopefully teaching the same life lessons our mothers taught us, and praying that our daughters will have the blessed opportunity to find those friendships that endure a lifetime.  So, here's to my childhood friends and those memories we created that will forever be part of my life . . .

Now, back to the messy house that demands my attention (when personally, I would much rather be up in the hills searching for isenglass :-).

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