My memory is always a little rusty… This is my general remembrance of times gone by. I don’t know why I started thinking about all of this today, but it put a smile on my face anyway.
When I was a kid my best friend and I would walk around and plan our lives together. I wanted to be an architect and she wanted to work with animals. We would live together, have lots of land, and everything would be awesome. We didn’t even think to complicate things with love, sex, or money – we may have been too young to fully grasp all of that or just didn’t care enough to factor it in. The purity of a childhood fantasy is something I miss so dearly. I had a computer program (before they were called apps) that I could design floor plans with and I created our sprawling home and work space. I used JCPenney and Spiegel magazines to pick out decor and furnishings and we often discussed places to build this dream. We would walk or ride our bikes down the road from my house, and we found this giant valley that would suit us just fine. The valley had a pasture, a field for a garden, a forest, and a long driveway. The spot couldn’t be seen from the road and would provide ample privacy from neighbors. I worked through several plans for the house, consulting my best friend as often as possible (this was before internet and cell phones) and I even designed a separate building for office/work space. Man, we were creative and ambitious back then. I believe, but can’t be 100%, that we sneakily rode our bikes down there to get a better look one day which really cemented everything in place.
The year before my best friend moved, we came up with this wild idea to own a theme park/zoo type thing. It would be called “The Wild” and we found an island in Hawaii, on Encarta Encyclopedia, to build on just off the mainland. We designed hotels right down to the font on the sign, styles/themes, and prices. We designed the wide open spaces and I think we even made it part of our art class project. It was a crazy idea, but one we loved to work on – an escape perhaps? I know we wanted animals, but I can’t recall if we wanted a giant free for all type of place with regions or if we wanted a zoo-like setting. Either way, it was a big idea that two middle school kids dreamed up. We made brochures, signs, informative sheets, and so much more. What fun that was…
I can remember back to the beginning of my friendship with Kara, but I can’t remember everything exactly that first year. Over the earlier years, I know we both wanted to live in Arizona at one point, used to be obsessed with Australia, and we always had affection for Disney movies. We found our parents pot while ice fishing, and knew what it was because of DARE class, we filmed movies with no camera or script out at her grandparent’s beach house, and we had imaginations that made our less than perfect lives much better for a few minutes every time we hung out. Over the years, our families were friends and thus we were able to spend a lot of time together. I saw my first movie in theaters with them and had my first Taco Bell with them – both were big deals because those didn’t exist in our tiny town and her mom took us to the next big town. Kara and I bowled together forever on the youth league and would get hyped up on Josta and Surge soda pop and annoy the hell out of the adults. Our friendship was never 100% peaceful – we were both a little stubborn and we weren’t immune to fighting – but we made up.
When she moved, we didn’t really keep in too close of contact through Jr-Sr high school, but once college hit communication started flowing a lot more. Eventually we’d talk on the phone forever, have random visits and hang outs, and instant messaging. Our favorite thing to do though, I must speak for both of us on this, was visiting Aunt Mary in Cleveland. We would get in the car, listen to stupid music, make signs to flash at other cars, and drive through the night to get to Ohio. We’d get our favorite smoothies, visit toy stores and other niche stores, and enjoy a weekend with someone who is one of the most genuine people I know to this day.
These days, we don’t see much of each other, but we’re in touch at least weekly. Looking back on these moments and analyzing our time together has really made me realize she is the only person that may know almost everything about me. Thinking back to our big ideas and wild spirits, I’m sort of mildly invigorated. I know that old me is still in there, under the bills, jobs, adult responsibilities, and general bullshit of life. Here’s to hoping we can all find a little spark within to keep fighting the big fight.
Bonus, I just remembered we were the junior bridesmaid and groomsman at my aunt’s totally 90s wedding in 1995. Big poofy pink dresses/tuxes with cumber buns, white limos, and we had to leave the reception by 8pm to a babysitter named Rachel? I don’t even remember.