For reasons unknown to me one of the childhood keepsakes I’ve held on to is this pencil case. I must have really loved it. Or maybe it was packed away with a few other treasures and I didn’t have the heart or interest to get rid of it. I’ve come across it over the years, along with the dolls and other “memorable” items from my childhood. And I would always do the same thing. Open it. Look at what’s inside- markers, pencils, a red pen and ball point pen. And then zip it back up again. I used it for many years because it held a good amount of writing utensils and it stayed flat on top of my books (because we did not use backpacks back then!) That’s the extent of my memories attached to this pencil case.
But it did get me thinking about what memories I have held onto of my school days and my earliest memory always stands out. My parents and I had moved into our new house mid-school year and I was five years old. Only one moment stands out in my memory of my first day at a new school. It was when my dad picked me up at the end of the day. We were walking back to the car and he was holding my hand. A voice called out from behind, “Bye, Katherine!”
I paused and turned, not letting go of his hand, and I looked back. It was Marie, with a huge grin spread across her face while she waved at me. I smiled back. And then I timidly raised my hand to return her wave. “Bye!” I’m not sure my voice even carried across the distance between us but Marie waved again and skipped over to her mother.
My dad’s voice burst through my little cloud of happiness. “Who was that?” I looked up at him, seeing the curious look on his face that matched his tone.
I looked down and a small smile returned to my face as I happily replied, “My friend.”
This is my first memory of school, which has nothing to do with school other than it happened there. And it’s my first memory of Marie, who is my oldest friend. We have been friends for fifty years and I can’t believe it’s been that long. For awhile she was my best friend but despite our paths going in different directions, we were at each other’s weddings and we have never lost touch over the years. We pick up where we left off despite any time that has passed. We share our joys and sorrows. She has been a constant in my life, a special person who holds a precious corner of my heart- just because. And I really like that.
Peace, love and friendship,