Sunday, January 31, 2010
Spinning,twirling ,what great fun for the girls of my youth.Riding our English Racers with the chains that always fell off and singing with the joy of summer and the breeze in our hair.We knew how to squander and plumb the depths of warm weather.We were sexless and thus willing to try anything; baseball,kick ball and daring jumps across open spaces in houses under construction.We'd pick up snails with none of the phony squealing of girls.We wanted to look and to know and we did.
Later, we would learn to be coy and tamp down our intelligence and fore swear things that weren't feminine.But for now, we swirl and get dizzy and laugh and fall down.I recall competing in baseball and running.We wanted to be the best and be strong and show off.The best compliments came from the boys ,"Good hit". And we would beam.We traded baseball cards and marbles and had treasures we hung onto well after we would grow up.
My best pal in all of this was Rosemary.We loved the same things, especially the outdoors.When the snow and cold finally left,we would burst outside in the first shorts of summer and hail each other like ecstatic escapees.
She was also my companion for the first weeks of Lent when, in short uniforms,and bundled to the teeth, we would meet on the corner before school and walk the bone chilling blocks to church for morning Mass.It was dark and very early in the morning.We never made the whole six weeks but I like to think that those days we did get up early to make this sacrifice did not go unnoticed and that our souls were stretched by this.
Rosemary forgave me last summer when I confessed that the time we went swimming in our early twenties and she was struggling to get to shore at the beach,I couldn't have saved her.I had fought to get in myself and feared I was drowning and even though I was scared silly for her,I was paralyzed at the thought of going out to get her.
And she stood with me at my sister's gravesite and prayed and comforted me with her hand and her heart.
What a pleasure it was to see Rosemary walking up the mountain road last summer ,enjoying again the outdoors,and knowing that this precious friend of youth is here ,in my life,still.