Back in 1982, my family moved from Chicago to Tennessee and I was having a difficult time adjusting to my new 3rd grade class. One morning as I was getting on the school bus, which should have been a simple act but instead brought me great anxiety, I saw a girl holding something that caught my eye and before I knew what was happening, I stopped on my way down the aisle to say something.
Me: "That's the coolest parrot puppet I've EVER seen!" (Because, you know, I had seen lots of parrot puppets by then.)
Girl: "Thanks, I brought it for show & tell! You wanna sit here?"
That was the last day I ever felt anxious about getting on the bus.
1984; Three years into our friendship, in 6th grade, we finally get into the same homeroom... and it was glorious.
Today is her 35th birthday, one quarter of a century after we met; and we owe the longest-lasting and best friendship ever known to a parrot puppet. A puppet that had been safely tucked away for years when she surprised me by sending it for my 25th birthday gift, and the very same puppet that I gifted back at her baby shower in 2004, with the hopes that one day her baby-to-be would decide to take it to school and along the way make a lifelong friend.
1986; By 8th grade we were cool enough to score the highly coveted back seat on the bus. I think her "Members Only" jacket had something to do with that, though.
For part of her birthday gift this year, I've spent days (literally, days!) going through old photos and even my old negatives so that I could create an online album that spanned the years and covered some of our travels. I should have started this project sooner, really; but in the end I think what I put together is a decent enough representation.
1999, her wedding day. As tradition dictates, we needed a self-portrait to mark the occasion.
We've traveled all over the globe together and it's truly remarkable how many of our photos are self-timer or self-portrait shots. Also just as remarkable: how bad our hair was. I could write a bunch of stories about things we've done or places we've been but I think the photos speak for themselves. Looking at how I captioned some of them, I think there's something everybody will enjoy:
*The first and last time your mom let us decorate for a party
*Chippendale: Not just a type of antique furniture
*Because we put the "tramp" in trampoline
*Horn E. Coyote
*We're no Corey Hart
*Not the first or last time you'd lick a drummer in a darkened van
*Hold the sugar and just pour some pants on us. No, really.
*It's amazing we didn't turn into Skid Hos
*God save the Queen, and this dance
*Check Out This Mothertrucker, Parts 1 & 2
*That settles it, I'm NEVER leaving Venice.
*Caught making out with a stranger again, but in my defense, he totally started it
*The puppet responsible (for the friendship, not the pregnancy)
*If this isn't an advertisement for reproduction, I don't know what is.
We haven't actually lived in the same state since we were in 9th grade, but have always made it a point to call and write regularly; and get together at least once a year. We either visit each other's city or meet up someplace else, but no matter where we are in the world, it's always like being home again.
Happy 35th birthday, St-End; with love from your Be-Fri.
Here's your online album for all to enjoy: BFFs since 1982! (click here)
By the way, I totally recommend going through old photos, just apologize to your neighbors in advance. You will be laughing very loudly if your photos look anything like ours.