I don’t remember too many details now about the birthday party for Janiece Duke but two things will stand out in my mind forever. One, I had fun! Two, I now had something I had never had before – a best friend! Ours was an unlikely friendship. Janiece was short, I was tall. She was bubbly, I was quiet. She was silly, I was serious. She was an only child, I had a little brother. Her parents doted on her so she had the ability to “wear them down” while my parents were strict and “No” meant no and don’t ask again. When our differences flared, the sparks sometimes flew and tempers raised their ugly heads. But we were never mad at each other for long.
We did everything together. I ate my first Big Mac with Janiece and her parents, sitting in the parking lot of the East Rome McDonald’s. Her Daddy would go inside and bring the burgers back to the car. To this day the aroma emanating from a sack of McDonald’s hamburgers will trigger that memory. On the way to Panama City Beach for my family’s annual vacation, the two of us giggled constantly in the back seat of the car until my parents were half crazy listening to the constant chatter. We were boy crazy – make that cowboy crazy – together on our trips to the rodeo every year in Montgomery, Alabama.
After Janiece turned Sweet 16 we cruised town together several nights a week. We drove up and down Shorter Avenue/Turner McCall Blvd, putting a million miles on her parent’s Dodge simply by driving the same route over and over from East Rome McDonalds to West Rome Krystal. Every Sunday we went on a trail ride together, riding horses with her Daddy and some other old folks – a few of them were at least 30 years old! When it snowed, her Daddy would take us down to their property in the country. He would hook an old, upturned 40’s car hood to the back of his truck and then drag us – screaming with laughter while slipping ‘n sliding down the deserted road.
During our high school years Janiece was the last person I talked to on the phone at night and the first person I talked to every single morning when one of us would call the other and say, “What are you wearing to school today?” We got into trouble with our parents and often were grounded at the same time. We got into mischief and there were escapades that our parents will never know about. A police detective once came to the door, looking for us. Not as bad as it sounds and it’s another story. Ha! As I’m writing this, so many more memories are flooding back. Ah, the fun we had! We giggled, laughed, cried, shared secrets, and even occasionally yelled at each other. But we were always steadfast and loyal in our friendship.
With the onset of our early twenties those two silly teens were no longer inseparable as adulthood began pulling them in other directions. Eventually we were both busy working and raising our families and time was passing. Yet whether a week or a month or more had passed, our next conversation always picked up where it last left off. To this day we can sometimes talk for hours on the phone until our ears hurt! We still get together for a cuppa joe or lunch or an outing and once again we laugh, giggle, and sometimes even argue. In 2012 there are two white-haired girls with young souls trapped in old bodies that still get into some of the same tomfoolery from long ago. We might tell you about it one day. Or not.
It’s been 45 years since two teens bonded at a pajama party in that lovely rock house on Webster Street. One young girl (me) had her life transformed on January 25, 1967. From that day forward my teen years were blessed with joy. Janiece, if you are reading this, I want you to know that I don’t even want to think about how lonely and sad my high school years would have been if you had not been there to share it with me. Thank you, girlie! We will always be the best of forever friends!!
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I’ve also been reminiscing, pondering, and musing on these topics:
The lost art of letter writing
Cups for hot mochas.Say Good Night Gracie.
My first visit to the library with my Mama
Driving Mama over the Edge
It’s a Little Off the Wall
Crushing on The Professor
The Avocado Tree
From Baby Food Jars to Peanut Butter Jars
Theory of Pancake Relativity
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