At eight years old I routinely got myself dressed, marched alone to the end of the block where I attended Church. There I met my best childhood pal Toni. Eight months younger, one grade below me we forged a sweet long term relationship. The tallest, most mature girls for our age we managed to giggle our way in and out of lots of trouble.
As little girls we attended Sunday school, pioneer girls and youth groups together. We sang beautiful duets, chased the boys, and developed close relationships with a couple of the church moms who taught Sunday school.
By eleven we’d both developed into buxom, mischievous young women addicted to roller skating and boys. At twelve we attended a horrible island church camp, where three fifteen year old heathen boys from home appeared, sneaking us prohibited junk food as a reprieve from our oatmeal with powdered milk and mushy peas staple. Yuck, I still remember the letters home, begging for mothers worst home cooked meal, once detested, yet a thousand times better than the garbage allotted by the church camp.
Both of Ukrainian descent, we loved to make perohy (perogies) together, from scratch! Still a favorite! We could be seen spending a whole afternoon pinching dough at our kitchen table. We slept at each others homes all summer long. Toni joined our yearly camping trip to the Okanagan; we shared secrets, fantasies, and many late nights laughing.
Her dad took us to a cabin at
Looking for a quick buzz, and a pound of courage at thirteen we'd split a Mickey of vodka, chugging it without mix over a toilet at the Coffee house, a Friday night teen haunt where local bands played weekly. We crunched oodles of white, pink or green mints attempting to camouflage the smell of liquor while awaiting the eleven o’clock ride home from my dad. Acting sober became an art.
My only downfall was boys, I'd do anything to be in their company. Hard to beleive it's the last thing on my mind now! Slightly more roguish my friend Toni had no qualms about stealing candy from the local supermarket. I was the big chicken, making sure to be no where in sight of her thieving escapades. She often stole clothes from department stores too, offering to steal some for me too. Horrified, I declined, waiting outside by a bus stop. I never understood why she felt the need to pillage. She was always given more money than me, got better gifts at Christmas, had nicer clothes. Still she felt the need to take what she wanted. In retrospect I think there were big silences in the home, peppered with inaccurate accusations from parents sleeping in separate bedrooms.
At fourteen we became a little more competitive. More buxom than me, with longer legs the boys preferred her figure, still, with short legs, a tiny waist, the nickname buns; I won them over with my jovial personality and humor! A notorious flirt with the ability for intimate conversation I was always surprised at how much the boys liked me. My friend was more sarcastic. The contemptible sarcasm inherited from her judgmental father was the eventual demise of our friendship.
Toni stood up for me at my wedding for sentimental reasons; then I moved away and never saw her again. I read she was managing a hotel restaurant in Vancouver. I often wonder what happened to her, so I recently did a google search to find her dad had died; she was living on the same island her dad took us fishing, married later in life, she has two daughters with very unique names. Which didn’t surprise me, because at ten years old, insistent our kids would have exclusive names; I picked
When Toni was young she was an exceptional writer, far superior to anything I could ever hope to pen. It was her birthday on Tuesday, I think of her every year around this time. She'd be fifty one now, I can’t help but wonder how she is, and if she has a blog?