"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff



Monday, June 20, 2011

Does Anyone Remember Four?


L-R: My brother Matt, Kimmy, Me

I guess it's been almost 30 years! Hard to believe. I still call her Kimmy. She still calls me Ann-marie. That's how we knew each other back in the day. Considering I don't remember much of the first twelve years of childhood, she is the largest portion of that, which ain't saying much. My memory sucks. I didn't remember she came to my wedding! (embarrassing) "I brought my boyfriend at the time" she says, chastising my memory, "...a horrid guy that talked and walked like a mobster! And....I spent $33.00 on a beige vase that looked like this (forming the shape of a woman with her hands). I don't know why I bought it. But I sure remember how much it cost. I couldn't afford it."  I look at her apologetically. "It's still sitting on my kitchen table!" I blatantly lie. She laughs. Knows it isn't true.

We order our food. Her daughter got to order the perfectly sized portion of Fettucini Alfredo because she's a kid. We have to order the overly sized-pay-too-much for it portions because we're adults...only we aren't. We are both kids...she still...me becoming. My polenta was disgusting. "Send it back" Kimmy says. I sigh. "I'm not the type to send food back" I say. "Well..." she says, "lucky for you...I am!" My food goes back and the price is removed from the bill. I am watching Kimmy's facial expressions, and the timbre of her voice...the way it rises and falls, the way her hands move across the table. It is all so familiar. I consider that she really was a lifeline for me at one time. A strong, immeasurably assuring, solid girl...firm in herself. We are the same age. She always seemed older. Even she thought she was.

"I don't remember any of the other mothers", Kimmy says, "...but I remember Lucille."  I ask her why. She thought, thinks, remembers, knows, my mom is "scary". She remembers always being in trouble at my house. "You don't remember us dancing around the bedroom with only our shirts on and singing?" she asks. No. I don't. I was four. Does anyone remember four? Kimmy does. "You're mom was just beside herself that we would do such a thing. She yelled at us and sent me home right away."

Kimmy remembers driving places with us. She and I would always be in the back seat. She said, "You don't remember how your mom would always look at you in the rear view mirror and say, "Smile Ann-Marie?"  No, I don't. I was four. Does anyone remember four? Kimmy does. "You would always smile obediently", she said. I say, "I have so many pictures of me as a child where the smile never reached my eyes."  Kimmy's daughter questions this, and Kimmy explains that you can tell when a smile is not genuine. Her daughter nods. She is almost nine. Does she remember four? Nobody remembers four. Right?

I do remember Kimmy and I singing on the swings in my backyard, legs pumping, arms straining, singing and singing and singing. We talk about this and wind up breaking into song: You Are My Sunshine....two parts. We finish a few verses and the whole restaurant claps. "Are you two sisters?" the waitress asks. We laugh. Kimmy says to me, "I love you, you know! I wasn't sure what you'd be like now. But I feel like we just picked up where we left off." I nod. It's true. I trust her. Hard to imagine that I do, but I sense she had my back at four. I sense I wouldn't have made it through those years without her. I sense she'd still be there for me if I needed her.

"We can't go another 30 years!" She says.

"No, we can't."

Me and Kimmy now

15 comments:

  1. It can be so wonderful to discover a childhood again through another's eyes! What fun the two of you must have had sharing!

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  2. i am going to gather wood for that durned camfire,,,

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  3. What a great photo!! I will wish for another 30 years for you two...

    ~shoes~

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  4. Missing - That we did! Four hours passed in a heartbeat!

    Glenn - We all have so many stories to tell. Better gather quite a bit! I'll bring the 'shmellows :)

    Shoes - Me too. Another 30 years and the both of us will need our walkers.

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  5. annie, i love how you wrote this, the repitition of does anyone remember four? it's intriguing to think of what someone else might remember of our lives. sometimes even my mom surprises me, one of my memories tweaked. when i burned those journals even i defied some of my own memories. that's unsettling! but here you are, the two of you, kim so willing to be strong for you. it's wonderful. makes me wonder on design, how she was there for you.

    damn, she asked you to smile on demand? yikes. man.

    xo
    erin

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  6. For all that wasn’t remembered, this post tell as wonderful story. To have someone from so early in life that experienced the same, is to be savored.
    I remember all the insignificant things when I was four, more than what happened yesterday, or the day before.

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  7. I am touched, very touched, yes m'dear I remember 4 and I wish I didn't, you both look beautiful!

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  8. What a wonderful story. I am pleased that you had a good visit. You both look lovely. Respectfully,
    Travs

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  9. What a wonderful treat to rediscover an old friend!! Y'all take a great picture. I found a childhood friend via Facebook and it is indeed sweet to know someone besides my family who remembers me 'back when'. Beautiful, happy post, Ms. Annie!!

    Love you,
    Marion

    P.S. Got your thoughtful, amazing package and already sent you something via snail mail, too. xoxo

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  10. I think I remember four. My best friend was the girl next door. When we were together there was no room for anyone else. We'd always pick each other which caused considerable jelaousy among the other kids. I always felt I could trust her. With the others, we could be best friends one moment only to turn on each other the next; and I was often the one left standing alone. She never did that. She'd pull me away, saying: "Lets go, Andreas, we don't need them". I think it's the purest love I've ever known. Nothing like it since; I feel like not even my mother loves me as unconditionally. Maybe I'm being too idealistic; maybe I don't remember four. Anyway, she moved away when we were six. Must have shattered my world, although I don't remember how I felt, which is never a good sign.

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  11. I'm out of town until later in the week and too damn old to type on this little phone for more that a sentence or two! Will get back y'all later : )

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  12. You two haven't changed that much... if the pictures are anything to go by.

    As a person with very few old roots, I always feel especial proxy enjoyment when I hear about people I like enjoying theirs.
    Strong old roots help trees weather storms, and help keep the soil in place.

    The crazy rootless birds just ride the storms and find themselves on distant planets, arm-wrestling little princes...

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  13. i remember when i was five only because i was standing at the top of the basement stairs announcing that i was in fact five. what a treat to follow this thread to the photo and conclusion. lovely.

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  14. i love this. you said 'you are my sunshine' and it caught my breath. when i was four my father moved out and he sang that song to me every sunday evening when he'd drive me back to my mother's home. that's all i remember about four.

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  15. Wow, I missed the bottom pick of these two GORGEOUS woman because I was on vacation in MAURITIUS! I guess that I should not go traveling so far away in the future.


    nah - Mauritius was the BOMB!

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Thank you for listening.