By Every Family’s Got One Producer — Barbara Herel
The dismissal bell sounded and the hallway instantaneously filled with the sights, smells, and the carryings-on of the cool, sort-of-cool, and not-so-cool tweens and teens of junior high.
Hence the “smells.” (My 13-year-old self landed squarely in the middle of “sort-of” and I’m fairly certain I smelled AOK for the most part. My worst offense being: a heavy hand with the Jean Nate After Bath Splash.)
That’s when I saw her walking my way…
Green-ribbed turtleneck, short sleeves
Black and green plaid bell-bottomed pants
The blondiest of blondie blonde hair
Styled in the most perfect Farrah Faucet flip
her name was Dawn.
I didn’t really know Dawn. I knew “of her” and that she was unmistakably cool.
Besides her dreamy looks, Dawn could sing and play guitar. She performed “Lying Eyes” by the Eagles in the talent show. I can’t remember if she won or not. But she should have won if she didn’t.
Dawn was also amazingly artistic as in “Oh I think I’ll paint on my Levi’s jean jacket” and suddenly the back of her denim was transformed into the Steve Miller Band Pegasus album cover.
Dawn was smart, funny, and kind. Every boy wanted to “go out with her.” And if they couldn’t, they were happy enough to be her friend.
I met Dawn in 7th-grade honors English. She was introduced to me as “the best friend” of a friend of mine. I immediately felt a pang of surprise because as she and I said “Hi” to each other I thought to myself…
“Oh my God, I just met my best friend!”
As an adult, I know that sounds a wee bit stalker-ish. But as a teenage girl, it was nothing more than that insistent knowing. Like you get when falling in love with Steve McQueen – that girls who were destined to be best friends knew they were meant to be best friends, even if it was just one-sided at the moment.
Had I said it out loud, I might have pulled back. I’m glad I didn’t say it out loud. Because Dawn and I became fast friends.
Then as I predicted, best friends, doing what best friends did best…
Eat lunch together
Hang out after school
Call each other after we got home from hanging out after school
Walk miles around town singing “Miss You” by the Stones at the top of our lungs
Trust each other with secrets and nonsense that wasn’t nonsense to us, like boys and Ouija Boards.
Laugh until we couldn’t breathe.
42 years later…
Dawn is still my best friend.
We survived junior high, high school, college, excessive dancing, boys, men… we’ve shared no less than a gazillion life-altering and non-special moments over the years.
She’s the one who would help me move the body if necessary and I’d do the same for her.
She’s still every bit as cool and every bit as talented. And I’ll tell you another thing, as I write this…
I’m falling in love all over again with my best friend, Dawn.
Your turn. Sing me the praises about your best friend.