Happy 40th to Us!
Renae and I were destined for friendship. My mama went to high school with her mama, and her maternal grandmother grew up with my maternal grandfather. When we were kids, we used to tell people that we talked to each other through our mom’s bellybuttons when they were in school.
Broad Street, Downtown Athens
Renae’s Birthday, December 1983
We were wonderfully weird and nerdy when we were kids. I say “wonderfully” because we stayed kids as long as we could. We played in the creek and had great adventures and let our imaginations go wild. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we’re such creative souls today.
When we grew older, we spent most of our time walking around and around and around the block, talking and laughing and dreaming. But I have this problem. If I’m on your left side, I slowly drift toward you, eventually bumping into your left shoulder. I’m OK if I’m on your right side. And yet I always had to walk on her left side. How Renae can stand straight after years of shoulder collisions is beyond me.
We drifted apart a little in junior high and high school. We’d hang out some, but not as much as when we were kids. Later on, we’d see each other at Georgia State and do things on occasion (such as that drunken and disastrous “Rocky Horror Picture Show” with Holly). We reconnected during the spring of 1983.
Renae has brought a lot to my life. She opened up the world of art to me — from the Paul Klee poster hanging in her family’s home when we were kids, to art books and art discussions, to museums and galleries. Without Renae, I’d probably be stuck on Van Gogh (in 1984, Renae forbade me from buying yet another Van Gogh book — I had three — and I followed the rules) and would have missed out on so many artists I now love.
We’ve seen each other through loves and heartbreaks, career highs and lows, weddings and deaths. We’ve encouraged and pushed, advised and commiserated, bitched and moaned. I adore Renae, and look forward to another forty years with her.
To this day, my friendship with Renae is one of the most valuable things in my life. I’ll share some of our stories during the next few weeks as we celebrate our 40th.
*Holly: Our celebration comes in September 2008.
* * * * * *