05 July 2006

Chip and Dale Hit the Town

I spent Saturday shopping and lunching with Janice, my best friend in high school. I came home with bags of baubles, three writing journals, and a lot of good stories.

Janice and I met our first day of high school, in typing class. She was new to town, and I was ready for new friends. We were inseparable for four years. Teachers called us “Chip and Dale,” because we talked so fast when we were together — animated, colorful, giggly, silly.

Looks-wise, we were complete opposites. Janice had long, straight blonde hair, I had short, curly black hair. She had the T, I had the A.

Janice and (a slice of) me, our sophomore year
(Photo courtesy of the Panthera)

We loved boys, and music, and the soccer team, and boys, and coaches Sumara and Duncan, and boys, and each other. (God, yes, we were boy crazy.) I dumped two boys for her (Rick Brown, Janice? Were you crazy?), and she cried with me through dramatic heartaches that rivaled Douglas Sirk films. She was with me when I was first French kissed (Wayne Boylston, homecoming dance, sophomore year). We had different tastes in boys, so we never competed for the same affection. (Again, Janice, you dumped Rick Brown?)

How we got out of high school with nary a psychological scratch is beyond me. We put ourselves in many reckless and stupid situations — usually accompanied by Paige and Lorraine. We shared our first drunken moment. Our first police pullover (in the back of a car that was drag racin’ down South Cobb Drive, baby). That party with the soccer team, Paige, and Lorraine; Janice saved my virginity that night (damn her). My infamous night on Vinings Mountain. Drinking lemonade Slurpies and Johnny Walker before school every Friday of our senior year. Getting nailed by Mama for drinking, right after graduation. Those mountain boys, right after graduation.

Spending the night with Janice was always a treat. She had an older brother (I had such a secret crush on him; he was cute and cool and drove a motorcycle), a younger brother, a younger sister. Most times, all the kids hung around when I stayed over. We’d cook and goof and stay up way too late.

Several times a year, we’d get dolled up and Mama would take us somewhere nice for lunch. To this day, Janice and I both love the full restaurant experience; Mama taught us well.

The CHS Senior Courtyard
Janice is laughing, second from top right;
I'm on the left side of the bench, next to RCofCHS

As with many great high school friendships, we drifted apart after graduation. I went to Athens for college, she stayed in town to work. She fell in love and married a few years after graduation, and soon had two boys. I was still living the single life and discovering who I wanted to be. She divorced him, then got marriage right with the second one. We’d get together on occasion, but our lives were too different and we faded away. I think we last saw each other at her 30th birthday celebration. Maybe a Christmas card every couple of years, with empty promises to get together soon.

I found her a few years ago on Classmates.com. I could never remember her married name, and luckily she was listed. We began trading Christmas cards, then e-mails. We finally made plans for lunch about three years ago. She lives an hour away, in a college town. I was a little nervous on the drive there. What if we didn’t click? What was I going to say? Did I need notecards?

But Janice is still Janice. Straightforward, honest, funny, chatty, happy with who she is. We picked up like we’d just walked out of Coach Sumara’s class — Chip and Dale, talking without taking a breath. She’s happily married to her best friend, has raised three great boys (and I mean it; these boys are well-mannered, smart, and going places). She works for the university, and begins taking classes there this fall.

It’s wonderful when you discover that a friendship is real, no matter how many years separate you. Janice is a dear friend again (still), and I love every moment I spend with her.

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At 7/05/2006 06:40:00 AM, Blogger Jack Hartley said...

True friendship is a special thing.


Thanks for the comment on my blog.

At 7/05/2006 07:27:00 AM, Blogger Marni said...

You are one lucky chick... hold on to those friendships.

At 7/05/2006 07:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do you find these pictures? I remember now why you were selected for the Campbell newspaper and annual and why I wasn't. You bring back so many memories! I had a great time Saturday. Who knows what I was thinking about with Rick Brown. The other break up you took care of for me was Shawn (not Wheeler). You were and continue to be a great friend!


At 7/05/2006 08:59:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

I found the B&W one in the annual (sophomore year); that's why there's just a hint of my face. The only other picture of us together was in a group shot (language club, I think?). Surprisingly, I don't have any photos of us from then, other than the courtyard shot (I'll get a copy for you). We had a helluva good time in high school, didn't we?

At 7/05/2006 09:01:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

And I remember stomping Shawn Jarrett's heart for you, too. He ran around with Renae and Simeon and me in 1983 and 1984 ... have no idea where he flitted off to.

At 7/05/2006 10:50:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

Interesting post, as one of my best friends from high school was back in town from California over the weekend. We hung out on Saturday night, and it was just like old times. Very cool, indeed.

At 7/05/2006 11:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found and married my best friend 15 years ago. She was funny and caring and always about six degrees off center (which she needs to be from time to time). She loves music (only if it has words), enjoys the adventure of a good road trip (best when shopping is included), and has taught me the real meaning of unconditional love. "Best friends" are best friends because they each know what unconditional love is all about. I have never regretted my life choice with her. . . and really can't visualize a life without her. I am glad you and I share the same "best Friend". There are only a few like Janice in this world. Thanks for being a link to her past.
Be good to yourself. . . Dick

At 7/05/2006 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Peter Matthes said...

That was a nicely written piece about your friendship with Janice. It reminds me of some of my best friends growing up, and how life sometimes seems to change things little by little.

At 7/05/2006 05:59:00 PM, Blogger Benny said...

Oh my goodney! More photos!

You guys look like the cover of a Judy Blume novel. I'm so jealous! Hehe.

What are you going to do with the three notebooks?? :-)

At 7/05/2006 07:59:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

DICK: I cried when I read what you wrote. You make her very happy, and for that I love you.

HAAHNSTER and PETER: Isn't it great to have those friendships that just pick up where you left off?

B: I'm quite flattered that you see the Judy Blume in our flag corp photo! I think it's a cute picture of Janice, and shows the real her at that time. As for the notebooks, I have an online mentor who's pushing me to write ... so I'm putting a journal by my bed, in my purse ...


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