When I was a wee lad, way back before I even remember too much, I had a friend. A girl. I think we must have gotten together before I could even remember because I don’t remember meeting her…she was just always there. I don’t think she’ll mind me using her name. It was Myra. Myra Ann. Of course she had a last name but I won’t use that, even though by now it has changed…her being a girl and all. Girls you know, still take the name of their husbands for the most part. I think our parents must have been friends because I remember dining at their house with family some times, and their family coming to our house the same. I do know that our families belonged to the same church, and of course back then, church and church events were a large part of almost everybody’s lives. They definitely were a large part of our life, to the extent that we were the kind of family that went to every church service and every church event. Sunday school, Sunday church service, Sunday evening service, Wednesday evening service, and when I got old enough, Sunday evening youth service, and some kind of study group for kids to learn about the Bible and church and religion and stuff. And there were weddings and funerals and revival meetings. Oh those revival meetings, when we got to attend all the regular services, PLUS the revival service every night of the week! And there were more fun things also.
I remember that regularly the church adults would get together and make the very best donuts I’ve ever had in my whole life…at least that’s how I remember them. When you get them fresh and warm and covered in sugar, they would melt in your mouth. We kids would be the delivery people for the hot, fresh donuts. Not only the church people, but people all over town looked forward to these yeast donuts. People would phone in or walk in their orders, or they would have already made their orders the weeks before, or whatever, but as soon as some became available, they would write a name on the front of the bag, and one of us kids would either walk them over, or if it was a little farther away, one of the bigger kids would whisk them safely to their destination on their bikes.
I think donut day had to be my favorite event of the years. They may even have done it more than once a year. I don’t remember it all.
Then there was the rummage sales, again, at least once a year, but maybe more. They called them White Elephant Sales back then. The story goes that anything extra you had around your house that you didn’t want or need or use, was referred to as a “white elephant”. When it came time to gather things for the sale, the word would go out for people to bring in all their ‘white elephants”. Everybody knew what that meant.
But it was a big old used things sale to me, and I very much looked forward to that also. We never had much money around our house, or maybe it just seemed that way because we had eight kids in the family. I never really felt like we were poor, because I understood even at that young age that with eight kids, we weren’t going to have a lot of the extra things like some of the other families in town had. That was ok for the most part. There were always a lot of toys around, because each kid had some toys, and after the new wore off, it was like all the toys became community property. But let’s get back to the White Elephant Sale.
Mom and Dad were very active in the church, so we got to come in and look at all the stuff while they were getting it set up. And if you spotted something that you really wanted you could plan on how to place it so that you got there and found it before anybody else got a hold of it. The catch was…money. In the same way we didn’t have a lot of things, we didn’t have a lot of money. I remember my allowance seemed to be stuck on ten cents for…forever. I think i might have got to a quarter by the time I reached my late grade school years. So it wasn’t like we could just go and ask Mom and Dad for some extra money. They had a use already for all their money. But that is a whole other story.
What I am primarily talking about is that we spent a lot of time at church events. Besides the events I’ve already mentioned their were also potlucks, bean suppers, chili suppers, church picnics, and god knows what else. (See what I did there with that God knows thing.)
In my preschool years, I seem to remember having Myra around a lot. if she wasn’t at our house, I would be at their house. It seemed like all the time. And when we weren’t together, I remember asking if I could go over there. What I don’t remember clearly is the time lines. I do remember spending a lot of time with her at church and at her house before our school years, and I don’t think it was until we got into school that we started having other people in our lives, other friends. So I think, that our friendship was formed and sealed in those early years almost before we knew what was going on.
And to make that part of our life even more…significant…she moved away from our little world when she was just eight years old. I think our family may have visited her family in her new town within a year or so, but I don’t remember visiting her at all after that…ever again. Life went on for both our families in our own now different communities, and we just didn’t go that much except to family gatherings for the most part. So I didn’t see Myra again except that one time.
And I haven’t seen her again since we were 8 years old. By my calculations, that’s 56 years ago. That’s a hell of a long time!
I always wondered what happened to her. I asked about her from time to time, but no one else knew what happened to her either. and when this new thing called Facebook came along, I tried again to find her. But with the names changed for females, it was a long shot. I didn’t find her. Until just recently.
I connected with some of my family who also lived in Worden where we grew up, and if you know how FB works, you know they stretch your connections, by showing you friends of friends of friends and such. And somewhere along the line, her older brother, who was the same age as one of my older brothers and more importantly, my cousins in Worden, was shown as a friend of a friend.
So I sent him a note, telling him who I was, and asking about his sister, Myra. Even if she was still alive, which is truly a hazard to be considered in 56 years of not having seen each other. It took a while for him to get back to me, and I began to wonder if he would, but finally, he sent me her email, and I wrote her a note as quickly as I could.
Long story short, we connected. And…though it seems somehow strange to me…and yet at the same time…not so strange…we appear to still have some kind of connection…that allows us to have begun a dialogue about…about our lives, and life in general. As I say, though it seems somehow strange to me, it also seems somehow…as it should be.
And perhaps we’ll even meet again some day…
Chuck, you seemed to have forgotten my favorite church event–ice cream socials, with the lights strung up on poles in the sideyard and that it went on until at least dark. I remember sitting on the ice cream freezers as they mixed the cream and sugar and (of course) strawberries. There was peach, too, and berry, as I recall. But strawberry was my favorite. Love, Myra Ann