Friday, September 7, 2007

Z is for Zoe

blogger's note: I don't know if I will do the ABC blog like everyone else seems to be doing. But this title seemed very appropriate, and besides, I chose one of the hardest letters to start with. Funny, my name starts with an A and hers with a Z.

My best friend, growing up was Zoe. She was that perfect friend, that you love so much, because she is so kind, beautiful, sweet, and has the most musical voice in the world. Even her laugh is like a song.
We were inseparable from the time we met, when we were 5. Our birthdays are only two weeks and a few days apart. We were pretty much the same size, and could wear each other's clothes. We grew up attending a tiny 4 room, 8 grade country school that had those old-fashioned desks on runners with the ink holes.
Our Principal, Mr. Gauthier was the 7th and 8th grade teacher. We had a hot lunch room in the basement. Mrs. Lolis was our cook and made delicious meals, except for the cheese which gave me the shudders and I would stuff into my milk carton (we had to clean our plates) so I could go to recess.

Mr. Gauthier (pronounced Goat ee ay), taught us about soccer, long before the nation had ever thought of playing it here in the US. He sponsored a kite-building/flying day one time. We always had a baseball game going on.

He used to teach Zoe how to do tricks on the high bar. I didn't have the nerve to do these things, but she got so she could swing from her knees so high that she could come up parallel to the ground, her face facing the ground and then let go with her knees and land on her feet. Later Mr. Gauthier moved to the Jr. High, and he formed an after-school gymnastics group which we belonged to, and we learned things on the mat and horse. Zoe was always better and could do beautiful walk-overs and flips.
We always tried to choose our desks near each other, in every grade. I remember 4th grade, Mrs. Heffley caught us giggling and not doing our math. She sent us to the Principal, which happened to be the 7th and 8th Graders room, because that is what he taught. We had to write our times tables (1 to 12) on the board in front of the 7th and 8th Graders. That was horrifying. We LEARNED our times tables overnight, and never had another problem with them.

We played hopscotch and jump rope most of the recesses. One time when we were in 2nd grade, a girl was visiting Zoe from the city. She and Zoe were turning the rope when I came out. I asked if I could play, the city girl said NO. I turned around and went back into the school room, saddened by this. Zoe dropped the rope, leaving CityGirl to stand with the limp rope in her hands, and hurried to my side. I was surprised half-way across the 1st and 2nd grade room to have her arm around me, hurrying me towards the bathroom and whispering in my ear, "just blink fast, and the tears won't come." This is an example of her kindness.

Zoe lived one mile west of the school, and I lived one mile east of the school. We walked to school, and on Fridays, we usually took turns going to each other's houses and spending the night.

I loved going to her house, for many reasons, but one was that she had this wonderful box of dress up clothes. She also had a swimming hole with a diving board. It was a pond, and it seemed pretty deep, but I have no idea. It was located way out back of her house, near the chicken house. I remember finding a rotten egg and throwing it at the chicken house and both of us being really sorry we did that.

Another reason was her cousin, Analou, who sometimes visited. She was much older and she used to tell us these amazing epic stories. I wonder if she ever wrote these great stories down. They would have made a wonderful book.

Her father was an amazing pianist. They had two pianos! A Grand piano was in the sun room, and an upright was in the living room. He would play that piano, and I was so amazed. He was very strict, and we all had to be proper at the table, not speaking while eating, and using cloth napkins. Once, her older brother, catapulted a pea with his fork, when his dad wasn't looking while he was dishing us all up. We all had to bite our lips to keep from laughing. We had to ask to be excused at the end of the meal, and stack our dishes at the sink. Their family was so amazing. Her older sister could have been her twin. Both had thick brown hair plaited into two beautiful braids that went clear down their backs, and the most beautiful sparkly hazel blue eyes and those musical voices. I always wanted to be just like her. She had two younger brothers as well who were really nice kids and great teases. Her mom was so beautiful. She went prematurely gray at age 20. The girls got their beauty from their mother. She was a very elegant woman, and I always hoped I would grow up to be like her.

When Zoe came to my house, we usually would play Barbies. Once our Barbies were flying, in the Super-Man position, hands extended, horizontal, and in some sort of rush to get there (where? I don't know). We grabbed the weight-bearing pole in the middle of the room with one hand, and the doll was in the other hand, and run as fast as we could, hanging onto the pole and going round and round. Each round represented a mile. So her doll was about 3 miles ahead. There was no way to overtake and pass her, since she was in front of me. We were "flying" for about 30 or 40 miles, and for some reason, my foot and hers got entangled, and I tripped. I went down and as I hit the linoleum-covered concrete floor, I saw my brand new permanent front tooth fly out ahead of me across the floor.

Mom was baking bread and grabbed us both and hurried us to the dentist, about 5 miles away. A police man stopped her and she was crying, telling him her bread was baking in the oven and I had broken my tooth. He let her go.
I don't remember what happened to the bread, or Zoe, but I ended up with a temporary cap, which proceeded to fall off the rest of my life. I would then have this snaggly look, so I wouldn't talk or smile whenever I was waiting for a new cap to be made and put on. I remember Dr. Pyle greeted us and his face just fell when he saw my broken tooth. He had always commented on my beautiful teeth. In my 4th grade picture, I am not smiling. I couldn't eat Black Cow suckers any more.

I remember one sad day in about 4th or 5th grade, Zoe pulled me aside and told me that her parents were getting a divorce. That word was almost unheard of, and we were heart broken. We remained friends, of course until we got to Jr. High. Then we were separated by classes and a different circle of friends, for the rest of our school careers. This always made me sad, but I didn't know how to change it.

We have kept in touch on and off in our adult lives. She and I found the same Church and joined it somewhere along our way, and discovered that fact later. She still has her childhood phone number, I know it by heart. I should call her more often, no excuses. Her voice is still musical, her hair has gone to a beautiful salt and pepper gray, her eyes a sparkly hazel blue and she is still as beautiful as ever. She says she LOVES being her age. She always has such a positive attitude. She is still that perfect person I look up to. She has married the PERFECT man for her and had two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. Her husband is as kind and good as she is.

I imagine, that even though we are separated by miles on this earth, that we are still connected, in kind of an "honorary sister" way, and in Heaven we will be with-in walking distance of one another. Still one the very best friends I have ever had.

I hope one of my children names a daughter after her. I love that name.


Sailor said...

Hi Annie (LL),
Yes, Gary will be here Monday. :)

What a nice tribute of memories for a life long friend. She is one of those friends that are like riding a bike. You might not see them for several years, but the friendship is warm and picks up right where you left off.

Katie said...

mom-conor wants to name one of our girls zoe. so it could be us. ;)

Kay Dennison said...

Nothing like lifelong friends! You are blessed to have one!!!

RisibleGirl said...

Wowzers, that's a really long friendship! I have to admit that I've only one friend that goes 'way back' to college days (BYU, ever heard of it? Tee hee).

That's the oldest friendship I have (except my sis). The rest of my friendships are at most, 15 years, and tend to stem from work.

Loser of a friend and workaholic.


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