I'm back in my hometown, Carthage Illinois, for a few more hours. I've been around for over a week. Probably the best place to celebrate a Fourth of July is in a little Midwestern town in the middle of corn fields. There was a street dance and a parade and lots of food and fireworks, of course. Great good fun.
Of course, I haven't been back for a while so lots of folks didn't recognize me at first.
They'd say, "Weren't you Nancy's sister?" expressing some amount of disbelief. To this I'd answer, "Oh, yes, Nancy. Poor thing. But really, she's not nearly so ugly now."
(My sister was and is gorgeous)
My favorite is all the people who came up to me and said, "Oh, you're Phyllis Campbell, I remember you! You used to be so cute!"
Excuse me? Used to be? Well, ok, I can see their point. I used to be cute, and now I'm hot and beautiful. That must be what they are talking about. Cause Babies, it's true. I'm fully expecting 55, an age which I'll become in a matter of days, to be the slickest year yet.
I can't imagine what could be better than being 55. I still got it and I know how to use it. Life is grand! The best part is that I'm not in competition with anyone anymore. I know what I'm good at and I know what I'm not good at and what the heck, if it makes me happy I'll do the not-good-at things with gusto. If I would have had this confidence when I was young, I would have been. . . .
Oh, who cares. The important thing is that every single event that I've lived has led me to (drum roll please) this living example of the Goddess I am today!
I got to see Richard, Mike. Roger, Shirli, Sherry, other classmates whom I believe have learned the secret. I talked with Amy, Dean, Brucie (just love him) Deborah Kay, Little Ricky, Robbie, and lots of people who were in other classes. I could just hug them and hug them. How fun to see us all grown up. And now it doesn't matter who's got the cool clothes, who has the clear skin or the longest hair or the nicest car or gets the best grades. I don't remember who was a cheerleader.
But mostly, I got to hang with my girls. When you've known someone since age 3 and have always had a special language; when you know their ickiest secrets and they know yours; when you've had angry times, and sad times, and silly times, and lonely times and somehow stuck together through it all - when you don't try to suck in your tummy or even have to put on makeup to sit comfortably with them - when you carry them daily in your heart and in your mind and in your soul - those are friends.
And it's not because we have that much in common. We live in different states. Jac has been married for a gazillion years to the same really cool guy. Graham has never married, and I have got the marriage thing well practiced. No one brags about our marital status and I know we can all see the advantages in all situations.
We've all had very different experiences in life. Whew! And among us, we've covered enough experiences to keep a novelist quite happy for volumes. We are different shapes and sizes, though we are all beautiful and perfect. What we have in common is Carthage Illinois. Go figure.
I can (and have) made and received phone calls from these women at what would be considered inappropriate times by other people without a second thought. I have verbally cut down people who've said bad things about them and I'm sure they've done the same for me. Heck, I've even been in (a much exaggerated, but nonetheless true) bar fight defending one of them. I would gladly kick ass and take names for these women, or fly cross country to be with them, or give them my last piece of chewing gum.
Being with them is precious and I'm so, so glad to have had this time. I don't need a therapist, I've got my girls! Graham, Jac, I love you.