Nicknames and best friends.

I had neither.

I know that sometimes nicknames are cruel and kids use them as a way to tease one another but I don’t remember hearing many of those. I do remember hearing those shortened versions of a name, those fun and sometimes funny names that were obviously bestowed upon a friend with whom there was a shared memory or two, a history. I so wanted that. Somehow in my head a nickname meant you belonged somewhere, that people noticed you when you were there and would notice when you were gone. As it was I drifted on the sidelines.

Best friends. The partner in crime and tears through-out childhood. Or so I’m told. Since we lived with my grandmother for most of my childhood, we were in the old folks neighborhood and I was the only kid around. There were people at school I hung around with but after school they all walked home together to their neighborhoods, playing outside, together, until they were called for dinner. Sometimes I went to play with Teresa and Leanne but it was obvious they had a special relationship because they lived close. Kathleen was a friend because her mother and my mother were best friends. So we would play together when they got together but otherwise didn’t know much about what was going on in each other’s lives. For a while Jan lived next door, maybe a year or two, and I tried so hard to be her friend but it didn’t fly, didn’t last.

There was one girl that I think was my best friend at the time, those two years in Junior High, Jane Beesley. Or maybe it was Beasley. I don’t remember. We spent all our time together and then she moved to go to school in Pleasant Hill and I stayed in Concord. We wrote letters, old fashioned handwritten letters that have been lost in one of my many moves. After my freshman year of high school the letters stopped and I don’t know what happened to her. I’ve tried to find her via the reunion sites and such but no luck.

In high school there were people I knew, people I ate lunch with, people I did a few things with, but no one that wanted to be my special friend. (I am not posting this for anyone to feel sorry for me. This is just me remembering things.) The adult me can look back at the young me and realize that I was so afraid all the time that I probably telegraphed that and sent out “keep away” vibes.

Your turn. Did you have a nickname? A best friend? What do you remember?