Monday, June 11, 2012


I remember the day we first met.  I was six years old and nearing the end of my kindergarten year.  I only went to school in the mornings then, and when my mom picked me up she told me about a new family that had moved to the neighborhood.

"They have a daughter your age.  You should go over and see if she would like to play"

When you're in kindergarten, that means, "After lunch, you're going to that new girl's house and asking her to play".

So that's exactly what I did.  I still remember what I was wearing - my favorite knit dress (red, and not froo froo), knee socks, and white sneakers.

I remember climbing the tall stairs to her porch and feeling a little self-conscious because I was showing up solo.  I also remember being curious as to what she was like, so after a moment's pause, I pushed the doorbell button.

Denise and I became best friends from that day forward.  We played at each others' houses, we walked to and from school together.  We traded Barbie clothes.  We got go-go boots together.  She was the oldest of four.  Sometimes her younger sister would play with us too, but Denise and I were inseparable,

Until second grade.

We were walking to school one day, and Denise was uncharacteristically quiet.  Then she told me that her dad got a new job in another state.  They were moving.

I didn't know what to say.  Denise began to tear up.  I tried to act like I was okay with it, but I wasn't.  When we got to school, we hung up our coats in silence.  I walked into the classroom to find Denise sobbing in the arms of our teacher.

The day they left, the family stopped by our house to say last good-byes.  I stood out in my front yard with my parents and brother, a bit stoic and not saying much.  Then they drove off in their stuffed tank of a 70's American car.

There were a few letters in the years that followed, with enclosed school photos and such, but that really didn't last long.  Despite our sadness at first, we were able to move on.  After she left, I was the sole girl in the neighborhood and became the resident tomboy.   I would still think of her often though, and remember those good times.  Luckily, around 6th grade, my boundaries had grown and there were other girls to hang out with when I wasn't at school.  This came just in time for puberty, which was a good thing because it was starting to feel weird playing with the neighbor boys all the time.

Earlier today, I read a blog post about a woman who went looking for a long lost friend by simply googling her, and I got to thinking about Denise.  I googled and found her on Linkedin.

I saw her face after all of these years and knew instantly that it was her.  Those same smiling eyes.  I thought, "Should I contact her?". I know nothing about her anymore, other than the professional stuff on her Linkedin profile.

Then I thought, "What the h", and hit the "connect" button.

I feel like that girl in the red dress, ringing that doorbell.


terri said...

COOL! You're going to contact her! She'll be thrilled to hear from you, I'm sure.

This could have been my story. There was one other girl in the neighborhood when I was in Kindergarten also, and we became best friends. Her family moved when we were in third grade, so I had one extra year with my friend. We also kept in touch for a few years and then drifted apart. I've googled her a few times to no avail. But late last week, I tried her name again on Facebook and this time it popped up. No pics though, so I'm not nearly as certain that I've found my friend as you are of finding yours.

I'll be curious to hear how this turns out and if you're able to renew a long-lost friendship.

ShadowRun300 said...

Oh, I really hope she gets in touch with you! I grew up in the military and we moved every three years. There are many people I would like to reconnect with, or at least find out where they are and what they are doing.
Keep us updated!!

agg79 said...

Wow. After all those years, finally able to reach out via the net and find a long lost friend. I am dying to hear how she answers that doorbell. Good luck.

Scott said...

That's beautiful! Please keep us posted!

Rebecca S. said...

Great post Abby - I love the last line, especially after you told us the story. It gave me goosebumps! I hope you do reconnect and pick up where you left off, apart from the outfit which might look at little odd now :)

lotta joy said...

Oh I'm hoping. I was trying to figure out how to track down a person in Perth Australia and all I had was her first name. A reader of mine found her, and set up the contact for us. Unbelievable what some people can accomplish.

Judy said...

YAY! Great story! I have actually reconnected with several lost-childhood-friends and it has been so fun - almost like we never were apart.

Hope she responds!

LL Cool Joe said...

I'm a bit of a cynic, okay a big cynic, and tend to feel that things in the past should be left there, so I hope you prove me wrong!