3/15/14

A "Freshman Project" Remembers

I was the "Freshman Project."  I had the misfortune fo being assigned to a high school lunch period bare of my usual friends.  For weeks, I dreaded midday and the prospect of walking into a room filled with unfamiliar faces and full tables. . . till I met B.  She took me in, after confering with her friends, tablemates, fellow juniors, and it was not long before I was affably being referred to as their "Freshman Project".  They joked with me about it daily, as it was a 'risk' to take in a Freshman.  One friend cautioned, "What if you do something foolish to draw attention to our table?"  We seemed to share the same goal of staying off the radar of tormenters and bullies and anyone who might cause us grief, so the arrangement worked out.  They even taught me where the safe bathroom was, after I unknowingly caused a raukous walking into the "smoking room" and one of them saved my butt, with a casual, "She's cool. . ."

B was the one though who really befriended me.  I think they all did, but she is the one who would call me up, she had a mission her favorite shampoo is on sale at Caldor's, or her Dad would like some icecream.  Sometimes we would just hang out at her house.  She lived at the other end of my street in an old farmhouse like the kind I can imagine in a painting nestled among maple trees with the sun dappling its white symetrical facade with one big door in the middle that noone ever used.  I loved going there, parking my bike next to her dad's station wagon in the yard, I would head toward the kitchen door that opened into the past.  Her mom was always in the kitchen where a huge cast iron, wood burning cookstove dominated the right side of the room.  Cookware hung overhead from iron hooks.  Wide wooden beams above and creaky floorboards beneath our feet embraced us while we talked, surrounded by shelves of cookbooks, nic knacks, and the history of an old house.

As the year went on we spent more time together, driving through Hamp, listening to music with the windows down, (and heat on if it was chilly), and laughing about the sights in the college town.  We went to the beach, she was always good at gathering a group of people together, and always always to get an icecream for her Dad, (us too of course).  Sometimes we would just "hang out" and listen to music, Madonna, Elton John and Chicago were some of our favorites.  She dreamed of getting married one day to the sound of Chicago, maybe "You're the meaning in my life. . . ", while the sun shone through the metal blinds in her room with her very tall old bed, with a rolling chest below, and all the paraphanalia of a teenage girl of the 80's.  This Freshman Project was even invited to a New Year's Eve of music, laughter, and George Carlin imitations, (which won't be repeated  on such a wholesome blog as this!)

We remained friends after she graduated high school two years later.  She would call when she was home from college.  I even made a few treks up to her college dorm.  Boys began to get in the way, monopolize our time.  She wrote me letters when i went off to school, but I was terrible at melding my two lives and keeping up with both while doing schoolwork.  I had a dreadful boyfriend at the time, and wish I had talked to her about him.  I am sure she would've said he wasn't worth it, and it could have saved me a troublesome two years.  But instead, I just faded away from the hometown and street that brought us together, and didn't look back.  Only, I did look back, and do look back, and think to myself about what became of an old friend.  I even thought of inviting her to my own wedding, it was not really big, but we promised we would be there for each other one day.  It was so long ago. . .I worried she wouldn't remember. . . Still sometimes I wonder still if she ever thinks about the Freshman Project.



8 comments:

Lisa said...

I love this post and the idea of being a project just made me laugh. Thanks for a great memory.

Vanessa Worrell said...

We tried to do this at our middle school, but only for one lunch period. It was not successful to say the least. Love how you show the progression of the friendship as it grows and then fades away, yet not forgotten. Wonderful!

Shari Daniels said...

Your post was a perfect tribute to a friend that made an impact in our lives, whether they knew it or not. It would be wonderful if B could read your note of appreciation and reflections of the long lost friendship.

You made me think of my own long lost friend from college - back in 1985. How do we lose touch with such important friends to us at the time? And, I wonder if, with today's technology, this just might change. I hope so. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Shari Daniels said...

Your post was a perfect tribute to a friend that made an impact in our lives, whether they knew it or not. It would be wonderful if B could read your note of appreciation and reflections of the long lost friendship.

You made me think of my own long lost friend from college - back in 1985. How do we lose touch with such important friends to us at the time? And, I wonder if, with today's technology, this just might change. I hope so. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Amy Boyden said...

Thank you! I was trying to show the progression and glad to hear it came through.

Amy Boyden said...

I wonder the same thing about the effect of technology now on friendships. Thank you for leaving this comment, helps me see that my intent and product are aligned! Success :-)

Tara Smith said...

I loved following the progress of this friendship...all the way to your reflective ending. It's so easy to re=connect in this day of social media - perhaps it's worth a try? You could link her to your lovely slice.

Darlene Mitchell said...

What an amazing piece....and very timely, as recently I've been reflecting on my own life, and friendships that I miss ....I am a sucker for happy endings, and hope you reconnect with your friend.....Wouldn't THAT be a wonderful slice of life?? :-)