ENG 162 Fall 2013

ENG 162 at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor ME, taught by John A. (Don't ever, ever ask!) Goldfine johngoldfine@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Piece of the week, so far: character

I the first time I met her was in kindergarten; they called her DeeDee and I always admired her, she seemed so happy and carefree. We ended up taking the same class’s together right through 8th grade and became good friends I think around 4th grade. As far as I was concerned she was my best friend, but she was actually more than that; she was kind of my protector, she always stood up for me all the time especially when the other kids teased me, which was often. I was from a very poor family; DeeDee’s family on the other hand was well off financially.

Needless to say, kids can be cruel and they were relentless. They made fun of my clothing, my hair style, anything and everything because I didn’t wear the name brands and get my hair done at the beauty parlor. Not only did I have to wear hand-me-downs; I had a lisp, buck teeth, and a persistent snotty nose. I shed many tears during my elementary school years from the constant ridicule and because I was from a broken home, that made matters even worse. DeeDee on the other hand was pretty, blonde, athletic and popular; she had older sisters that had already gone through the grade school so all the teachers knew about her before she even started. Her road of success had already been paved for her and here I was trying to pave one for my younger siblings and it wasn’t looking good.

Before she took me under her wing and we became best friends, there were a few instances in the earlier school years where she stepped up in my defense. One day at recess on the merry-go-round, one of the kids pushed me off and my foot ended up getting twisted underneath it. I didn’t care about my foot so much but about my new ankle socks mom just bought me. I was devastated because they were torn to shreds. DeeDee immediately ran over to my rescue, knocked that boy on his ass and helped me in to see the school nurse. The next day, she bought me in a brand new pair of white ankle socks; I can still remember how confused yet exhilarated I was to receive a gift from a school kid. Another instance was one winter recess day, she was late coming out to the playground and the mean kids were beaming snowballs at my head and all I could do was stand there and cry. I remember it in slow motion, her running out the school door, screaming and heading right for them. I don’t how on earth she did it, but she gave everyone one of those boys a facial white wash. In the spring or fall, whenever we played kick ball or softball, I was never picked for a team and would end up sitting on the sidelines, well until DeeDee became my friend anyway. She was very athletic and the kids always picked her first for their team, but if I wasn’t playing, she wasn’t playing. It didn’t take too long for these kids to get the fact if they wanted her on their team; I was going to be playing, too.

I finally had my tonsils out in 5th grade so the runny nose and crunchy cough was gone and who came to visit me in the hospital, DeeDee of course. She made me a get well card and brought me in a gift. By 6th grade we wore the same size clothes and she’d ride her bike to my house practically every morning with a change of clothes for me. We had to sneak because my mom was adamant about me being proud of what I had and to not be one of those girls that had to wear what all the other kids were wearing. Her analogy to me was “if all the girls jumped off the bridge would you jump, too”? I couldn’t stand it. Anyway, I’d get changed out behind my house into the cool clothes before the bus came and to this day I can’t recall ever getting caught for that, cause I know my mother would have been pisssed if she knew. In 7th grade the school planned a bus trip to see the Haarlem Globe Trotters at Boston Gardens and there was nothing I wanted more then to be able to go on that trip. Of course there was NO way mom would ever pay for it, nor could she. My best friend DeeDee somehow collaborated with the coach and her parents and got me a ticket to go on that trip. She constantly went out of her way for me almost every one of my school days. DeeDee was the best friend anyone could ever ask for.

Although DeeDee ended up moving away during 8th grade (saddest day of my school year) she had "paid it forward" way before that phrase was ever spoken. If she hadn’t stepped into my life when she did I can only imagine how things would have turned out for me. She gave me strength and purpose; she never judged me and accepted me for who I was and not because of how much money I had. She was thoughtful, unselfish and compassionate; a true young humanitarian. We stayed in touch with one another long after each of us settled down, got married and had kids of our own. And to this day, she’ll always have a special place in my heart.



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