Everybody has certain days emblazoned on their memories. That day for me, and my friend Lyndsay’s family, is May 8, 1994. On that day, my childhood best friend was killed in a car accident.
Lyndsay and I met in kindergarten. Her birthday was nine days later than mine. We were both unusually small for our ages, with funny high-pitched voices, and we both had frequent extreme bouts of the giggles. I remember we were separated once in kindergarten because of how much we were laughing, and when the teacher moved Lyndsay to another table, it felt like she was on another continent. As we grew, we played with many of the same toys as other kids in my generation will remember: Popples, Garbage Pail kids cards, Quints, Polly Pockets, Rainbow Brite, Charmkins, and My Little Ponies. We were particularly obsessed with My Little Ponies. I think we each had, no joke, about 100 ponies. We would line them up in her basement and create elaborate plots to act out and narrate with the ponies, even creating extensive family trees like little pony soap operas. This is where my crochet square comes into the picture. I made a square with the bright colors I remember from the ponies. (See photo at the top of this post.) If you want to read more about my Aran Islands project, click here.
Lyndsay and I spent a lot of time outside: climbing trees, riding bikes, talking to imaginary characters like unicorns and fairies. We had endless sleepovers where we would write little notes to each other on our mini Hello Kitty paper, and put the notes in tiny envelopes with tiny stickers.
We made up pretend languages, and forgot them soon after. We watched The Little Mermaid together over, and over, and over, belting out the songs together. We participated together with our Dads in a Father-daughter group called Indian princesses where we all created faux Native American names and did group activities. (Mine was Princess White Feather and my Dad was Soaring Eagle.) I know it sounds very politically incorrect, but it was a lot of fun. I remember having my mind blown on one camping trip where Lyndsay’s Dad, who taught physics, shown a flashlight at the sky and told us that the light would reach some of those stars long after we were gone. Little did I know how soon that would be.
One blog post cannot summarize all that she meant to me. When Lyndsay and I found each other, it felt like I had found a sister that I wanted to be around all of the time, who believed in the same sort of fanciful whimsical ideas and stories that I did. She made my childhood perfect. When she died, we had both just turned 13. It felt like it drew a huge line in the sand for me: this is the day that childhood ends. Death came into my life and it was time to grow up instantly and enter high school. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me.
This post is not to memorialize that awful day when everything changed, but to celebrate her birthday. Today, she would have turned 36. I always thought it was extra special that she got to celebrate her birthday on Earth Day. It goes without saying that I wish she were here to celebrate it with us. I miss you Lyn, and I will always love you.