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FRIENDSHIP

Posted on: October 24, 2011

First Best Friend

I remember the day Bennye Jo and her family moved in next door. Mom went over to meet the new neighbors and came back with a little girl in tow. “Her name’s Bennye Jo,” she told me, “and she’s two.” I looked her over and felt much older at three. Little did I know that the next eight years of my life would pass with Bennye Jo at my side. I was the captain; she was my first mate. I was Tarzan; she was Jane. We played house on my back porch, sold lemonade on the street, read comics on a big quilt on the lawn between our homes, and rode our bikes to the library and city pool.

In the photo, I had come home from first grade for lunch and was ready to return to school. Since Bennye was in kindergarten, she had already changed into play clothes for an afternoon at home. I didn’t care; I enjoyed my seniority and was learning to read. When I moved from Vincennes at eleven, my first best friend, Bennye Jo, was replaced with my new best friend, whose name was Penny Jo. Even I paused with the irony.
I drew from my early childhood adventures when I wrote the Bailey’s Chase novels. Sparky and Grey lived in the house where I spent my childhood, visited the same library, went to the same Girl Scout camp, and the same school field trip. Meeting a ghost there was my idea!

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