Describe three significant memories from childhood.
My most favorite memories of childhood happened with Daina. Even though we drifted apart as we got older and made lives of our own, she was my best friend and I’ll always be grateful to have made the memories with her. I’ve got so many memories, but I’ll try to pick just three.
I remember meeting Daina when I was probably four or five years old. I was sitting in our den, probably playing with a few McDonald’s Happy Meal toys when a woman with white-blonde hair and golden-brown skin knocked on our front door. It was always weird to me when people knocked on the front door. They would have to park at the front of the driveway by the old metal gate instead of pulling all the way to the end by the garage to knock on our back door by the kitchen. Mom invited her and her little girl in. Daina, I remember, was shy. She hid behind her mom’s leg, peeking around to look at Emily and me. She had red hair! I had never seen a kid with red hair before. Ms. Sue introduced herself and Daina. “I was driving by and saw two little girls who lived here around Daina’s age. Maybe they could play together sometime.” She told us we were welcome to come by anytime. She had a swimming pool and a trampoline, as well as a barn with horses, chickens, goats, and a few ducks.
A few days after the introduction, all I wanted to do was go play with Daina. My parents were weird about it since Ms. Sue “probably smoked” or “probably didn’t go to church”. Lots of meaningless probabys to me. I wanted to be friends with Daina. My parents relented and let us go to her house to play. Emily and I would play outside and wait for the school bus to pass behind our house. Daina would wave and shout for us to come over, so we would run inside, put on our swimsuits, grab a change of clothes, and run down the long, paved road to her house (barefoot!). Some days it would be so hot, our feet would get blistered. We would stop on the shady patches of road made by the overhanging trees to cool our feet before running again. Looking back, I don’t know why we never put our shoes on.
Daina lived in a mobile home when we first met. She shared a room with her older sister, Sherry, and used the second bedroom as a playroom. She had so many toys, we could barely move in the room, but we would sit and play with Barbie Dolls for hours. We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool, or jumping on the trampoline, singing as many Disney songs we could remember (a lot). Her mom made the best pancakes in the morning.
In middle school, Daina moved to Picayune (about an hour and a half from where we lived in Pearl River) into a house her mom designed. I was so sad when she left, even though I still got to see her on the weekends when I would sleep over at her house or she would come to mine. She had her own bathroom, plus a bigger area of land for her animals. She had cows, a mule, and a pony by then, as well as a feisty bull. I remember when we wanted to go play in the woods across the pasture, we had to climb the fence and run like hell because the bull would sometimes chase us. We were idiots, but it was exciting.
Daina was the only kid my age who had a four-wheeler. When she got it for a birthday (I think?) she invited me to her house to ride on it. She would drive us down the super long dirt road from her house to the highway, then back again. Sometimes she’d ride through the pasture, making sure to run through all the cow patties she could find. So gross! Riding through the woods was my favorite, even in the rain.
One of my favorite memories was when Ms. Sue would invite me to go camping with them. She had a cabin that was high off the ground with huge windows. There was a kingsized bunk bed and a wood-burning fireplace, but no bathroom. Daina and I would walk through the woods to the creek to do our business (I think she loved it far more than normal). When it would rain, we’d play board games or play house (if we brought our baby dolls). At night, her dad would grill hot dogs or burgers. Daina sometimes invited another friend along, but I never minded because I got along with her friends. Sometimes they made me feel less afraid to try new things, like swinging from a rope attached to a branch of a tree at the top of a steep slope and splashing into the murky, brown creek. Sometimes we would bring flashlights and walk through the campsite after dark and try to scare each other with stories or “what ifs”. During the day, we’d ride horseback down trails. Sometimes, I rode with Daina, sometimes I rode alone, but I was never nervous.
Daina taught me how to put on makeup, something Mom and Meredith never did. She showed me how to tweeze my eyebrows and apply mascara without getting it clumpy, as well as how to dress with style, and paint my nails neatly. It was so much fun getting ready to go to the movies or to the mall with her. She would sometimes do my makeup for me or let me borrow some of her clothes or shoes. And so much GLITTER. I had so much fun growing up because of her.