my other bestest friend in high school...

cheryl and i met on gayfers teen board and went to different high schools (VERY different high schools).  she was a year younger than i was (and remember what a HUGE deal that was in high school). i thought myself very magnanimous hanging out with her. i liked being magnanimous. i like it that i have written magnanimous three times now and spelled in differently and incorrect all three times. i was born to live in the era of spell check.

cheryl still lives in tallahassee and has the cutest twin babies (OK, so they are in middle school now, but i still think of them as babies). she didn’t name one after me but i have forgiven her for that since i didn’t name any children after her either. the babies were very premature and i came and saw them in the hospital all tiny and tubes hanging out everywhere. i was amazed at the strength that she had during those months. i was also amazed that she could nurse both babies at the same time once they came home with her. i choose friends with a myriad of skill sets.

cheryl crashed every car she ever drove in it’s first few months of life and i don’t think many of those crashes were her fault... at least that was what she told me. we had those annoying secret words for things and our favorite movie was about last nightstarring demi moore and rob lowe. i am sure that my parents had NEVER seen that movie or wouldn’t have been allowed to watch it (and again, let’s thank the Lord that we live in the internet era and can check things out on pluggedinonline.com). we watched that movie so many times that we could actually quote entire scenes from it. we wanted to look exactly like demi moore and we wanted to splatter paint a couch just like she did. i think we may have splatter painted keds tennis shoes as our own personal homage to demi’s design tips.

we also had the cassette tape with ALL the songs from the movie (i think i had the cassette tape AND the record too). and we LOVED those 80’s pop songs that were the background to that movie and my senior year of high school. in fact i believe that i chose several songs from the movie as the background music for my last gayfers teen board fashion show. it was quite a production.... i have photos if you want to see them...

cheryl’s mom made the BEST chili and i still use her recipe when i make a big old pot of chili and top it with cheese and crushed up saltines and i can almost hear sheena easton sing...

No way of knowin' where we're goin'
No way of tellin' what we've got
Love is attraction, calls for action like it or not
We're no one-nighter, we're much righter
I taste tomorrow in your kiss
But I can't sell you, I won't tell you
That we can't miss, I'll just say this

So far so good
We've been movin' right along just like we should
So far so good
If it isn't love it's still in the neighborhood...

wow, those are some kind of lyrics...

i like how the “one-nighter” and “righter” line myself. and i tell you i just get shivers with the “if it isn’t love it’s still in the neighborhood”. i would have killed to hear some boy whisper that little sweet nothin’ in my ear in high school. but alas, cheryl and i were off watching the VHS of “about last night” for the 249th time and no boys were whispering in our ears. 

thanks for all the fun times cheryl, for loving that horrible movie with me, for your mom making chili, and for being younger than me so i felt magnanimous with our friendship. when in retrospect, i think you might have been the magnanimous one after all being friends with me.

Transient

and then came my mom...

see i told you she would be next. and i don’t lie... i only exaggerate.... a lot... 

but i am not exaggerating when i say that she was pretty amazing. i mean imagine having me as a daughter and staying sane. ok, maybe i exaggerated when i wrote that she stayed sane...

i remember someone asking her on more than one occasion which of her 4 children they had adopted. and even though she didn’t think any of us were listening, she said, “i really can’t remember.” and it wasn’t that raising us had killed off all of her brain cells (though it might have), i think she really chose not to remember. 

when i was pregnant, i would call her and tell her all my aches and pains and quirks and so whats, and every now and then she would respond with a sympathetic, “oh yeah, i had that when i was pregnant with you.” maybe we did kill off all her brain cells. maybe love does that to a mother.

my favorite thing that she taught me....

a milkshake is as good as a meal.

yeah, that has saved many a dinner time at the marshall house.

oh, and she and dad taught me about God, and living a Christian life, and staying married, and loving your family, and loving your friends, and she taught me how to talk to EVERYONE in any store at any time and one day i hope everyone in publix knows my name and loves me as much as everyone in publix knew her name and loved her. she would hug the publix cashier and bag boy goodbye and tell them she would be praying for their grandchild, sister, etc....

and i find myself doing the same thing. though not with quite as southern of an accent.

another random fact about my mom....

she never pumped her own gas. there was still a service station that would do it for her, or there was my dad. oh, what a husband...

here is my favorite mom story...

when i was a teenager, i tried out to be on gayfers’ teen board (tell me someone out there remembers what that was). and if you don’t know, gayfers was a department store (back when the word “gay” had NO meaning to me other than happy) and they had a “teen board”, a bunch of REALLY PRETTY, I MEAN GORGEOUS GIRLS who did fashion shows for them modeling the latest in style 80’s fashions. and the girls all had their portrait taken and displayed on a wall in the store. oooh, i wanted my beautiful portrait up on that wall in gayfers. every year my mom and i would go to gayfers and would make a stop by that wall and look at the beautiful girls and i wanted to be one and i KNOW my mom wanted my portrait up on that wall...

so when i was old enough (a sophomore in high school), i auditioned. i had to walk for them, answer some interview questions, and they most likely looked at my dad’s gayfers’ charge account (which could have been the deciding factor here, but let’s pretend it was my stunning beauty and the walking and talking portion of the interview). and then i waited... by the phone.

they called to say that i made the next stage of the process and i think i had to go back in and do some more walking and talking, but then came the day of the REAL call.... whether i would be a gayfers’ girl was hanging on one little ring of the phone... (do you feel the tension?)

they said that the calls would be made before 6:00 that evening and for some reason my mom wasn’t home, but i was BY THE PHONE. and i got the call!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (insert angels singing the hallelujah chorus here)...

anyway, my mom comes home around 6ish and i act all sad and say that i had not gotten the call. remember that i am also taking drama lessons at this time so i was a HECK OF AN ACTRESS. so my mom pulls this book out from behind her back and the title is something like...

you are a loser, but God loves you anyway

or

God loves you so it doesn’t matter that no one else does

or

you are the prettiest girl ever and everyone else is mean to you because they are just jealous and something else about God (because i know the word God was in the title)

and she said, “oh honey, i am so sorry. i picked this up for you today at the Christian book store, just in case you didn’t make it.” i don’t really know the real title of the book because once i revealed to mom that i had actually gotten the call and was a GAYFERS’ GIRL (insert angels singing “i feel pretty, oh so pretty” here), she snatched the book from my hands and must have returned it our of spite because she was a bit mad that i had fooled her so well (or lied to her so effectively, perhaps that was why it was so bothersome to her... she shouldn’t have paid for all those drama classes). anyway that is my favorite moment because even though she wouldn’t have wanted a book in a very sad moment, she knew i would have wanted a book. to retreat, to be alone, and to read. and then she wouldn’t let me have the book and all of my life i have wondered what book it was...

but i was a gayfers’ girl and i had my picture on the wall (i would go on to have 2 different pictures on the wall) and if you come to my house today, i can show you the portrait that actually hung on the wall of gayfers and you can gaze at my teenage beauty (and 80’s hair and clothing).

oh and my 2nd favorite mom story is one that someone told me for the first time just this year after mom’s stroke (see all of the late january- early february blogs for more on that story). it seems that after mom and dad had adopted my brother, max, that they were ready for a baby girl. and yet, my brother was a (how do i put this) a bit of a handful. he was about a year old at this time. and mom tells her doctor that they are thinking of adopting a girl soon and her doctor tells her NO WAY. she is way too skinny to adopt a baby girl, he is worried about her holding up with two babies. he tells her that she has to weigh over 100 pounds and then she can adopt a baby girl. well, my little mother eats and eats and eats and she gains that weight and they adopt me and the angels sing once more...

i thought it was amazing that she had never held that over me and brought it up all of my life...

“lea, you are just so much trouble and to think that i ate ALL those snickers bars so that i could be your mother”...

and i thought it was just really ironic that i have battled with too much weight all of my life AND my mother had to gain weight in order for me to come and be her daughter. 

yes, God does love the irony...

which is why a quiet dignified woman ended up with a loud and certainly a lot less dignified daughter.

a private, discreet, never used a computer woman is being honored on a blog by her public tell it all daughter.

a petite dress up for the grocery store woman had to endure wear her sweaty exercise clothes all around town daughter and even met her for lunch sometimes.

a get her hair done once a week and don’t leave house without your lipstick and mascara on woman raised a might not even have brushed my hair all day and i think i have a tube of lipgloss somewhere daughter.

a don’t like to speak in public woman was able to travel with her daughter several times as she spoke to women’s groups and attended many Bible studies that she led. 

a made a rough draft to write a thank you card woman loved to read her daughter’s never made a rough draft in her life stories, poems, writing pieces, and scrapbook pages.

and the greatest irony of all... she loved me fiercely despite and maybe even because of our differences. and i loved her too. i was never going to grow up to be just like her, and she knew that. and she liked who i became and was proud of me. and most likely she thought i would have benefitted from a bit of lipstick and a cute new outfit to wear to lunch... 

and she was probably right...