Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Tracy! Where Are You?

The Powells lived on the other side of the church property. A three year old Tracy started coming to my house. I, as a much older and bolder five year old, took her into my heart. Being so shy, she whispered to me to tell my mom something. One of the first times she visited, I got a pink plastic piece of a doll house sink stuck on my finger. My sister, Gerri Lee, frustrated, had me in the bathroom under the running water and soap to get it off my finger. After that ordeal, Tracy whispered to me, "Your mother is real pretty." I laughed, correcting her to my family dynamics. Her sisters were closer in age. In fact, Janine's friendwas only a year older than I, but Tracy and I hit it off better.
Tracy and I visited each day. I guess she was the little sister I never got. Her parents were teachers and when we first became friends, a babysitter was in their home, usually an older lady. After Tracy's baby brother was born, Mrs. Powell stayed home, and that wasn't long after our friendship developed. We had much fun watching diapers changed and discovering differences. Mrs. Powell calmly continued the task with no remarks, never producing shame at our curiosity.
One time, I tried to stay away from their home for a day. I inched to their back yard, but I never entered. I met the challenge.

Their back yard divided into two areas with trees and bushes. Farther from the house stood the swing set. We pumped for hours trying to reach the tree branches with our feet. If we got into rhythm with the girl beside us, we chanted, "How's your baby?" The pine trees along the alley way provided a play house. In the closest yard, a sandbox set the scene for roads and castle building.
The back porch looked like a stage. One of the older girls in the neighborhood looked like Samantha from "Bewitched!" setting up a TV show. We had Larry Tate and Darin, too, played by girls.
This was time of kool-aid and ice pops. Often we ate at each others house for supper. I always wished I liked mustard because you could draw with it in its container. Ketchup only came in a bottle. Tracy's birthday parties were always in the first back yard.
They had a shed, too, we could go in. One time I cared for a peep in that shed while the Powells vacationed. It bit me and that really hurt.
Tracy being 2 years younger didn't start school with me. In first grade, my mom let me stay home one day, probably after one of those nights of vomiting. I called Tracy on the phone,and got reprimanded by her mom. I just wanted to talk to my best friend.
Tracy is the one I mentioned in my Niagara Falls posting.
Mr. Powell first taught at WMHS. My sister was in his math class when she was a senior. Sometime he moved on to Grove City high school, commuting for a few years. By the time I was in sixth to seventh grade, I guess he tired of the drive and the family moved. We were sad, yet already, Tracy and I were growing apart.
My aunt and uncle lived in Grove City. We visited them often, so I walked to Tracy's new home. One time I went to her slumber party for her birthday to meet her new friends. I had a pleasant time. One summer I believe I spent two nights there, but by then our separate ways became evident. No hard feelings, just maybe a busyness of lives lived apart.
My senior year, we went cross-country skiing at a place in Liberty, south of Grove City. I felt it was a magical time. I loved the clear crisp winter day and rigorous exercise from the skis. Tracy showed enjoyment, too.
Hard to believe how fast I was married after that, just a little over three years. After college for Tracy, she moved to New Jersey, near my sister, the one she thought was my beautiful mother. I lived in Connecticut then, a short three hour ride away. I traveled to my sister's, visited Tracy in her apartment,then dining at Branigan's. As the evening ended, we just both naturally closed with, "See ya." our good-bye all those years ago. We never said good bye. We counted on tomorrow when we were kids.
Tracy had planned to visit me in CT, but that weekend her sisters surprised her with a visit. I have never seen Tracy since. She moved to Texas with her company, I believed married. I sent a sympathy card when her dad died after mine. I used to run into her sister, whose daughter had the very same features as Tracy. I haven't even seen Laurie lately.
Funny how people are so in your lives then it

seems they are gone. Maybe I'll happen to meet a Powell soon. I hope so.

2013, and thanks to Facebook, I have found Tracy and see updated pictures of all the Powells, even little brother, who is taller than all of us, now.
2014, Laurie appeared at my booth at the sesquicentennial. I made her take off her sunglasses and then I knew immediately.   Another Laurie was the Samantha. She died a while back and her sister died on Laurie's birthday. But I got to connect with three of the siblings. I was touched to see them and visit with them all.
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