The girl who lived across the street from my sister in Bloomfield was a year older than I. Sometimes she baby sat Debbie. I enjoyed hanging out with her. Her name was Karen.
I felt she was my cosmopolitan friend. She went to school with Frankie Valli's daughter. Karen had two Boston terriers. People didn't seem to have pedigree dogs as much then as now. That made her unique.
We walked one time to the tennis courts to play. Tennis had an air of sophistication that I so wanted. We had no tennis courts in West Middlesex, at least public ones. They tried for awhile at the high school, but it never caught on. Neither of us were very good, but we had fun.
We did the twist in Gerri Lee's dining room to old 45's. Happy Days had just become popular. The '50's were the thing. Gerri Lee even joined in. She was so cool that evening.
Karen's dad was a Mason and she had joined Rainbow girls. I thought from her example a girl had to be a Mason's daughter and she never contradicted my thinking. I missed a year of Rainbows here in the Shenango Valley because of this misconception. Finally Nancy Brooks invited me to join when I was in ninth grade.
We played board games. Mostly talked about all the junior high girl topics. Boys, music, TV, boys, fashion, boys.
Having a friend next door made Gerri Lee's home feel more like my home. I did sleep with Debbie in her room. A street light from over the rail road station shone through the window. One time I woke and the light was so much like the powerful light that penetrated my room back home from the Fellowship Hall next door, I thought I was home. I really didn't get homesick, though. That was just one of those disorienting moments when you wake, a reminder that I had a home. I was amazed at how the light seemed exactly the same for a few moments, the same light watching over me where ever I laid my head.