If I had to pick the best friend of my childhood, the winner would have to be my cousin Mary Ann.
She appears in both photos and stories in Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World.
She’s there in the very beginning of my life, having preceded me in life by nine months, a fact that was very important in childhood (she entered school a year earlier and got to do some things earlier). Look at her in this picture. She’s already instructing me about the world. I’m the one in the gauzy little head covering, taking it all in.
Mary Ann appears more often than anyone except my brother and our Fresh Air Girl Vicky in my childhood photo album. Here are the other photos in which she appears in the book:
In some pictures, Mary Ann is frowning or reflective while I am beaming. Here I am showing off my flashy Easter clothes. Mary Ann had to wait a few more years until she got her first store-bought dress. Her mother was an excellent seamstress. Mine preferred to shop. Below: Shirley, Aunt Ann, David, Mary Ann.
Above: Henry, Mary Ann, and me. Is that a cap pistol in my hand? Did our parents allow us to buy one??
Mary Ann lives in Pennsylvania. I live in Virginia. We haven’t lived in the same state since 1966.
- I read the book from cover to cover and loved, loved, loved it! I couldn’t put it down, waiting to see which story that you would tell next. I knew the stories, but the added dimension of feeling the feelings made it real and captivating. It truly did bring back many memories of those years that we knew each other well.
- I also realized that I have missed those times of sharing through the years since high school days. Even though our lives took different tracks, we have still remained connected. I would love to sit down with you some day (when your life settles down after all the book promotions) and share some stories and become reacquainted as “older” adults. Perhaps, some time that you are in the Lititz area we could meet at Tomato Pie Cafe, Cafe Chocolate or another place of choice.
- I do wish you all the best in this huge undertaking of “Blush” and may it be a success in every way. I’m looking forward to seeing you and your family and learning more on Thursday night.
- By the way, the suit that you wore on the Olin Mills photo was the one that we bought together at Ormond’s in Lancaster for Mark & Marty’s wedding. Correct?
- I am proud (is that allowed?!) to be your cousin.
Mary Ann also sent me a photo because of the description I included in BLUSH about the high school jackets we wore. Here we are:
Writing a memoir has many benefits one can’t predict ahead of time.
Renewing a friendship with a cousin is a sweet reward.
Do you have cousin friends? Have you connected lately? Tell us about it below and then pick up the phone.