Wicked Wednesday: First Friends

Welcome to the first month in a brand-new year!

1-07 News Flash: BobbieM19 is our lucky winner! Congratulations, and please check your email.

Edith/Maddie here, wishing a happy 2021 to all the Friends of the Wickeds. Fingers crossed for a better year on all kinds of fronts.

We’re also starting a new blog project. We run the Wickeds by each of us taking two months a year to wrangle: make sure all the days are filled and things run smoothly. During this year, the wrangler will give away a book every Wednesday to celebrate you, our loyal readers. I’m the January wrangler, and I’d love to give away a copy of Murder at the Taffy Shop. It fits today’s theme of best friends, because Mac’s friend Gin owns the taffy shop – and discovers the body.

I’m hosting a month of Wednesdays talking about firsts for the Wickeds. Most of our readers know we six are good friends in addition to being blogmates. Wickeds, let’s talk about our first BFF. Where did you meet? What did you do together? Are you still (or again) in touch? Photos a bonus!

Edith/Maddie: I’ll start. My best friend from before I can remember was JoAnn Genest. Our birthdays were ten days apart, so we were a month from being the youngest in our class. She was always the tallest and I was ever the shortest. She lived two blocks away, and we were in Brownies together. Our moms were friends, our younger brothers were friends (and still are). JoAnn and I skipped and played and made up stories and laughed, a lot. Our friendship faded when we went to junior high, and I only know she now lives in Oregon somewhere. I wish I could find her.

Me in the dark hair, JoAnn in the light. I graduated from high school with most of these kids.

Barb: My friend Hilary Hinds, now Hilary Hinds Kitasei, has had a profound influence on my life. For one thing, when we were in second grade, she mentioned she was reading these chapter books called, “Nancy Drew.” She inspired me to do the same. I have a strong memory of sitting on our sun porch at 67 Watchung Avenue in Montclair, New Jersey, reading book after book. Hilary is definitely NOT the woman in my short story, “Key West,” who had a baby girl and then girl twins eleven months later, but some of the stories she told me about those early harrowing days made it into the story. And her family’s big old house may be in my upcoming novella Scared Off, but the old woman who lived in their third floor auxiliary apartment is definitely NOT the tenant in that story. I just got a holiday message from Hilary. In response to my Christmas card she said she felt sure that if she was seven years old again, my granddaughter Viola would definitely be her friend. I believe she is right.

Sherry: I love that you are still in touch with Hilary, Barb! My first best friend was Tommy Williams and his sister Margaret Mary. They were from a big Catholic family that lived in a small house just a couple houses down the hill from us. We played house, rode our wagons down the hill, made houses out of leaves, etc. They had an elaborate train set in their basement that we weren’t allowed to touch, but could watch their older brothers play with. I couldn’t understand why Margaret Mary could spend the night but Tommy couldn’t. They moved away when I was five to the DC area and I lost track of them.

Liz: So funny, because I was just thinking of my first best friend the other day! Kelley Nelson – we met in kindergarten. We used to play outside at recess together on the monkey bars and swim at each other’s houses (we both had above-ground pools). I taught her how to ride a bike in an afternoon after her dad literally spent months trying to teach her and she just couldn’t get it. We went to different schools in sixth grade and although we remained in touch throughout our twenties, we kind of went our separate ways when she got married and had a family. I always thought we’d be BFFs forever. But, we’re still Facebook friends!

Julie: My first friend was/is my sister Kristen, who is 14 months younger than I am. I am so blessed to have sisters I consider friends as well. Outside the house, my first friend was Holly Simoes. We moved to Duxbury, MA when I was five, and the story is that her mother sent her over, across the field, because she saw girls playing in the yard. We became best friends. I was the oldest child. She was the fourth of what would be six kids. I only had sisters. She had two brothers. In my family, my father was the yeller. In her family, it was her mother. We both became extra kids in each other’s families. We moved away from Duxbury when I was in going into ninth grade, but we stayed in touch for a few years. I am very, very sorry to say that Holly died at the age of 39. My sister and I still talk about her, and I can’t help but think she’s with us when we do.

Jessie: Julie, your story about your friend brought a lump to my throat! I too would say my sisters are my best friends. When I was very small I had an extremely large and dramatic imaginary family, which included a completely perfect, and entirely biddable, baby sister. When my own real life baby sister arrived on the scene when I was almost four, I was completely underwhelmed. She did none of the things I had come to value in my imaginary one. Fortunately for me, the real child grew into the sort of person who was much more than worth the wait. My other sister came into my life a bit differently. We moved a lot when I was a child and since I was excruciatingly shy, I found it a misery. The school bus was the worst. On my first day at at a new school in the third grade, an exuberant older girl with the brightest blue eyes I had ever seen invited me, yes nervous and queasy me, to sit with her. We became inseperable and spent all out of school hours together. When her family circumstances hit some bumps a few years later, she came to live with my family permanently. Truly, I am blessed beyond all measure.

Readers: Tell us about your first good friend! (And if you already own Murder at the Taffy Shop, let’s talk about which other book of mine you’d like.)

59 Thoughts

  1. My first best friend was my cousin, Ricki. We are the two oldest “girl cousins” and only a year apart in age. We always spent time together either at my grandmother’s house for family gatherings or spending the weekend with my grandparents. We also spent the night with each other a lot, especially during the summer (we lived in different cities but only about 30 minutes away from each other). She is still one of my friends! Before the pandemic started, I spent the weekend every two or three months with her, and we talk at least once a day on the phone. She really is more like a sister to me than a cousin and her two daughters are like nieces.

  2. I’ve begun to suspect I may have Asperger’s like two of my nephews. Although I CAN interact with people, I don’t actually have any close friends. This may be a side effect of growing up in a family that would move before it had quite settled into the then-current location. Move nine times (that I can count) in the first twelve years of life and it’s hard to make the effort to make a permanent bond. I HAVE made the effort, but I am 72, and the few fairly close friends I had made have all passed on. Social isolation doesn’t help on this front as I am kept busy by the flood of emails (currently 10,917 unread) and the backlog of past-due ARCs.

  3. Wow. Thank you for those stories. It’s amazing how friendships help shape and define our lives. My first best friend is Kristen Farmer Vonderheid. She grew up down the street from me in Pennsylvania. We spent hours playing together but what I remember most is this crazy closet under her parent’s stairs. It was so large it held all sorts of toys and board games, and we could sit in it for hours playing games. She still lives in Pennsylvania, and we are still friends. She is a year and a half younger than me in birth years, but is always wiser than me in life.

  4. My BFF and I met when we were both 9 years old..Her brother married my Aunt..We are still BFF’s to this day.

  5. I met my first best friend in grade 2 in Toronto. Her name is Kathleen (Kathy) O’Keefe. Our birthdays were only 1 day apart (hers on Feb 22, mine on Feb 23) so our families usually had joint birthday parties since we basically would have invited the same friends.

    Kathy and I were friends all through primary school but she went to a different junior high school and we did not keep in touch. I was hoping Kathy would go to our primary school reunion in the 1990s but she did not. No sign of her on Facebook or any other social media accounts either.

    I already own a copy of the Murder at the Taffy Shop (bought it while on vacation in Hawaii at a B&N in 2019), so Taffy Shop book #2 would be my choice (if I won).

  6. My first best friend was my cousins. We would only see each during summer vacation. We all lived 3 hours away. When we did get together we ride bikes, walk to the local beach and just hang out on the porch of our grandparents. Still enjoy getting together even after we all grown up and gotten old.

  7. My first best friend was Gladys Rodriquez. We grew up together. We lived in the same building, me on the third floor, she on the second. We did everything together. We went to different schools, so after homework was done, we hung out together until the day we moved and I lost touch with her. I tried to find her, playing detective and all but to no avail, even when Facebook came into play. No need to enter me.

    1. “playing detective” – it’s what is needed, isn’t it? The damn custom of women changing their names at marriage messes up these searches, big time.

  8. Being an Army brat, I had many best friends but they were fleeting due to transfers. My first true life long BFF was as an adult. Through some very tragic and sad events in my life, I threw myself into trying to find a replica of a clown doll I had as a child in our antique searches. Little did I know that they search you have us meeting the son of the clown the doll represented and in doing so meeting my BFF and her husband at one of the clown events.

    Our friendship grew – to the point that she was like the sister I never had. She’s always been there for me during the celebration of the good times, the lifeline during the hard times of Mom’s Alzheimer, during the sad times of loss, and through life changing events like picking up and moving to our dream home. I can only hope that I have been there for her as much as she as been for me. Even today, all these years later, I know when the phone rings on Wednesday night, that it’s her checking in our our past week and to chat about what we are looking forward to in the coming one. It’s a highlight on my week.

    “Murder at the Taffy Shop” was an awesome book, but they all are, which I’ve read and reviewed. I would love the opportunity to read “Candy Slain Murder” or “Biscuits and Slashed Browns” and review. Can’t wait for the release of “No Grater Crime”!

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy! Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.

    Today is a blank page in a 365 page book – write a good one.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  9. I also moved around a lot as a child so my first TRUE best friend was Jennifer, who lived across the hall from me my first-year in college. We clicked immediately ( and suffered through Russian language class together for 2 years), she was my maid-of-honor, and we are still in touch and visit (pre-pandemic). Ironically, my mother now lives across the street from her mother in the small village of Freedom in New Hampshire- what are the odds? I would love a copy of Murder at the Taffy Shop- I enjoyed the relationship between Mac and Gin in Murder on Cape Cod!

  10. Our moms were good friends and were pregnant at the same time. I was born in Sept. and Debbie was born in Oct. We grew up together and I always felt lost when Debbie wasn’t around. She got married right out of high school to a guy who was in the Air Force so she got to live in some exotic places and I would write her some very long letters. But life has a way of getting in the way and we eventually lost contact. Once Facebook came along and I started finding old high school friends I naturally wanted to find my old friend Debbie and others were helping me try to find her. My friend Michelle sent me a link and it was to an obit page. Debbie had just passed away from cancer. She hadn’t lived that far away either. I cried so much. I still talk about Debbie this and Debbie that. I miss her so much.

  11. Being an only child in a family of loads of aunts, uncles and cousins, I found two especially close age cousins to be friends with as well as relations. My first best school friend was Betty. She was a first generation German and her parents were the only survivors from their immediate families after being in Auschwitz Concentration Camp during WWII. I loved going to her home as her mother was a great cook and they had such interesting dishes like matzo ball soup. I learned a lot from my friend Betty and her family and at a very young age saw with my own eyes the tattoos on her parent’s arms and heard their stories. Betty and I went to different junior high schools and did not stay in touch, but she and her family are truly engraved into my heart forever.

  12. I have two, I suppose. My first is my friend Lynn. We were in pre-kindergarten together and spent a lot of time together. We went to separate elementary schools eventually, but got back together in junior high. I don’t see her a lot, but we are Facebook friends and whenever we see each other in real life, it’s not hard to get talking.

    My other close friend is Jolie. We didn’t know each other much in elementary school. But in junior high, a close friend of hers and a close friend of mine became friends, left us in the dust, and we became friends. Except for a short stint in high school, we were pretty much inseparable. We were maids of honor at each other’s weddings. In fact, the big tree I put up at Christmas is one she gave me as a wedding present. She lives in Maryland now and we don’t see each other much. But when we do, man, it’s like no time at all has passed and we saw each other yesterday.

  13. My best friend was Diana Richardson. We met in junior high and we’re inseparable until we moved away just before my senior year in high school. We recently reconnected on Facebook. It’s like we never were out of touch.
    I would like Candy Slain Murder if I win because I have Murder at the Taffy Shop

  14. My best friend growing up was Zita Taiz. She and her family lived a block down the street from me and we were best friends from the time I moved there. Her father was the pharmacist at his own drugstore and soda fountain, and as kids we loved spending time there – they even let us roller skate in the store on Sundays when the weather was bad! The store was small and there were a lot of glass cabinets, so that was trust on their part! Zita moved away after 6th grade to Arizona, but we kept in touch with letters, and I flew out to visit her when I was 14. It was my first time on a plane and what an adventure. We even went to CA to Disneyland! I also visited for her wedding and then one summer after I started teaching, and she came East for my wedding. After that our lives diverged for a long time, but after computers were around, I was able to look her up and get in touch with her again. We talk on the phone occasionally and text each other, and with any luck, one of these days we will see each other again!

  15. My first best friend was Jenny Joy. How can you not love someone named Jenny Joy?! As I child, I spent my summers on Cape Cod with an enormous, rambunctious extended family in which I, the shy, quiet bookworm, was a bit of an outlier. Imagine my delight when I met Jenny at swimming lessons (we were both Minnows), who was equally quiet and shy but much more adventurous. With Jenny I learned to love sailing, which had terrified me up to that point. But nothing terrified Jenny, who was tiny, with blond hair like milkweed fluff and skinny sparrow legs but was as tough as old nails. To this day she’s my closest friend, even though months go by without seeing each other. And every year, the minute I step foot on the Cape, the first thing I do is call Jenny. That’s how I know I’m home.

  16. My first best friend lived across the street from me when we were growing up. We did everything together and I was always at their house. Lots of good memories.

  17. My first friend was my younger brother. We’re only about a year and a half apart so we played together a lot as kids.

    1. That’s sweet. My younger brother is about the same, and we did play together, but he had too much of a temper for me think of him as a friend.

  18. I have to say my best friend was my older brother, Andy. He still is today. I truly don’t know how I would have gotten through the last year without our almost daily phone calls. When we were young, back in the stone age, I was definitely his shadow, whether he wanted me or not! In the middle years of our lives, we were not nearly as close. Tending to our own families, I guess. I’m very glad we have reconnected.

  19. WOW, trying to decide. My first BFF was David Consovoy. He lived in the apartment beneath me when I was a toddler. We did everything together and only lost touch when he moved away when we were 6.

    Barb – I went to Lacordaire – how funny that you are from Montclair. Were you neighbors with the Crawleys? I think they lived on Watchung, too. I went to school with Anne.

    1. Hi Kait. I don’t recall the Crawleys. We rented at 67 Watchung Ave and then bought at 45 Watchung. I went to Edgemont Elementary, which is where I met Hilary.

  20. Anne & I were born a week apart in the same hospital and lived 2 houses apart. I can’t remember a time when we didn’t know each other! Fast friends through elementary school, went our separate ways afterwards until we got back together in our 20’s. We’ve been close ever since, although we haven’t seen each other in person since our 50th HS reunion September 2019. Post covid we’ll be visiting again!

  21. My first best friend was Bryan Davis. We met in Kindergarten. We drifted apart over the years, but we are Facebook friends, and about 5 years ago, we met up for breakfast when I was in town for Thanksgiving. It was great catching up.

    Oh, and I inspired him to go out and do a couple of mud runs.

  22. My best friend Judy Brennan was the youngest child with 2 older brothers and I had2 older siblings also. We lived in the same block,I don’t remember how we met but we spent lots of time playing together playing jack and dolls. They got the first TV in the neighborhood and I was allowed to watch sometimes. We still keep in touch by Facebook over 70 years.

  23. My best friend was Mary Staub. We met in kindergarten and went through high school together. Because we came from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ (not kidding on this one, we were on the south side of town, the ‘poor’ side) we sort of stayed together supporting each other through school. We did go to the same college, but ended up in different dorms and with different friends. We lost track of each other over the years. I do know she became the teacher she wanted to be and I became that nurse I wanted to be as a child. We haven’t been in touch in over 50 years but I still remember her and how nice it was to have one friend while growing up.

      1. I did and thank you so much. I came across this group the other day and it sounded like my type of blog. Looking forward to reading a lot more from all ot ofyou.

  24. As I recall, my first best friends were two of my cousins. We were all about the same age, but lived about 3-4 hours apart, so only saw each other in summers. I remember lots of happy hours spent at our mutual grandparents ranch and more than a few nights spent giggling on the “sleep” porch at Cindy’s “other” grandma’s house. We had the run of the small town where our parents grew up, which was a lovely change from my big city home. As adults we went our own ways at times and practically lived in each other’s back pockets at others. We did grow apart a bit in our mid-adult years, but have certainly rebuilt that closeness over the past few years, even though we live farther apart (three towns in two states). The two of us who are not married with grandchildren are travel buddies and until 2020 spent a couple of summers together. We are hoping to resurrect last year’s travel plans later this year and talking about where we most want to go next year!

  25. Like Kay, I had various friends growing up, but my real best friend I met when I was in my late 20s. She was my downstairs neighbor and we are still BFFs even tho’ we seldom see each other. She got married, we moved, she moved, we moved again and again. But we email each other almost every day and still send birthday boxes (our birthdays are only days apart) and Christmas boxes of goodies. My husband and I hoped to visit her this last summer, but of course, covid prevented that. I would love to make a hard push to visit her (it’s a 10 hour drive) this summer, but our aging bodies may not permit it. Thank goodness for the internet!

  26. My first friend was Tammy. She was six months younger, but we went to the same church which was how we met. We were friends all her life, she sadly died about six years ago. My second friend I met in school and she is five days older than me. She moved away when we were in third grade but we stayed in touch to this day. We have been through a lot together and have been there with listening ears and support.

  27. OMG! I love the class picture! It looks like one of mine! My best friend in elementary school was Karen D, We remained friends in high school and junior college, then transferred to different colleges. She ended up living next door to my parents after she got married. I don’t see her but we still exchange Christmas cards!

  28. I lived in the country with NO close houses. A new house was built very close. I was a 5 year old girl with lots brothers, but really wanted to play with a girl. Was thrilled when the family in the new house had a little girl my age. Yvonne and I had many play dates. But her Dad was transferred to California. Lost track of her because 6 year olds are not very good penpals.

  29. My first good friend was Robin. She lived four houses down the alley. My Mom liked to keep me close to home so I had a swing set, slide and a sandbox. A lot of times, the neighborhood kids would end up at our house. At one time when I was growing up there was about twenty kids from our end of the alley to the other. Robin’s Mom and sister still live four houses down the alley from us. Robin is in and out, but I do not get to see or talk to her.

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