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.
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.)