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Sunday, November 18, 2001


Last night, I had dinner with Jennifer, one of my oldest friends. Actually, I think she was my very first best friend. We lived across the street from each other and were inseparable from as early as I could remember until Jennifer went to junior high school (thus the onset of her and then my pre-pubescent angst...'nuf said). Though we were 2 years apart, that didn't really seem to matter. As small children, we loved nothing more than to put on shows, play Barbies or pretend we were racing through the plains of Minnesota (on our Schwynn bicycles) as the Ingalls girls (a la Little House on the Prairie). I of course had to be Laura Ingalls, because I was the biggest "Little House" fan between the two of us (and I also had a pioneer style dress my grandma made me for Halloween, so of course I got to be Laura). Or we would pretend we were at Disneyland on our favorite ride (Space Mountain) as we would ride up and down our neighbor's driveways (again on our bicycles) on our imaginary roller coaster.

I must say the most fun I think we had was when we put on those back yard shows. We alternated between the two elaborate theaters in the neighborhood - the Okikawa (mine) and the Kintz (hers). My cousin would come over and he would emcee the show Jennifer and I worked so hard on (he even came over for dress rehersals!!!) She would choreograph dance routines to things like Grease or a Duran Duran song and I would sing (badly) a few songs from (what else, a musical) Annie (another one of my obsessions - think tiny Japanese little girl in a bright orange wig and red Annie dress when a stuffed animal dog as my faux-Sandy...oy). Then sometimes, we would come together and do some crazy magic trick or dance routine to the thunderous applause of our parents, grandparents, her brother or one of my other cousins. Our shows were such a big deal that we would even have refreshments of lemonade and some baked product afterwards too - what fun! We were the talk of...our parents and Jennifer and I really thought we were hot stuff...thankfully we don't have any of these shows on tape - that would be embarrassing!

Jennifer and I got into our share of innocent-little-girl-trouble - teasing the freaky neighborhood dogs by innocently throwing tangerines to them (no, not at them) and then getting caught, making many-a-prank phone calls in the middle of the night, cutting the hair off our Barbie dolls (oh wait, that was just me) or sneaking extra potato chips from the pantry at lunch after my mom had left the kitchen. Ok, so we didn't really get into trouble - what we did was never that bad...we were always good kids. There was the one time though when we were like 9 and 11, and a pick-up truck full of high school boys came screeching down the street and into my driveway where we were playing. They teased and taunted us and then dared us to get into their truck. I think they came so far as to open the door of the truck to approach us, when Jennifer pushed me as fast as she could to my front door and just by chance at that moment, my mother appeared to call me in for dinner. When these boys saw my mother, they peeled out of the driveway so fast and thankfully we never saw or heard from them again. It was a frightening though to think that we could have possibly been kidnapped (or worse?) on my own driveway, but we always managed to look out for one another.

So much time has passed since Jennifer and I have really talked to each other, after all we were just kids when we last spoke. But even as kids, I guess we really knew each other well, because when we got together yesterday for the first time in more years than I care to admit, it was as if only a few months had passed. And even though time, distance and pre-pubescent angst kept us apart temporarily, it's nice to know we were able to reconnect on a whole new, adult level and still feel like we did all those years ago.


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