She is not quite two years older than me. When we were very little, people sometimes thought we were twins. We don't look alike, but we were pretty much joined at the hip in our early years, so I understand why people thought that. We colored together, bent over our books intent on achieving new levels of creativity, despite the fact that we were, at that time, color-in-the-lines kind of gals. We made clothes for our paper dolls, designing women that we were. Natalie Wood and Joanne Woodward come to mind. We picked them out at a Five and Dime, on a rare trip to The Cities.
When I finally got my Barbie Doll, we competed for the love of Little Joe in our imaginary lives of Barbie and friend. I decided, after too much irritation, to choose Adam instead. His dark good looks and intelligence (he was a well-read man) was more to my liking anyway. Who needed Little Joe's charming smile. Right now, Hoss is looking pretty good. He had a kindness about him... But, I digress.
She's the one who was always there helping me to find the Perfect Fort, the Perfect Picnic spot, and the one to tell me the facts of life, all mentioned in previous posts. Jane and I smoked our first cigarette together, out behind the garage, sitting on Dad's upturned boat. We "borrowed" it from our cousin Mickey, who probably knew we'd be sorry. And, boy, were we. I still remember how sick I felt. Glad I got that over with early.
We danced the Loco Motion in the living room, practicing for my first school dance and she was there the first time I was allowed to go to the Purple Peanut. It was a local dance place, with live bands playing every Wednesday and Saturday night. The very first guy I danced with at the Peanut was, unbeknownst to us at the time, her future husband. Small towns are like that. She gave me sought after, and probably much needed, advice. We were each others wing-woman. We both fell in love with Rusty, a summer friend (who remains a dear friend to both of us to this day). We vied for his attention, until Rusty brought Bill with him one summer and due to Rusty's lingering affection for my sister, my attention turned elsewhere. Bill was my early Jack Kerouac.
We both married young and had children, young, spending time together as often as possible, helping each other get through the hard times. And there were some hard times.
She continues to give me a wise and loving ear from time to time, whenever I need a non-judgmental visit with someone who knows me, and loves me in spite of it.
Jane is one of the most giving people I know. When my parents needed a lot of care, she was there more than anyone else, with her love and attention. After raising four children of her own, she is now playing a major role in the raising of her grandchild, CeCe, and doing a beautiful job of it. She continues to work in an assisted living apartment complex helping the elderly with their daily lives. And, I know she brings joy to their lives every day. She lives in a three-story Victorian house painted yellow and raspberry, with a beautiful yard every summer and many hanging baskets. She also has a really quaint place on a canal off the Gulf of Mexico in Port Isabel, Texas. It's yellow and white with a porch overlooking the water, where I love to have morning coffee with her in the spring. Everyone that visits talks about the wonderful, very peaceful energy there.