Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paty, the Witch

When I was 3 or 4 we moved from an apartment to a house in a quiet little neighborhood. (Well, it was quiet before we moved there.) My older sister (The Editor) and I were pretty sheltered. We hadn’t had many friends besides each other until this new chapter of our lives. (She is, to this day, one of my best friends, but I’m not gonna lie—back then it was nice to have other friends in the mix.)

I have no idea what time of year it was when we moved there. I would like to say it was shortly after Halloween because my recollection is of us LIVING in witch costumes for the first couple of months after we moved in. However, it could have been April or June—I don’t really remember, I was 3 or 4—but, nevertheless, we were witches in a new, magical land. And, if you were ever a little girl, or have a little girl, or know a little girl, you know how silly little girls can be. The whole witch thing was how we met our new next door neighbor, Patricia. (Note: Her family called her Paty in a thick accent. The Editor)

(On a quick side note, which really has nothing to do with this story, I have an amazing memory. I really do. I just don’t have a good memory for anything that really matters. I can recite commercials from 30 years ago. I know the words to most songs on the radio from about 1980 to present day. I can tell you the name of my first grade teacher’s fiancĂ©’s mother’s brother’s cat. I just have trouble remembering anything useful or important, like where I parked my car, what day of the week it is, or that I actually need to take my grocery list to the grocery store with me to remember everything that is on it. Maybe Gigi or The Editor could enlighten us on when we moved into that house, but I cannot. I was 3 or 4 and that bit of information falls into the “useful” category, so my brain discarded it many moons ago, I am certain, in order to make room for something completely d-u-m.)

When we moved to the house that is the home of all memories childhood, The Editor and I were constantly outside, running around, riding our bikes, climbing the trees, roller skating (in the roller skates with metal wheels that clacked every time we went over the sidewalk cracks), making up dances, singing songs, etc., etc. in our witch costumes during daylight hours, and part of the night, too, until the street lights came on and Gigi called us inside. But anyway, during these hours of new-found freedom, we noticed that there was another witch in our neighborhood. And all of a sudden we realized that she was outside, running around, riding bikes behind us, climbing adjacent trees, roller skating (in the roller skates with metal wheels that clacked every time she went over the sidewalk cracks), making up dances, singing songs, etc., etc. The witch get-up was how we found our common ground and started forging a friendship with Patricia.

Remember that I mentioned I was only 3 or 4 and that we had been pretty sheltered thus far in our little lives? Well, even though we were running around in our witch costumes from sun up to sun down, it never occurred to me that Patricia might also just be wearing a costume. For probably the first 6 or 8 months that we lived there, I really thought she was a witch. It might have had something to do with her being new and mysterious because we didn’t really know her. It might have had something to do with her long, thick red hair and cinnamon colored freckles—something I had never really seen before. But mostly I think that I thought she was a witch because she was wearing that costume AND she (and her family) spoke Spanish. In my little mind that made her exotic and a little bit dangerous and very cool—but a witch nevertheless.

Patricia was 4 or 5 years older than me, and 2 or 3 years older than The Editor. We were all great friends for many, many years. We played dress up, did backyard shows, played Charlie’s Angels, played office, and had countless adventures together. As I got older I realized that her witch outfit was just a costume like ours and that she spoke Spanish because she was Mexican. When Patricia was in high school she moved away. Before she moved I told her about thinking she was a witch. She told me that she thought there were 6 of us little girls when we moved in because we were so all over the place (and also that we were always changing our clothes/costumes. T.E.). Funny. Little girls think funny things.

Joy now plays in my witch costume, the one I wore when I was 3 or 4. When she runs around in it and it rustles, I can almost hear the metal wheels of my roller skates singing the sidewalk songs of the magic of childhood.

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body

Note from The Editor: I recall the move as occurring in the summer of 1975. I was just out of first grade and was 6 years old. Is that right, Gigi?

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