Wednesday, April 4, 2007

T.S.Y.L.T., Part I

My friend Marianna has the honor of being the Friend I've Known the Longest With Whom I Am Still in Touch. Those of you who weren't military kids won't realize what a feat this is.

I met Marianna when we were about eight or nine years old. Her father was the pastor of our church, and we were both home schooled.* The great beauty of homeschooling was that our mothers would spend weeks during the summer planning our curriculum for the next year and recording it all in our assignment binder. So our work was set out before us in great detail, and if we got up extra early to complete it, we could be done by noon. If we were feeling particularly gung-ho, and if our mothers were feeling generous, we could work into the evening and have the whole next day off.

We lived in a military neighborhood in a safe time, and children ran freely through the community. Our houses were up a big hill from the others, the officers set apart from the enlisted soldiers. There were two playgrounds to choose from, a creepy pine forest behind the last row of houses, and vast green spaces. Families had mothers and fathers and at least two children. People didn't need reminders to drive slowly; there were no speed bumps.

Marianna's house backed up against one of the playgrounds, and she had a picnic table in her back yard. That is where we would meet, for lunch, after our school work was done for the day. We planned our meals to maximize the treats our mothers bought - she had fruit snacks and occasionally soda; I brought the chips and sandwiches.

In the hours between lunch and when our other friends would get home from school, we would disappear into her bedroom. We wrote furiously, producing a radio show we titled T.S.Y.L.T.

* I did have a brief three year stint in public school, ending when I begged my mom to home school me after second grade. This may have been more because a boy who liked me threw rocks at me while I was on the swings during recess (in retrospect, an eight year old has a pretty good arm to hit a swinging target) and less because I was intellectually advanced far beyond my peers.

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