Riffing on Pam

As I'm sure has happened to you, my Facebook is gaining momentum, and I'm reconnecting with old friends I grew up with. Smack in the middle of my life, I'm being thrown back to my Powder Springs childhood and the realization that it wasn't all bad. I thought it would be fun to profile some of those folks over the next couple of weeks:

Pam today, with her daughter Erica

My best friend in fourth and fifth grade was Pam Crawford. She came from a big family (four kids!!!), and her father worked in Abu Dhabi. I only had the one sister and my father worked at Lockheed. To me, Pam was exotic.

She was fairy-sized, a couple of inches shorter than I was. I wanted to weigh the same as she did, so for a while I only ate popsicles.

Pam and I were jealous of Yvette McWilliams, who wore platform heels and lip gloss, but we reminded each other that our mothers loved us enough to consign us to Keds and ChapStick. We could talk for hours about Yvette's hard road ahead as a cocktail waitress.

As for our own future, we were going to form a band called Lemon & Lime and live in an orange VW bus with gingham curtains. I can't sing, but I didn't know it then, and Pam didn't feel the need to tell me. Not even when our harmonic duet performance of Edelweiss in the Camp Safety Patrol talent show lost to a girl who jump-roped to Hot Butter's Popcorn.

Pam could sing as well as Karen Carpenter. She was also a great actress. To prove it, she once sat down in a bathtub full of scalding hot water--water I could not put my whole hand in--smiling the whole time, never a flinch.

The only thing Pam couldn't do well was write in cursive. So our fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Shallenburger, made me tutor her. That was the year I learned to be condescending.

Ultimately, Pam had penmanship to rival a monastic scribe. That made her officially better at everything.


mamoo said...

she looks the same. still cute.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my old pal ... you really do me honor, Karen Carpenter ... seriously?? Thank you for rekindling those childhood memories. Frankly, I thought you were the exotic one ... still do. As I said, you were always light-years ahead of your time. You truly are an incredible writer and poet. Thanks for memorializing a couple of great memories...
Pamelita (well, its more exotic than plain Pam)

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Reading that just flooded my brain with great memories of our childhood. I remember being so jealous of you two getting to go to camp.You both look the same (which also makes me jealous once again). I'm enjoying reading all of your wonderful poetry. What a gift. So great hearing from you!

Angie (Pamelita's sis)

ButtonHole said...

Great post! But.....have you reconnected with Yvette?? I'm dying to know where she's working.

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