Polar Opposites

How Barbie, an Easy Bake Oven & flipping the bird cemented a friendship

Tracy Willis
The Memoirist

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Photo by American Heritage Chocolate on Unsplash

I don’t remember the first time I met Peggy, but I’d say I was probably in first grade. She was a grade behind me in school and lived three houses down from me. We met because we had to wait at the same bus stop.

Our neighborhood consisted of five houses. The Kindts lived next door to me; their family had four girls who my parents frequently employed as my babysitters. The Bryants lived to the right of my house, a boy and a girl. The boy child was wild, and I stayed away from him after he cracked me over the head with a shovel. Mr. Nelson lived on the other side of the Kindts. He and his wife were elderly and cranky. Peggy lived on the other side of the Nelsons. She had two high school-aged brothers and an older sister. In my family, it was just my little sister and me. I guess you might say that Peggy and I became friends because of proximity.

Blonde and blue-eyed, she wore her yellow hair down to her shoulders in two ponytails fastened low enough so that they fit under the baseball cap she always wore. She was short, so her blue jeans were always rolled up and cuffed. She had a wardrobe of t-shirts, flannel shirts, and polo shirts. The only time I saw Peggy in a dress was when she wore her turquoise cowgirl outfit with the white fringe.

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Tracy Willis
The Memoirist

I'm a teacher who woke up one day and asked, “How the hell did I get here?” Writing compels me, and I've learned to listen when the universe speaks. Finally.