The last message that I received from my childhood friend was at the end of March.
However, we did chat a little bit the beginning of this month(April). This post is about remembering my dear late, and beloved friend, LaRhonda Marzette. Here it is:
It was summer time in the 1980’s. A few classmates of mine(some were bullies)yelled my name and waved with a gleaming white smile. I looked the other way to see if my eyes were playing tricks on me. They were not.
« Yeah, you! I’m talking to you! How come you are not in camp with us? » I shrugged my shoulders to let my bully of a classmate know that I did not know. And, thank God I did not. I felt very relieved that I was not around this group of mean popular kids that summer.
I had other things that kept me busy. And, I had other things that I thought was more fun. Plus, the last thing that I needed was to spend the entire year with my classmates, which included the bullies. There they were: hopping, skipping, jumping, and walking behind an adult group leader.
Or, two. Or, three. Also, there were lots of kids. Nah. That was O.K. My sister(2 years younger than me)and I had our own agenda. We had our own sets of friends to play with around the neighborhood.😊Yeah, we went on little « kiddy adventures » around town(Tahlequah, Oklahoma).😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣
Some of those adventures involved walking to Safeway with one of the neighborhood kids, to look for treasure in the grocery store’s dumpster(we were told that there was treasure and new cosmetics there)😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣, playing tennis with tennis players, who were on tennis teams at the local university(N.S.U.), me interrogating newly married couples and/or lovebirds on campus(questioning them about happiness as couples),making before start of the day and end of the day shenanigans trips to drink water from the water fountain at the police station(I didn’t know until almost 2 years later that it was a police department)😂😂😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣, and more.😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣
To continue, thinking about the hell that I was going through at Cherokee Elementary, I lied and told this school bully in particular that I would join him and the others soon.
Shit. So, my summer continued on as marvelous as a child like me could expect. However, eventhough the nice and long summer ended and school began again, causing more daily stress for me. The entire town seemed empty of color and culture, other than the racist Native Americans there who shockingly did not live in teepees like the John Wayne movies that me, my sisters(2nd & 3rd sisters), and my dad used to watch while living in Los Angeles, California.
I didn’t see any Asians, Hispanics, Italians, Africans, multitudes of black Americans, Jews, nor other racial groups in Tahlequah, Oklahoma that particular day in time(other than one Italian mom who had children who were mixed with Native American and a Cuban lady, who had a toddler son who I used to play with in the Tahlequah Women’s Shelter)like I used to see in Los Angeles, California.
Anyway, escaping my classmates forever was not to be.
Another classmate told me about this very same camp. I told him about my concern about the classroom bully. He told me that he was going to go to the camp and for me not to be concerned about this bully, because most likely neither me nor the bully was going to be in the same groups. I still was not convinced.
And, I was not all that thrilled about going, until he told me that we were going to be eating on the University ‘s campus. And, the camp people were going to serve us wonderful food.
As a result, I readily agreed after that. However, I felt that I would still be alone somehow. So, I asked about my sisters going. My sister(2 years younger than me)was able to go. As a result, after this classmate and I got through talking, he introduced me at a later date to his mother, who was in the P.T.A.(Parent Teacher Association).
She was a very nice woman, who had a bubbly personality, was full of laughter, and warmth(now a minister?). I could not believe that she had a lot of sons but no daughters!😮😯Anyway, she gave me the forms that were necessary for my sister and I to attend camp.
Also, she let me know that she wanted to meet my mother. I told my mother about her and the two hit it off!👏👏👏👏👏👏Well, the paperwork was complete and my sister and I were enrolled in N.Y.S.P.(National Youth Sports Program).
At the time, I just knew it as « camp » and that this camp was to have good food. And, that everything was to go well as long as I participated in everything. Just like school, I felt lonely at this camp. I attended camp with both girl and boy bullies, which made it double hell for me.😫☹😬😰😰
Since we as a group were usually dismissed after lunchtime, I usually snuck delicious items from my lunch tray out of the university cafeteria, and cut my lunch time short.
By the time the next summer rolled by, I decided that I was not going to return again, until I made a new friend: LaRhonda Marzette!😊😊☺☺🤗🤗👏👏👏😁(to be continued)…