To this day, I remember Margo's childhood phone number, as I called her house nearly every day from the rotary phone on my kitchen wall. We loved each other in that sweet childhood way that only first best friends can.
|Me, Margo, and my Dad at the Haddonfield Five-Miler, our first-ever race, in 1984|
There was only one complication: Margo's big brother, Jonathan. I thought of him then as a a high-schooler but now I realize he was probably a sixth or seventh-grader at most. He was a bit Kevin Arnold's older brother from the t.v. series The Wonder Years and a bit Greg Heffley's older brother in the book series (and movie) Diary of a Wimpy Kid. And he did not take a liking to me. He may not have liked anyone else, either, but I specifically remember how little he cared for me. Margo and I would be sitting at the kitchen table doing a puzzle and in would walk Jonathan. I would attempt a smile and a "Hi," only to be met by scowling and a grunt of disgust.
Also, Jonathan claimed complete control over the family phone, so that every time I called (which was every day, possibly multiple times), he would answer. EVERY time. My name back then was Jenny Perry (I took the name Gentlesk when I got married), but when I called I didn't have to say my name because Jonathan knew my voice. Thus:
"Hi ... can I please speak to Margo?"
Silence. Deep sigh of irritation. Then ...
"Maaaaar-gooooooo! Poopin' Perry's on the phone!"
Then Margo would answer. We always just pretended that we hadn't heard the offensive name though, of course, we had. I would feel a bit embarrassed ( thinking "I'm NOT Poopin' Perry, I'll show him!") and then I would move on. Margo couldn't help her brother, and I couldn't worry about my last name beginning with a P. Right? This is what we do for love. This is just what we do.
Tune in next time for the story of how I hid in Jonathan's room during a game of hide-n-seek only to accidentally break his desk JUST as he came home ... You'll laugh, you'll cry ...