When I was in 2nd grade, a family moved in down the street. They were Hispanic, and living in a very Caucasian (read white!)-heavy town, I had never seen a family of that skin-tone before and I remember thinking they must be black. (That's not really important to the story. I've just always remembered that for some strange reason.)
None of that mattered, though. They had 2 girls! The family who lived there before had boys, and while we did all play together, I was thrilled to have girls living so close. Their oldest girls, Debbie, was 2 years older than me. Their other daughter, Monica, was a year younger. We were all friends, but Monica and I were especially close.
I spent a lot of time at Monica's house growing up. I can remember her mother growing peppers in their backyard. I had fajitas for the very first time at her house (this was WAY back before every Mexican food restaurant in town had them on the menu). We used to lay out in her backyard. Her dad used to laugh at the pair of us - Monica with her beautiful brown skin and me with my whiter-than-white-never-tanned skin.
They had a lot of extended family in the Houston area and they were often over at the house. I got to know her family very well. They often joked that I was the adopted daughter. I loved Monica's family as much as I loved her.
Over the years, we have not kept in touch much. We were in each other's weddings. We went to each other's baby showers. Our kids went to each other's birthday parties when they were young. Monica and her parents came to my mom's funeral. But the day-to-day communication hasn't happened much. We talk to each other about once a year.
Monica called me this week to invite me to a Southern Living at Home party at her house. (She knows I've always enjoyed those type of things.) I am so excited to go. Not only will I get to see Monica, but her family will be there. I can't wait!