My very best friend when I was growing up was Violet. That’s not just the name of a flower or a color. That was her name, and it was beautiful. She lived very close to us, and so as soon as I hopped off the school bus every day, I changed my clothes in a flash and ran down the road to her house.
Across the road from their house there was a rectangular cement pad which used to be the foundation for a milk house. It was a perfect place for us to play school (my favorite game as a girl, it seems), have tea parties, play with our dolls, or to just gab, which we were both very good at doing.
We also saw each other on Sundays because we went to the same church – the one where my daddy preached. We always played together at church suppers and other events. One time we decided to go outside and run around the parking lot instead of singing and playing games in the basement with the adults. But then we grew tired of the boys chasing us, so we climbed up on the outhouse roof and sat perched like two birds. As long as we had each other, it didn’t matter that it was a bit smelly.
We always sat beside each other on the school bus. I had a cape – one that could be worn with the red showing, or turned to the blue side. We often had secrets to share, so on the bus we’d open up the cape and put it over us like a tent. It was a little dark under there, but a great place to giggle. Plus we didn’t have to worry about anyone looking at us. There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t tell my friend, Violet. We shared everything.
One time the two of us were sitting side-by-side on the bus, under my cape, talking and giggling as usual. All of a sudden the bus driver yanked the cape off. Everybody was looking at us. It seems he had been trying to get everyone’s attention to make an announcement, but we had continued to chatter. We were having a good time in our secret place. It was a little embarrassing, but as soon as he finished talking, we were right under the cape again. It was our secret place, our sanctuary, and we wouldn’t share it with anyone.