I am fortunate and richly blessed to have a protective circle of friends in my life. I have different groups of friends which have been acquired during the many seasons of my life. The ones who know me best are the ones I've known the longest; though, we did lose touch for around 15 years after high school.
Robin comes as close to having a sister as I can possibly imagine. Even though, turns out I do have an actual sister we didn't know about. Apparently dad was a naughty boy right after I was born. My sister was born exactly one year after me. Just found out about her earlier this year - but that's a whole nother post!
Back to Robin, my soul sister. Today is her birthday. Happy Birthday Bert!
At the age of 19, I was one confused, scared little puppy. I was writing things in my journal about Mr. Personality, the criminal I wanted to marry. It was some sick shit, trust me. But, in the middle of all that pain and angst - there she was. On January 9, 1982 I wrote, "I don't see many of my friends anymore. Robin is the only one I keep in touch with. She was always the one who understood me." Then I went on to explain how our friend M had become a whore and was single handedly starting a VD epidemic in Oklahoma City and the outlying regions.
But I digress.
Robin is sewing right now. She keeps her head down and sews the most amazingly, brilliant original collection of dolls, quilts, ornies, you name it - the girl can sew it. She also knits things that hug your neck and make you look elegant. She has a husband, a beautiful home, an ex, a daughter, a charming lake house, stepchildren, a mother and a sister to watch over. Oh, and now she's a Mobin (grandmother, without sounding old).
She has buried a dad and a brother.
I know why she sews.
She is smart and funny in a sick, twisted kinda way. She can diagnose patients, write prescriptions, design original cards, take amazing photos, teach zoology to impressionable college freshmen and still have time to make witches and pumpkin head dolls for fall. The one pictured above gracefully adorns my kitchen table. I like to have a little Robin around me at all times. I miss her.
In high school, she designed the logo for our pom pon squad uniforms, taking the W.H. and making it look like the Van Halen logo. Not these uniforms, I think we borrowed these from the boys basketball team because we forgot it was photo day.
Robin has always had a style I admired. Her clothes were all from Dillards while I was still wearing the Winnie-the-Pooh collection from Sears. We used to sit on her bed and hot roller our hair. She came out looking like Farrah. I was hoping for Jaclyn Smith but I'm afraid I looked more like Janis Joplin.
Crazy hair or not, I was always at peace with her. We carried each other. We still do. We wake up dreaming about each other when we sense something is not right with the other. They are powerful dreams and they are usually amazingly accurate. Pretty scary for two people who get to see each other maybe once every three years.
This photo was taken a few years back during one of our reunions. It was held at Robin's lake house. She made dolls for each of us. Mine came with a hand knit scarf to keep her warm in Wisconsin. She named her Burrrr. She has a puff of crazy, red hair and she's a bit aged. Sounds familiar.
This group of women represents my closest childhood friends, though one important one is missing (Tina). Through email, we "talk" every day. We cry, we laugh, we worry, we support, we get tough, brutally honest, we will allow doubts but only for a moment before we build each other up again. We are the Leaders of the Free World because of the influence we wield as a group. We are a force to be reckoned with, an unstoppable, unflappable, immensely powerful union.
Many times, it feels as if Robin is the heart of our group.
In case you are wondering, I'm on the bottom left of the photo. Robin is sitting next to me. She's the one with the good hair.
Robin and I continue to revel in our Bert & Ernie characterizations: She - a tidy, organized gay man with a unibrow and multiple collections and me - a happy-go-lucky goofy character who can be content with a bubble bath and a rubber ducky (as long as I have Bert in my life). However, Robin was quick to point out that gay man and unibrow is in fact, an oxymoron. Touche, my dear friend.
Side note - there is some truly disturbing shit on the internet. I googled images of Bert & Ernie and found one with a stripper using B & E as part of her act. It was just wrong, bordering on muppet abuse. Then there's the one of Bert doing Ernie from behind. Clearly Ernie would never be Bert's bitch. Shocking.
Happy Birthday chica - see you next month!