March 13, 2009

Homer Memories

First Grade. I am on the 2nd row first desk (sporting the lovely brown specs). Charlene is on the next to last row, 4th desk.

Charlene's birthday party. Me (with the glasses again). Charlene in the pink shirt. Cute!

The Rebel Review! Our 1st grade class getting our groove on as 20s flapper girls. I thought I was so hot in my green fringed mini-dress and headband. Charlene, all the way to the right, was bringing down the house sporting her smokin' red ensemble...

Hey there... sorry its been a while since my last blog... Blame it on work, children, an entire family catching the flu... excuses, excuses... :)

I have to say this facebook venture is getting more interesting every day! I've wondered at times- is it a distraction? Is it a God thing? As long as I'm not neglecting my family or my quiet time, I tend to vote on it being a God thing. I cannot tell you how many more friends I have found! And some of the conversations I've had have been amazing! Like the old friend of ours from our partying days who shared how he had been addicted to cocaine for 20+ years, how Jesus delivered him, restored his marriage and family and now he's a living testimony to the rest of our old crowd. Precious!

My most recent and greatest facebook blessing has been the recent re-discovery of my oldest friend Charlene Smith (Killgore now)! Don't get me wrong- SHE'S not old :)... (actually I'm older than her), I've just known her longer than anyone to date! We were kindergarten friends! Maybe even before that! But she found me on facebook! I still can't believe it! It brings back so many memories

I can remember pretty far back... I was born here in Baton Rouge when my dad was going to grad school at LSU (I don't remember that however), but we soon moved to Homer (not Houma) Louisiana in the northern part of the state when I was a toddler. My earliest memories were of going to church- First Baptist of Homer. I remember the Coke machine downstairs- the OLD type that held glass bottles. After putting in your coins, you opened the skinny glass door and the bottles were each in a hole. It took quite a bit of strength (for me anyway) to pull those suckers out. (I usually had to request the help of an adult). After popping off the metal top with the machine's bottle opener one was privileged to enjoy the coldest, most delicious beverage found in any church in America. When it was consumed, the empty bottles were deposited in a rack besides the machine. I realize that I am dating myself but does anybody else remember those old Coke machines? And why on earth did First Baptist Church of Homer have one?

I also remember at 8 years old, getting baptized at First Baptist (this memory comes in a close second to the Coke machine). Each year I lived in rapt anticipation of the annual showing of The Wizard of Oz on one of our three TV channels. And wouldn't you know-the night of my baptism was the date the obviously heathen station programmer chose to schedule it. I was torn- for about five seconds and my dilemma was quickly solved by my unmoving parents who never could see the significance of Dorothy's quest as compared to my following the Lord in the waters of baptism. Afterwards, I swore up and down (nobody ever believed me) that our elderly pastor wore pantyhose when he baptized me. It must have been some sort of wet suit or something but my childish mind was quite convinced he'd been shopping in the women's lingerie department of Homer's Morgan and Lindsey department store. I'm sure it distracted from my spiritual experience. (But don't worry- I got baptized again years later in a swimming pool in Hawaii. The pastor was properly clothed this time, and I was properly focused.)

Earlier than that I also remember my mom going to work when I was about three. We stayed with some poor old woman who had a nursery school in her house (God bless her soul). One of my very earliest memories is during naptime, sneaking int0 her closet with scissors and cutting a hole in the woman's dress. At least I was creative. I cut it in the shape of a crescent moon. I'm pretty sure my time at her nursery school was short-lived. I'll have to ask Cathy for her name. I'd find her and repent but she was nearly a hundred years old back when I was three... I doubt she's a hundred plrsyhfft now... Probably enjoying her eternal rewards for putting up with the likes of me...

And I remember my friends. I was such a tomboy that most of my friends were boys. I lived in the trees, the lake or in the ditch... My next door neighbor Greg was my constant companion. But finally the sad day arrived when we had start school and Greg and I parted ways... He went to Homer Elementary and I went to Claiborne Academy. In kindergarten Mrs.Moss was my teacher. I don't remember a whole lot of learning there like the kindergartners of today but I do remember a lot of finger painting and climbing on the giant red shoe in the classroom. I guess it was modeled after the nursery rhyme 'The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe". But whatever it was, somewhere near that shoe Charlene and I began a sweet childhood friendship. She wasn't a doll player or bow wearer like the other silly girls in our class. Charlene had brothers, dogs and cows... it was a friendship made in heaven... She was my very best friend and we enjoyed many hours of good wholesome outdoor play. But when at 9 years old, my family decided to leave Homer for the 'greener pastures' of Ruston, we were heartbroken. Later, I returned to Homer to visit Charlene one summer. We slept in the hayloft and fed the calves and listened to Tanya Tucker on her built-into-the-wall radio (Charlene was high-tech for her time) and I was in heaven with my oldest bestest friend again. But despite our friendship, I guess life moved on for both of us and we sadly went our separate ways. Except for one brief meeting in high school, I never heard from her again..........until this past week!!! Yep- facebook again!

It has been awesome to reconnect with Charlene. You'd think after all this time we'd have nothing to talk about but we have had a blast writing lengthy messages catching up on 30 years of life since we last saw one another. She grew up to be a precious woman. She is the manager of a lab. She went to pharmacy school and graduated in toxoligy (I can't even spell it! :). My old friend Charlene is a scientist! She loves Jesus, is a tremendous mother and a loving wife. I am so happy to have found her again. Or rather- to have been found by her again...

You know it just goes to show you-nothing is wasted in the life of a believer! I have no doubt that now that Charlene and I have reconnected, we'll not lose each other again. Even from our barely remembered past, God was working and planning and setting in place things for our future in Him. It comforts me and warms me to think of His exacting, detailed involvement in our lives. He really cares about what is important to us. Yes our God is big, but He is also intimate. How I love Him! And oh how He loves us!

So much of my growing in God has been through His untangling me from my past, of His helping me face and be healed of past regrettable relationships and memories. But isn't it so like Him, to bless me, just for the sheer joy of it, by bringing back into my life one of the purest relationships of my early years when life was simple and uncomplicated? How precious that the wholesome friendship of two innocent little girls was purposed in the mind of God and was observed and enjoyed by heaven. Isn't that sweet? To quote my dad, it just 'warms the cockles of my heart'. (And by the way Dad- what are cockles?)

Anyhow, as soon as I find some, I'm going to try to figure out how to scan and post some old photos of my Homer era and me and Charlene... Stay tuned!

Be blessed! Kayla


Sonja said...

Facebook is pretty fun, and I too was able to get in touch with one of my best friends from elementry! We lived in Quito, Ecuador and I was suprised at how many were on facebook from that time!
It is also an opportunity to witness and let others in on your life as a christian!
Keep writing, it's making a difference!


Unknown said...

Oh Kayla, my dear friend, you have made me cry once again. Happy tears, of course. I think one of the reasons I have kept you so close in my heart all these years is because it was a "wholesome friendship of two innocent little girls". I too regret not keeping in touch but oh how sweet it was when we finally did reconnect. It was all part of God's great plan for us.

And guess what, I went to my mom's house last night and we looked through old photographs for hours and I found some of you. I will be posting them soon on my blog. I found one of our 1st grade class so I will be putting that one on facebook too.

Anonymous said...

You're the next Erma Bombeck or Barbara Johnson! You definitely got Dad's way with words. So glad you reconnected with Charlene...and by the way...our poor baby sitter was..."Nanny" Covington ( I think)...I remember her serving me my first bowl of "chicken and stars"!