I have a basket of trinkets on my dresser in the bedroom under a stack of mismatched socks waiting for their sole mates to return to them. Heh. Is it wrong to chuckle at my own puns? I was digging for a match today and pulled out a braided yarn necklace I made when I was 13. That put my mental way-back machine on overdrive. Who taught me how to braid? It certainly wasn't my mother.
It came to me in a flash...Pam Launder. Suddenly I was transported back to the summer of 1977. Pam's family bought one of the few contemporary split-level homes on my street. Her dad had been transferred by his work to the east coast from California. I remember being impressed by that fact. That and the fact that Pam was so much cooler than all the other kids on the street. She dressed like one of the beach kids from Sigmund and the Sea Monsters. She also wore thin braids, one on each side of her face, that she would sometimes decorate with a feather or beads on the ends. Just like a real California "hippy". Like my Dad always said...California was full of hippies and liberals. (Feel free to roll your eyes. I just did too.)
While most of the girl cliques on the street shunned Pam at first, I welcomed her. It was exciting to have someone new to hang out with and escape from the constant in-fighting and gossip from the other neighborhood girls. Pam was more like me. She was used to moving around a lot and having to make all new friends, start over in a new house and at a new school, and just get comfortable when you would be uprooted and have to do it all again.
Pam and I shared a love for music that none of the other girls did. I remember sitting in her room (or mine) and playing our Shaun Cassidy records over and over... He was soooo dreamy. I was jealous that she was allowed to hang up the free poster than came inside the album. I wasn't allowed to hang anything on my bedroom walls. Mother said it might damage the wallpaper. (Yes, I am rolling my eyes again.) But I did get away with hanging him (and later The Dukes of Hazzard) on the back of my bedroom door.
Pam was the one who totally busted me for secretly kissing my poster of Shaun. I denied it! But she pointed out my lip prints on the glossy paper. She was also the one who taught me how to braid my hair. I tried her look a few times, but my dad picked on me and called me Pocahontas, so I gave it up.
I even remember having lunch at Pam's house one time. Her mom asked me if I liked tuna salad. I loved tuna! Or so I thought. Pam's mom used Miracle Whip and pickle relish in her version of tuna salad. Ick! Who does that?! Everyone knows the proper way to make tuna salad is with Hellmans, diced green pepper and celery. Right? That's how MY mom made it. I remember running home and telling my mom all about the horrors of Mrs. Launder's tuna. I didn't realize until years and years later why that news seemed to make my mom really happy. Moms like it when their kids praise their cooking skills, FYI.
Then, after only a year or so, Pam's dad was transferred again and she was gone. We did the pen pal thing for a while, but lost touch as kids are prone to do at that age.
So! Pam Launder! If you remember spending a short time on Cot Hill Rd in Bedford MA in the late 70s, drop me a note. I enjoyed being your friend and remember you fondly. Plus I can give you credit for the long braid rat tail I sported in the late 80s. Amiee Mann gave me the hair-style idea, but I wouldn't have been able to pull it off without your braiding lessons.