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In 1972 my family moved from Jackson, Mississippi to Nashville (Bellevue). Jackson schools were in disarray with integration problems. I was an upcoming junior in high school. It was the only time period in my life that I didn't like my father.
I HATE THIS SCHOOL. I WANT TO GO BACK HOME!
The first time I saw Ruthie, I was in the school bathroom feeling sorry for myself. Ruthie came in the bathroom and she was crying.
i'm so glad I don't know who you are. No one wants to see me sad, they want happy Ruthie.
My mother died - ironing pillow cases watching some stupid soap opera - a brain aneurysm.
Ruthie was splashing water on her face in the sink and boo hooing. She stopped and looked at me.
I thought I had problems. I have to admit you beat me on this one.
Misery is a contest?
Ruthie began to laugh. And then I laughed.We laughed so hard that both of us were crying. Ruthie was in the "popular"crowd, dated Buster Leaman. I never pushed our friendship - she would find me. She called me, "Munchkin" because I was so petite. I have never liked nicknames, but with Ruthie it made me feel special. Like I was a part of a secret. Ruthie decided I was going to try out for cheerleader. Back then, it was a popularity vote, but Ruthie and I cheered every afternoon for two months and she insisted that we be on the same team when we tried out - in front of the whole student body. I was "elected" cheerleader along with Ruthie.
Ruthie and became great friends, but she would say to me, "When the dark veil comes pretend like you don't know me." I was her only friend that didn't act dramatic when she was depressed. I never asked her questions. I could always make Ruthie laugh. She depended on that.