My childhood was filled with magic. Real magic. I swear it was. I still believe it.
As an adult, when it comes to practical things, I’m a realist and a bit of a cynic. But I still refuse to stop believing in fairytales and all that implies.
I long ago lost touch with my friends Sarah and Rachel Cook (they were sisters). And the last contact I had with Sarah was a letter telling me all about their current lives. It wasn’t good. Neither of these beautiful, talented, imaginitive, intelligent girls grew up to be well-balanced women. And it was incredibly sad to me. I intended to answer that letter and keep in touch, but I lost track of time and never got around to it and now I don’t know where she is anymore.
So, I get to remember them both as my partners in fantasy.
My mother returned to work full time when I was in second grade, which meant I had to start attending an after school program called Latchkey. This is where I met Sarah and Rachel. Sarah was a year ahead of me in school and Rachel a year behind. Their father was a professor at Elmira College in the drama department. Perhaps that is where they got their abilities from.
Sarah and Rachel could draw, something I could never do. They used to draw me beautiful pictures of all these creatures and I hung the pictures on my bedroom walls. The pictures are long since gone, but live on in my mind.
For some reason, I saw more rainbows in that short period of years of my life than I have in all the rest of the years of my life. I’m still in awe of them when I have the privelege of finding one. But back then, we would try to find the end of the rainbow, fully believing there was a leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of it. If only we could get there. If only I still could. Because, despite all I know about prisms and water bending light and all the science behind rainbows, I still believe there’s much more to them than that. The science is just a ruse to fool the unbelieving and stop them from finding the truth about the world.
I think every little girl has a memory of spinning in circles in an open field somewhere, getting dizzy and falling down in a heap. We did that. A lot. But to us, this spinning and getting dizzy and falling down was an entry into our fantasy world. I would close my eyes upon hitting the ground and picture vast open fields of green with a blue sky, puffy white clouds and rainbows all around. There was a castle there. I was the princess who lived in the castle. And I could work magic spells in this world in a way I couldn’t here on earth. Because, while I believed magic was real here, I couldn’t do it myself … yet.
We pretended we were characters from the cartoons we watched. We were no Looney Toons girls. We watched He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats. Anything set in another world with serious and fantastical themes. It was so much fun.
We played on swings, soaring so high we were sure we would flip around the top bar. This was, in fact, our goal. We didn’t really think that doing so could end in our deaths or at least maiming. I don’t think we cared.
The tire swings in our school playground were the type that swung around in circles without the chains getting tangled up. We used to get them going really fast, then one of us would stand up, hold on to the chains and let go with our feet and “fly.”
Oh, what a time we had! How I miss those girls. How I miss those days. When I think about going back to a time past in my life, it is that time.
Wherever you are, Sarah and Rachel, I love you. And I still believe. I hope you do, too.