Monday, 27 August 2012
My Friend, Margaret
By Marcy Belson
I met Margaret when I was eight years old. She was a best friend to Faye. Faye had married my father's nephew and he was away serving in the Army. Faye was expecting their first child and she slept at our house frequently.
I loved having Faye at our house; she was eighteen years old, pretty and fun. We only had two bedrooms so she shared a bed with me. If I turned over during the night, I would feel her hipbone beside me. She was the thinnest person I knew.
Anyway, Margaret and Faye were in school together and had been friends for years. I remember being in our front yard playing with a doll when I looked up and saw them coming down the sidewalk toward me.
Margaret had long blond hair and she wore the popular style with curls down her back and a wave over the forehead a la Betty Grable style. Faye wore the same style with brown hair and eyes. They were both fashionable young women. I remember going downtown with them and window shopping at Town Shops and Mode O' Day. I thought they were both beautiful.
Fast forward almost 50 years. Margaret and her husband were living in Oregon when we moved here. I didn't know it but Faye told me after we were settled across town from Margaret's neighborhood.
I called her and we talked and agreed to meet for dinner. That was the start of our adult friendship.
Since both of us were born and grew up in the same little desert town, it was a special friendship. We could say a first name and the other person knew who we were referring to. We knew every store, every street and most of the people. She was a special friend to me.
Margaret dearly loved garage sales. She was a serious shopper. On Thursday and Friday, she began circling the newspaper ads and planning her day.
On Saturday morning, I was to arrive at her house before 9AM. She had a lined notepad ready. I was usually the driver and she gave me instructions.
We never circled back. We started at the most distant sale and worked our way through the area she had chosen. She had done this for years before I moved to town so she knew the streets and the areas where she felt the best bargains were to be had.
I don't think there were many times when she went home empty handed. She had furnished most of the bedrooms in her home with items she had found at sales. Her decorating skills were very good and she had to tell me what she had done. I was surprised it really is a skill.
Margaret is a sweet natured, very quiet woman. She hasn't changed from the time she was 18 years old. I think everyone who knows her, loves her.
Because she is a sweet person, she agreed to accompany me on one of my wilder quests. I don't think she was 100 percent sold on the idea, but she was willing to go with me.
Our landlord was a probation department officer and as such, he had daily interactions with the court system. He had talked to me about his work and said "You should go and sit in the courtroom for awhile and watch the proceedings."
I decided this would be most interesting and persuaded Margaret to go with me. I also thought it would be the same as the courtrooms in the downtown courthouse where I had been on several juries.
On the planned morning, we arrived at the court which is attached to the intake building. We had to go through the metal screening and open our purses for the officer who directed us to the courtroom.
It didn't look a thing like the courtrooms I had been in. It was a small room, with the prisoners behind a wall with a window and a microphone. The judge was seated close enough to us to see her every move. There were the attorneys, and very few people in the visitor seats. Most of them were young, dressed in Levi's and sporting more than a few tattoos and piercing.
Margaret and I had dressed for the occasion, both of us wearing our best outfits. We stood out like sore thumbs, like the dummies we were and unable to just get up and leave. We chose to sit against the back wall thinking we would be like little mice, just watch for awhile, then get up and quietly leave.
It was interesting and the judge was a very nice woman. Someone spoke to her quietly and she looked at us. After another ten minutes or so, she said to us, "Are you waiting for a particular person in court today?"
Well, Margaret and I were shocked and couldn't speak. We both shook our heads to indicate "No."
By now, the attorneys, the people in the courtroom, everyone was watching us. We were ready to crawl out the door. A clerk came back to where we were seated and quizzed us about our presence in that particular courtroom.
Now we were the criminals, we had invaded an area that we knew nothing about and we felt like fools. We were the spectators in the coliseum waiting for the lions to appear.
I tried to explain that we were just there as interested citizens but it didn't sound right even to me. Margaret and I finally told them we were leaving. And we did just that. High tailed it out of there and never went back. But we did laugh a lot about our brush with the judicial system.
Our next outing was to the state fairgrounds for a big cat show. Margaret loved her cats but her husband insisted that they live outside and Margaret could hardly bear that in the winter months.
She had little houses in her porch area made of cardboard with warm cut up blankets inside. She didn't like to travel far from home because who knew if the neighbor would take care of her babies.
Fast forward another 10 years. I had gone back to work. No more garage sales for me; I was too busy just surviving. We went to dinner once in a while but even that finally stopped. Margaret's husband was losing his eyesight and we were dead tired by the time the sun went down.
Margaret and her husband moved to Arizona to live closer to her daughter. I miss her but I think of her with a smile on my face. And when I think of her, I see those two girls in 1945, laughing and talking as they came down the street.
Thanks for the memories, Margaret!
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