Dear Phans,

Barbies were my favorite past time. I can’t even begin to tell you how many days we’d spend, or hours we’d waste playing out a plastic life for our plastic dolls. It was the toy of the 90s: when geopets broke, and the furby started acting weird, we’d always have barbies. That, and the games we’d play outside.

My mom used to babysit as Ilana would be working, 5 kids to look after. I recall spending alot of time helping her bake (ie, licking out the bowl that the brownie batter was in) or eating the cookie dough when she wasn’t looking. We’d spend most days at that blue house of yours, the one that left the move out a heartbreaking experience for Chynna. She’d told me once, about writing a letter to the new owners about how much she loved that house, telling them to take good care of it.

We’d go on a fair deal of camping trips together if the schedules were all lined up. This was before GPS or Google maps, so Ilana had to follow my dad’s car closely with her sense of direction… or lack thereof. We’d swim, hike, roast Smores over the camp fire, and just see some sights. I loved camping trips, especially ones with friends along for the adventure. It was at a campsite that Chynna first told me she wanted to be an artist when she grew up, showing me a few of her drawings that I thought were amazing. 

Ilana and my mom were best friends growing up, so I guess it was a given that Chynna would have been that to me at one point or another. We’d have sleepovers at each others houses all those years ago, her being there the night my parents got the call that my great grandpa Bouvee died. It’s funny how certain memories spark new ones into mind, I had forgotten that night, only remembering it as I was picturing those sleepovers. I guess Chynna was family as well as a friend when we were young. She was just always there.

Shaleena was my sister’s best friend, and Chynna and Jesse’s older sister. There’s pictures of them as babies that prove their friendship from birth. I never did get along very great with Shaleena, her being the one to tell me the tooth fairy wasn’t real, and the two of them making up stories about the three of us that left us annoyed. However, she and my sister got along great.

As we all grew up, going our separate ways on our separate walks of life, Jessica is married and lives close by. Chynna and Jesse attend SPU and run track there, and well I might add: Chynna and her teammates making it to the All-Americans. Shaleena has a daughter, and motherhood looks great on her, that little girl is growing up in a family that absolutely adores her. Ilana and my mom are still friends, as it’s always been. Life without this family would have been much more boring and completely different. Even if we lose touch, and go in completely opposite directions from here on out, I can honestly say that my life was changed because of the ones I grew up alongside.

Thanks for being right there,

Melissa

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