Childhood Best Friend

Mar 30, 2020

My best friend in grade school was Zvia. I went to a Yeshiva, but it was co-ed. It was a day school. There were only ten kids in my class so there wasn’t a large range. My mother was the principal, so we would go every day. My sister went there too, a year behind me. It was a very small school. You got to know everybody, and I still get some Facebook notes from people from way back then. It was a long time ago. Called Hillel Academy. We lived in Philadelphia but it was in Jersey. So we went to Camden every day.

We drove and went to school there. We used to play in the playground. I remember we loved playing outside. Something I would love to do now. We made up games. We made up all kinds of games. Sometimes we let the boys play, but usually not. It was a very small group and sometimes we let Mindy play, my sister, but not usually. She was a year behind so you couldn’t associate with the babies. They were younger, so you didn’t want to be known to associate with them. So we would play separately, though it made for a very small group. We were together a lot. We were together all day until I went to high school. It was a long time.

She’s one of the people I still hear from. She’s married and had kids and grandkids by now. Sometimes we’d make up drawing games and quizzes: If you did something, what would be your response? We’d make up stuff. We had imaginary friends. We’d play the usual things. We’d play on the swings and the slides and all that stuff they had in the backyard, but as I said it wasn’t very big, so there weren’t have a lot of options. So we’d play ball with the boys because we really got bored after a while. How long could you jump on a jungle gym?

We did drawing and colored in coloring books. If you had new crayons, that was a big thing. We liked getting those big crayon boxes and sometimes they had a sharpener. That was very fancy. The Crayola with the sharpener. 64 colors and you could sharpen them on the box. It was a big event at the time. It doesn’t sound like a lot not, but I know even when I give the kids crayons now they’re hysterical. They love them. So I guess that’s something in childhood that’s a big thing. I remember the smell when you sharpen them. The smell of the wax. It was very interesting. That’s a smell I still remember. It was really something. I still remember that and I haven’t seen a crayon in years.

We didn’t do sleepovers for years. My father was a Rabbi and was very strict. He didn’t let us sleep out of the house until after my Bat Mitzva. I must’ve been 13 or 14. “No sleepovers.” Never. So we used to go to each other’s houses. We lived nearby. She lived in Philadelphia also.

I was excited when we could finally have a sleepover. That was a big thing. I just remember being very excited and Mindy being very jealous. She was angry because she wasn’t allowed to. She was younger. That was a big thing at the time.

I remember staying there. I remember what her kitchen looked like. She had a much more modern house than we did. I guess we were hanging out in the kitchen making a snack or something. I have a picture in my mind of what the kitchen looked like. They had a big counter and very modern appliances. We lived in an old house that belonged to the Shul, so it was not the biggest or the best and nothing was renovated. It was very cozy, and we loved it, but it was nothing like hers. Hers was fabulous. To me, it was the height of modern. It was chic. We slept on the floor on quilts. We didn’t have sleeping bags or anything.

My sister is 11 months younger than me. Irish twins! She caught up fast. And now she’s pretty much my best friend. We got over all of that stuff, thank God. We have a brother who is ten years younger. He was the little prince. The only boy. So that’s my best friend Zvia.