We were the girls of summer —
…were the lyrics that pop into my head when I remember teenage years spent with Sheryl.
We were the young girls of the late 60s and early 70s who loved listening to bubble gum rock by Bobby Goldsboro and surfer music by the Beach Boys. We wore baby doll pajamas on sleepovers, and sewed 1 yard halter tops to wear in summer.
Sheryl was the ultimate cool girl in our neighborhood; a year older than me and so much more sophisticated. She owned a horse that she boarded down off Railroad Avenue, introduced me to the glamorous world of ‘putting on’ makeup, and got her driver’s license the moment she turned 16. That tiny piece of paper was our golden ticket to countless adventures.
One of only small handful of people allowed to address me by a nickname, she’d stroll into our house and holler out, “Is Daph here?” (We never locked out doors back then, so our home was a hub of activity with my five brothers’ friends often dropping in to make peanut butter sandwiches — whether or not anyone was awake yet.)
When Sheryl came over to our house it was often to bake. We followed the recipes off of the packages: Hershey’s Baking Cocoa chocolate muffins, Betty Crocker’s Bisquick streusel coffee cake, Quaker Oats oatmeal cookies, and Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies. Or, we’d make my mom’s peanut butter chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies or cookies using Great Gramma Barne’s government commodity peanut butter.
Other days Sheryl would ask, “Wanna’ go for a drive?”
That meant we’d first have a session of applying bright blue or silver eye shadow, mascara, and apple cheeks full of blush before hopping into her baby blue Toyota to head down to Milwaukie. We’d roll down the windows and turn up the radio, always listening to KISN. Our goal for these car trips was two-fold: to share a large order of french fries from Whizburger while hoping to spot “cute boys.”
We both wore our hair long and straight, washed it with ‘Herbal Essence’ or ‘Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific,’ then sat outside on the curb to dry it in the sun. Thanks to peroxide and cotton balls Sheryl showed me how to create sun-streaked hair. The ultimate outcome, of course, was to catch the eye of those elusive cute boys.
Right after high school, my family left the suburbs and moved to the countryside. There were no cell phones back then, and our rural home had no electricity, let alone a landline telephone to keep in touch.
Once in a blue moon my parents or one of my brothers would run into Sheryl in the city, and they’d share updates about both our lives, but the two of us never saw one another again.
That’s not to say we didn’t reconnect, however. Thanks to Facebook Sheryl and I spent the past eleven years catching up, reminiscing, laughing together over silly memes, and talking about the good old days.
We sent birthday greetings to each other every February and May. When Dad was still in touch with the world, he loved hearing that we had reconnected and enjoyed seeing current photos of Sheryl ‘all grown up in Tennessee.’ Sheryl was always present with a heart or a hug emoji and a sweet comment for each Facebook post about Dad’s journey with memory care.
There’s also the amazing tale about the time I met Sheryl’s daughter here on Oʻahu — and she loved to share that story when it came up as a Facebook Memory.
Sheryl passed away this week. Reading the message from her daughter was like losing a piece of my life. I’ve thought so much about her the past two days, it brought back this flood of great memories. She was the best kind of friend to have. We never had a fight, never had an argument, and just had fun.
Thanks for the good old days and the times we spent together, Sheryl.