Erin Frankenfield lived around the corner from my grandma (and the house my family would later move into) and she and another future classmate were there to officially welcome the granddaughter of their teacher. We became friends instantly.
I've been blessed with a decades of countless beautiful and amazing friendships, but even now, nearly 30 years later, if you ask me to think about a best friend, Erin pops in my head first. She was the first friend I made after we moved to Ohio the summer before 6th grade. From the time we were 11 to the time we were 15, we were inseparable.
I remember sleepovers at Erin's house when we would wait until her dad left for third shift before we would sneak out of the house, stuffing our sleeping bags with pillows and Cabbage Patch dolls in case anyone checked on us. We'd wander the neighborhood, sometimes TPing the neighbor boy's house, sometimes sneaking into people's pools, often just roaming. I'm astonished by our audacity. We were fearless.
We would drool over Johnny Depp and Evan Dando. We'd sneak into her teenage sister's room to read her diary (sorry, Gretchen!) and ride our bikes endlessly around the South end of our small town. We would play the Ouija board and scare the hell out of ourselves. We'd camp out in one of our backyards, staying up way too late, playing 7th grade version of Truth or Dare with our boyfriends or telling ghost stories. We had our own secret wave, the way you do when you're young and think you've invented everything.
As we got older, Erin and I drifted apart the way people do sometimes. Every so often we'd circle back around to each other, but we made new friends and had different circles. I'm so grateful to have had such a strong friendship during those formative years.
Erin and I recently hung out at our 20th class reunion and it was so fun to laugh and connect with the person who knew me best for so many important years. Everyone should have a friend like Erin once in their life, one who's kind a little bit weird, and mostly pretty cool.