All About Claire
I moved to Long Island New York on November 12,1966. I met Claire that same day. Athough I was a shy, insecure, fearful child I decided I wanted a friend like my sister had had in the city. I was tired of playing alone.
So, I went door to door. I knocked and as soon as someone came to the door I said "Hi, my name is AnnMarie, I just moved here with my family, do you have a kid?" I was 6. Claire's was the 5th or 6th house I went to. She was a ball of downy blonde hair that covered her alabaster skin and sky blue eyes in her moms lap. I decided we would be best friends. I nicknamed her "Bear" and she nicknamed me "Knor". Don't ask. Claire and I swung high enough on her back yard swing set to make it shake up from the ground until we got so scared we stopped. We both loved to play dollsl. Alot. We would ride our bikes up to the school yard really fast because we loved the feeling of wind in our hair. We stolled down our street pushing doll carriages and wearing her mom's high heel shoes. We thought we looked so mature. We made lemonade stands in summer and sold absolutely no lemonade. We stayed up late sleeping over each other's houses although we lived right across the street from each other. She loved the Disney movie "The Aristocats" and I hated it. This of course did not stop her from constantly singing the soundtrack. We were inseperable for years. We were closet "Donny and Marie" watchers and looked forward to Saturday Night Live at 11:30 during those early years in the 70's when we fell in love with the comedy of Steve Martin and George Carlin. We danced out our front door for our families saying "We are two wild and crazy gals" in Yugoslavian accents. She loved Jane Curtin and I loved Gilda Radner. We both loved Donna Summer, Welcome Back Kotter and old black and white movies her mom watched in the middle of the day. She idolized Marilyn Monroe and loved "Some Like It Hot". I didn't idolize anyone. We both had heard the squeal of the tires just before the car hit and killed her cat, Bush Bush. We saw each other through the lives and eventual deaths, of our beloved dogs. In snow storms we took her sled and walked 5 blocks to the Dairy,the only store open when we had 4 ft of snow. She bought Millk and I bought Cigarettes and Pepsi. She was an A student her entire life. School bored me and I dropped out at 16. She helped me through a violent relationship, I helped her find her first boyfriend. I eventually had a beautiful Christmas Wedding she had a beautiful outdoor wedding in July. She was tall and intelligent and did everything she said she was going to do. I was short and dark and constantly made plans that never happened. I was there for her when she called me crying that her mom was dying and we spent hours remembering all the crazy things her mom did. And we laughed. She didn't judge me when I divorced my first husband I did not judge her when she told me she left hers for another woman. We loved each other just for all the things we were, the good, the bad and the ugly. She laughed at my jokes. She thought I was great. I loved her brilliant mind and ability to get what she wanted. She was a psychologist and my best friend for over 40 years. These things that sound so boring and mundane to anyone else, are what makes life long friends. Friends that last well beyond the death of one. Claire's portrait sits in my living room in a perfect dark wood frame that highlights her long blonde hair and sky blue eyes and I look over at her from time to time as if she is with me watching tv like when we were kids. She died suddenly on February 13, 2009. I Can't think about her yet without crying. Not yet. But someday, a while from now, I will think about all the laughter we shared over all those years and I won't cry because I'll know Claire is tossing back that thick head of blonde hair and going "Oh Knor" in that high pitched voice filled with love and a smile.
For Claire "Bear" June 7,1963 - February 13,2009.
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