Saturday mornings after staying overnight at Cherie's house: frozen Red Baron pepperoni pizza, brownies we made that morning, and Dr. Pepper. I have no idea how we survived so many years on that diet, but that was the tradition. Then we'd plop down in front of the TV with something like "Hunt for Red October" that was almost impossible to see, because the movie was so dark, and because the sunshine glared through the back living room windows in the morning.
The music of our youth:
- Waking Up the Neighbours by Bryan Adams (this has been in my dashboard player for months now, retro-rockin' out)
- Top Gun soundtrack (dude: you know you love The Danger Zone)
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack (Cherie's favorite movie at the time)
- Three Musketeers soundtrack
- Footloose soundtrack
- Shout soundtrack
- Amy Grant's Heart in Motion
Cherie had a photo of a cop pointing a gun at the camera--the barrel was the only part in-focus. She absolutely loved that--at the time, she and Beth wanted to be FBI agents.
It's funny that, although I was a really vain and sensitive kid, I loved hanging out with Cherie. She was so frank--she told you exactly how it was. But when she said an outfit looked ridiculous or I was being silly, it didn't hurt like it would have with others--I valued her words because they were spoken in absolute honesty, without malice. And when she said you looked great, or--even mor importantly--that the story you wrote was incredible--you knew it was absolutely true, that there was no bias in it. Her honest opinion was a gift.
I find it hilarious and ironic that one of my favorite photos of Cherie is her cheerleading portrait. The non-conformist, non-girly, sarcastic pal of mine was a cheerleader for exactly one year. Yep, it baffled me, too.
The next-to-last time I saw Cherie, she was up in Dallas visiting her sister. She, her sister, her mom, my mom, and I all went out to Chili's and had a great gabfest--and wow, was it. I think we are about five of the talk-i-est gals I know. We left Chili's and were going to say goodbye, but ended up gabbing a long time on the steps, Cherie regaling us with her hilarious take on what the cancer and drugs were doing to her body. She made us scream with laughter as she showed off the absolute lack of a butt, and as she described how square the steroid had made her face. Although her body was distorted to the point where it made me sad to see how different she looked, she was completely herself with her dry sense of humor. After six years of hell with that disease and its nearly-as-bad cure, she had an immensely upbeat attitude.
We used to write together a lot--sometimes trading off paragraphs or sentences in short stories. We wanted to write a novel that way together called "It Was a Dark and Stormy Knight." I think we only got one or two chapters written. My favorite thing we wrote together was a story-poem (our term) called "The Tree Way Up in the Sky All Alone and Bill the Canary." It is awesome.
I am immensely sad that the only person I ever planned on writing collaboratively with is gone.
We both loved fairy tales, and my bookcases (well, okay now my many many boxes of books in storage) are filled with the fruits of our long weekends spent at used book stores. Many fairy tale rewrites, original volumes of them, reference works about them. Our favorite bookstore, which is now closed, was in San Antonio near the Shepherd's Shoppe, and was about the size of a closet with bookcases nearly to the ceiling. We thought it was about the coolest place on earth (but then, I hadn't seen Recycled Books in Denton yet). I think we must have spent half our weekends there.
The other passion we shared was movies--to be honest, Cherie got me far more into movies. My husband has her to thank for that, and for getting me even more into Star Wars than I was. (Sidebar: it's odd now that my interest in Star Wars is due to three women: my mom, Jayne, and Cherie. I didn't realize how odd that was until I got to college. And became popular with boys. Er, geeky boys.) I did not know how Boba Fett was until Cherie told me--I didn't pay attention to the names of secondary characters until college, for some reason.
We spent almost as many weekends at the theater as we did at bookstores. I remember watching so many of the movies of the '90s with her, good and bad... The Bodyguard (heh), French Kiss, While You Were Sleeping, Only You, Crimson Tide, Circle of Friends, Batman Forever (slight cringe), Batman and Robin (shudder), Johnny Neumonic (shudder), Waterworld (biggest shudder ever)... Cherie saved the poster images from the newspaper ads and had them pinned to a bulletin board in her room. The one I always remember looking at was the one for Beauty and the Beast, because it was my favorite movie and it was an awesome silhouetted image.
While sitting under the steps at Bracken Christian School (it was an awesome hideout after school), we planned out an entire Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves-themed bedroom. I remember the bunkbeds were treehouses, and the carpet was green with a curving blue section for the river... I don't remember the rest.
Cherie is the only person I've known with naturally orange hair.
I kept thinking about that first time she was at my house, with the black and white outfit, and I couldn't remember what necklace she was wearing, just that it was special. This afternoon at the service, Rynae came in wearing Cherie's hourglass necklace, which she wore every waking moment in high school--and beyond. When she ran up to Carolyn today and said "this was my Mommy's necklace" and asked her what it was, it about broke my heart.
Had dinner with my parents, Jayne & Tony, and Martha & Brandon (with their kids Zachary and Lydia). We went out to Adobe Cafe, in honor of Cherie, and at first I couldn't decide what to eat. But then I remembered that not only had Cherie ordered tortilla soup at every Mexican restaurant I've ever eaten with her at, and she ate it last August when we went to Alamo Cafe, but she's also the person who got me to try it for the first time in high school. So that's what I had, and it was very very good.
I've uploaded some photos I took when visiting Cherie last August up on Flickr.
Yep, I wore the outfit--fittingly enough purchased at your favorite place, Kohl's--and will wear it again at the second service tomorrow. I've found a Princess Leia shirt for Rynae--it's even pink--so yes, your princess-loving kid will finally get a shirt that encourages her geek side. It's even the exact graphic of the shirt I wore three weeks ago that you liked so much. And yeah, I remember that third promise--don't you worry. It's taken care of, and I've enlisted help. And stop rolling your eyes at me from up there--I know you think we're all putting up such a fuss. I hope you got a good chuckle out of me walking through Half Price Books like a loon with tears streaming down my face--yes, I honestly didn't realize how much every single book I looked at would remind me of you. And yes, now you know exactly how the Wheel of Time Series ends--I know you finangled it out of God or RJ himself.
But I'm going to miss not seeing your reaction to the last seasons of Stargate: SG-1, and to the new Indiana Jones movie, and so many other things. I'm wearing my half of that silly black ying-yang friendship ring we bought as our RJ rings, believe it or not. I wanted so bad to send this to your email address, as if somehow it would be forwarded, to email@example.com, or something. But I didn't want your family to read this and be sad, if they cleaned out your inbox--so I'll just post it here, teary-eyed, yet smiling to myself because I know you're definitely up there shaking your head and rolling your eyes, with your own awesome smile.
Can't wait to meet you again, girl. I love you.