Friday, April 08, 2011

Houseguest #2

Meet Jennifer Santillo. I met her the summer after 9th grade and we've been friends ever since. Though there was a 15-year gap in there (I lost her in MarriedLand for awhile), we've reunited in previous years and I'm so glad.

Jen's going through some major life changes right now, so I invited her to our beautiful home in the The Village for some down-home debauchery and a guided tour of my life. Because I am so far from family and old friends, I've discovered something I desperately need right now: a witness.

Jen's welcome home sign for me in 1985. Our apartment was "freezing" - probably 55 degrees.
I have always been the one to visit others. Without husband, kids, home or traditional job to keep me grounded, I happily jumped on planes to learn the life details of others. I enjoy it, especially getting to know my friend's kids. (Maybe I'm biased but my girlfriends make the best mothers.) But sometimes it feels odd, like I'm an enigma of my own design as the details of my life remain unknown to others.

When I moved out on my own, at age 19, I moved in with Jennifer and another friend, Sharon. It was 1985 and together, we pretended we were grown up women but really we were just little girls playing dress up. In fact, Jenny and Sharon often complained that I did not tease my hair enough or wear enough make-up; I was their 'project.'

Me and Jen in our first apartment, partying hard, circa 1986.
Together we had numerous adventures, including one of my favorites: Jen and Sharon complained that I had not contributed any furniture to the living room. So, we went to Builders Emporium and bought a cheap build-it-yourself wall unit. We tried putting it together but failed miserably. So, Sharon called the police, naturally.

When they came to the door asking, "Ma'am, is there a problem?", Sharon didn't miss a beat. She handed one a hammer and the other a screwdriver and stated, "Yes! We can't figure out how to build this thing!" Not only did they stay to put it together (crime-wise, it was a boring neighborhood) but they posed for some hilarious photos which I MUST find someday.

So, I'm well aware that my life and the lives of most of my friends took very different paths but this became quite real to me when Jen confessed that her trip to Denver would mark the first time flying alone in her entire life. I was so stunned - speechless, even. I still find it hard to get my mind around.

I couldn't help but think of how many hundreds of flights I had taken over the years, how many airports I had maneuvered - security lines, baggage claims, ticket counters and terminal cafes. I ended up writing a long email to her with as many travel tips as I could think of ("Signs are your best friends in an airport - stay aware. They keep you on track.") before her trip. When I picked her up at DIA she announced triumphantly, "I made it!" 
Jen's visit was great, I dragged her ass all over town and even made her 'work' as a volunteer at Swallow Hill. (We got to see Cracker do an acoustic show for free - awesome.) Country Road Cafe, Root Down, Buckhorn Exchange, Red Rocks, Morrison, Kirkland Museum, Farmer's Market, Mile-High Church, homecooked meals and a private screening of our favorite stoner classic: "Sooper Troopers."

And lots and lots of talking, hugging, crying and laughing. It was great catching up.

1 comment:

Susie said...

How fun! I love, love, love those pics from the 80s, that's what you looked like what I met your sweet self. One day soon I hope to be house guest #?