My mom e-mailed Friday that a childhood friend of mine died of cancer. She was 43, and apparently the disease was virulent and merciless and took her quickly. I thought of her often over the years, though I hadn't seen her in 25 of them. She was four and a half years older than me, but Robin was still one of my good buddies in Stewartstown, PA. Her little sister Missy Jo was my best friend until I was 7 years old and left town. Missy Jo had yellow eyes like a cat, and looking at her made my stomach hurt because she was so pretty.
Robin was covered in freckles and had amazing wide eyes and long red hair. We'd often run around town together, watching VFW league baseball games, climbing on the monuments at the local cemetery, visiting the old folks and getting candy hand-outs, and crawling under bushes and through fences and into whatever crawlspaces, barns, or feed lofts we could find. It's weird that I had such a 1950's small-town childhood. I remember vividly seeing her change into her bikini when she went with us to Ocean City one time. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
The last time I saw Robin I was in a car with my dad and we were driving up route 24. Robin was probably 18 at the time, and she was pushing a baby carriage. When she died she had six kids and a grandchild. I saw Missy Jo a couple times in Maryland when I worked at Hunt Valley Mall. I wish I'd gotten to see Robin again.