Long Live the Queen

Founded by the second-cousin-once-removed of Daniel Boone, Boones Mill was a very small town with a population of 285 people or less. By the time my family and I arrived, Jacob Boone's old mill was long gone. The town did boast its own gas station, which sold the finest yard art that you'd ever imagine. There was also a feed store, a post office, and a bank (which only got an ATM machine 5 years ago).

It was here, in this unlikely town, that I met the Queen of Sass. We were fourth graders at Boones Mill Elementary school. The year was 1976, a milestone year to be sure. The United States was celebrating its bicentennial, Jimmy Carter became president, and I met the Queen of Sass.

Needless to say, the Queen and I, both New Jersey transplants, stuck out like sore thumbs. You'd have thought that our common predicament would bring us together. Our mothers, who had been friends in New Jersey prior to our births, certainly pushed us together often enough. But Queen of Sass and I didn't exactly hit it off. More to the point, we despised each other. And the more our mothers pushed us, the more we disliked each other.

The Queen of Sass, as a nine-year old was as sassy as she is today. In one of my earliest memories, Sassy schemed up a way to earn lunch money from fellow classmates. Sassy would bring real-estate magazines to class. For prices that ranged anywhere from pennies to quarters, Sassy talked our classmates into buying pictures of houses out of the magazines. I thought the idea was ingenious, which made me hate her even more.

Sassy also started a beauty shop right in class. In the earliest of pyramid schemes, Sassy even coaxed others into working for her. Young girls would file nails and braid hair--all for the right price. I wasn't exactly a fashion diva back then, but would never have supported Sassy even if I was. The competition between us grew.

I was voted the editor of our in-class newspaper and left class early every Fridays to mimeograph the weekly editions. Sassy outdid me by "going with" David Flippo, the class stud. Not surprising, Sassy also managed to get the first real kiss. I went to Greece; Sassy went to Hawaii. With every turn we were always fighting and always comparing. The only time we actually teamed up was to belittle my younger sister, Christina.

As the years passed, our competition faded and we settled into a general apathy for each other. Our interests were different; our friends were different. Our mothers had long given up hope that we might be friends some day.

Then, when I was 16 years old, my parents went through a rocky period in their marriage. Sassy's mother heard of the troubled times at home and encouraged her daughter to call me.

Sassy, feeling the guilt her mother imposed, called me one Friday night while I worked at my dad's restaurant.

"I just wanted to say that if you ever need anyone to talk to, I'm here for you," Sassy said with a quick –paced and rather awkward delivery.

"Uh...ok." I responded and hung up the phone. "Who does that girl think she is?" I thought to myself as I wiped the tables down that night.

But three days later, I called Sassy to talk. After that, our phones lines never stopped ringing each other. We became inseparable companions.

Life for teenagers in Franklin County, Virginia wasn't exactly filled with excitement. Sassy and I decided not to cruise the Kroger parking lot as our other classmates would. Instead we'd spend our weekends in nearby Roanoke, scarfing down plates of nachos and diet cream sodas. This was about as exciting as it go for Sassy and I. Occasionally we'd venture out to the big city Greensboro, NC to look for boys or make a Myrtle Beach road trip.

Speaking of boys, Sassy was truly a psycho-magnet and managed to get the attention of crazed lunatic wherever we went. I, on the other hand, married off really young at 19-years old and moved away from simple Boones Mill. Sassy hung on in the area for about 10 years.

Even though distance separated us, Sassy and I came together at critical points and trouble times. We've been together almost 30 years now, the most enduring relationship I've ever had. For this reason and many others, I can only exclaim, "Long live the Queen!"

(Although I might not live much longer. Sassy's coming to visit this weekend and might kill me when she sees this post. )


utenzi said...

It sounds like Chris came off quite well in this post, Diane. Not so well is her husband who got painted a bit with the "attracts psychos" statement. LOL What I don't get is how Chris convinced little kids to pay for real estate pictures. I wish I had that kind of silver tongue!

queenofsass said...

I plan to do a rebuttal on my site. What can I say? I have always been creative.

David said...

Great post I think! Shows a great story of great friends.

Diane Mandy said...

Thanks, Dave!