Sunday, November 4, 2007


A hundred years ago, or what seems like a hundred years anyway, I had a friend named Heather who was in The Nut House with me. She was admitted a couple of weeks before me and while we were in the locked unit, we'd have been best described as acquaintances. When I went to the completely-unlocked-live-in-a-cabin-in-the-woods-on-top-of-a-mountain unit known as North Campus, we ended up in the same 'group', called Wamika (supposedly that means "All Friends" in Cherokee (I think), but knowing the way things were around there, I wouldn't be so sure). She was fairly new to North as well, so after a while of settling in and most all of the 'older' girls (AKA those who have learned to play the game) leaving (left? whatever) and going home, we became friends.

Heather was such a strange friend for me to have because she was everything that I hated. Where I was a considered a pothead, she was a cheerleader. I was chunky, she was a size 2. She went to a posh private school; I went to public school. She was Mormon (although not the most practicing Mormon I've ever met), and I was pretty much an atheist at that point. The point is that we were completely opposite in our backgrounds, but somehow in that hellhole we became really close friends. She was my negativity buddy. Thinking about it brings a smile to my face because it was so much more than that. (No, you perverts, it was nothing like that so get your minds out of the gutter.)

Once we got our Crests ("An outward sign of an inward change" blah, blah, blah - I can't believe I still remember that), we didn't have to have group leaders accompany us everywhere, so that really opened up our 'world'. We didn't go places we weren't supposed to, but it was just the two of us alone and we'd talk about everybody - who was faking, who was lying, who was going to lose an upcoming homevisit, which staff members were lesbians, you know, just stuff. A major rule was that you couldn't talk to anyone in another group because you might get attached to them and focus on them instead of on your therapy, but when Heather and I went to school at Central Campus (aka WHERE THE BOYS ARE), we managed to group mix with not only the other girls who rode down there with us, but with several of the boys at Central as well. Heather was the one person I told when I accidently brought back a pack of cigarettes in my coat pocket from a home visit. We were Outhouse Pals! (Yes, we really had an outhouse, and it was 10 feet deep. How do I know? I helped dig it.) Heather and I were the only girls in the group who never had to have cabin changes (girls rotated among each of the 5 cabins in the group every 2 or 3 months), and in retrospect, it was probably because the group leaders probably thought that if we stayed together, at least we weren't 'poisoning' anyone else with our negativity. We, along with another friend, Ashley, called ourselves - in private, of course - the Third Triumvirate. How snooty was that?!

Long story short, Heather's 37th birthday is coming up next week. I haven't spoken to her in close to 15 years because we just lost touch, but a mutual friend passed along her address, so I think I'm going to drop her a line. So the next time you're having a little toddy for the body (or even just a nice glass of iced tea), think about someone in your life who made a difference to you and give them a toast, if for nothing else than old times sake.


A side note: you might think that I got in trouble a lot because of my very negative outlook/behavior, but in reality, I was very seldom caught.

I apologize for the massive overuse of parentheses, but there's a lot of background you don't know, so I was trying to fill you in.

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