Remembering a Special Childhood Friend

((I wrote this about 11 years ago for one of my former websites at the time. Our house was the hangout spot for all the neighborhood kids on our street. I think I had the best childhood ever. During the summer a bunch of kids would be at our house from as early as 9 am and stay around until 8 or 9 pm (or whenever my mama called us in). During the school year, after we finished our homework, we would also be outside for hours until mama called us in.))

During the summer, Tookie would be on my porch at about 9 or 10 am, asking me to play UNO with him. We played many games in my neighborhood, but sometimes we would start the day off with hours of UNO. Sometimes Tookie would put his younger cousin Dusty up to the task of asking me to play UNO. After a while Dusty, who was about 7, and I, who was about 11, would sit on the porch at night and have these long conversations with each other.


I remember one night, just for a little moment,  I became a little jealous of Dusty when he told me that he was taking Spanish. I didn’t believe him, so I asked, “How do you say ‘house’ in Spanish?” I just knew he would not be able to answer that because I just randomly picked a word. In fact, I did not know a word of Spanish at the time (though in High School I would be chosen Most Outstanding Student in Spanish). So I was thinking, how could this little 7-year-old know how to say “house” in Spanish & me, a big 11 year old, not know any Spanish.  Then Dusty smiled at me and said “CASA!!”

Dusty was always smiling, and was a total sweetheart. He had smooth, caramel-brown skin and soft, curly hair. If I could have chosen any boy from the hood to be my little brother, I would have chosen Dusty. He died in 2000 at the age of 17 from a heart attack. (No, he was not overweight).

After he died, I kept saying that I wish I could have hugged him. So one night I had this dream that went back to my childhood. We were kids again & I got my hug in the dream, which made me wake up feeling relieved somehow.

Dusty, we sure did have a lot of fun didn’t we?:+)


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