Irene was my 8th grade English teacher. Probably passed me because she didn't want me back in her class ever again. Hair so big you almost didn't notice her teeth. She stored her pencils, pens, and paper clips in it.
Don is a numbers guy, and one of the smartest people, ever. His life is peppered with true stories of international frisbee tournaments, annual drinking/fishing trips, miraculously acquired refrigerators, Grateful Dead shows, cab rides in China and, and, and.
Brandt isn't really my cousin, he's my second cousin (one year older), and lived across the street from me during the years I was most likely to get in trouble. Even today, no one can prove we weren't model citizens.
Pauline worked mornings at the riding club. At eight fifty a member arrived and said "I'm here for breakfast." She said, "Be right there." Fifteen minutes later he said, "Well, can I order?" She said, "Breakfast was over at nine."
Kristen lived at the end of my street in gradeschool. I remember caroling on her family's front porch, and that I didn't understand why she wasn't more popular than she was. Today I realize she had no need to be.
Maria was my girlfriend all through high school, We haven't spoken in a few years, but are still friends. Chicago to Iowa to London to marriage to divorce to Australia in the search for a thing she carries with her.
Pete was blonde, tall, thin, with a nose like a bald eagle's beak. We shared an I know what you mean, what do you mean you know what I mean, I'm talking about my girlfriend, who're you talking about moment.
Ray was at one dinner where the group was large enough I ordered three different bottles of wine so people could compare them against the same food. Every year he wants me to do that again. Oy, it's not magic.
Mary was the oldest, heaviest daughter in the blonde-haired blue-eyed heavy family that lived next door. Her body said she was a booming 6' 2" 250 pounds. Her personality said she was a shy 5' 2" 105 pounds.
Carl was a linecook. My first day a bus unloads. Carl disappears. I freak, finally find him, he's slumped in the cooler among whipped cream cans. "Nitrous. Do some, you're fired. Do 'em all, they send 'em back 'defective.'"
Liz is an idea factory whose mind pinballs off the bumpers and flippers of the possible. The light show and bell music require just enough focus to follow that the ratatattat-tat of free-game woodknocks makes you go: oh!
Roy has more money than God. Owned a small trucking company when his friend, Ray Kroc, was starting his business. Retired the first time at 45. Bought a company that developed the styrofoam clamshell container. Retired for good at 55.
Pearl was my dad's mom, the best lentil soup, ever, camphor and cedar, the green car with one white door. Once she gave my grandfather hell when he said I wasn't a Waber if I didn't tablespoon twirl my spaghetti.
Elenie has too much class to let it show that she's irked when her looks are brought to bear (by men and women) in the subtlest of ways in what should be objective assessments of the quality of her work.
Nicole is the quiet one with the voice you realize later (not at the time), is deeper than you thought it would be (you wouldn't change it). A way with words, a way with visuals, a way with combining them.
June played tennis with Ken and I (even dated Ken) one endless summer. Bobbed blonde hair, athletic body and terry cloth shorts you had to see to believe. Last I heard she was married, had kids, and was praising Jesus.
Sandy was the teasers' easy target in gradeschool. She was slightly overweight, her mouse-colored hair always looked unwashed, and her hand-me-down clothes gave off that unmistakable urine tang. I never stood up for her, she withstood it.
Heather was my wife for 13 years until I made the decision to divorce. It broke me in ways that will never be fixed. The best of all possible options is not the same as the right thing to do.
Greg was one of the younger, most attractive, members of the riding club and came from some of the oldest money. His great-great-grandfather had invented barbed wire. In winter the baker would make him hot cocoa from scratch.
Gail was my friend in first grade; all I remember today is she had long brown hair, a round face, and brown skin. Also an image of standing next to her, talking, at the elevated north end of a playground.
Meghan makes magic with words, photographs, paint, rubber stamps, scissors and glue, friendship, you name it. I would be thrilled if I could be half as good as she is at any one of the arts she makes look effortless.
Robert had five o'clock shadow at 8am and that naive-shy-surprised look that made me think he was destined to get crushed by someone or something for being fool or genius enough to trust. I want to be wrong.
Jason was medically hyperactive and could never hold a job until he found his salvation in the restaurant business. He drank Mountain Dew to calm himself down, and learned the hard way that gin stinks too distinctly to be denied.
Rose has always had white hair. She has been, and remains, one of the prettiest women I know. I'd say it's her eyes, but it's the set of her mouth, I mean her laugh, no, the grace in every motion.
John was the recipient of one of the best Christmas presents I ever thought up. Newts. There was no apparent logic to the idea, it could even have failed miserably. But something somehow made it seem right; and it was.
Ed was on his third successful career and second retirement (coming in only four days a week) when I was hired to work for him. He told me his company would never knowingly profit from the misfortune of a customer.
Frank was a salesman who worked for me. You could tell when he was shooting from the hip with information by watching his posture. When he'd slide into full recline, arms akimbo, hands behind head, he was making it up.
Mike remembers everyone's name, and what he talked about with you last time you talked, and makes whomever he's speaking with feel like they're the only person in the room with him. His brand of generosity is quiet, but complete.
Alan took me to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show for my first time. Picture a 5' 5" 200 pound sweet transvestite. One of the smartest people I've known, his mind ran away from mine into the political and social.
Gert was my grandmother's friend, and was so short grandma had grampa fashion a special clamp that attached a fiberglass shafted dayglo orange bicycle flag to Gert's cart so grandma could tell which aisle Gert was in when they shopped.